Surreal Moments | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

It looks so familiar, so Italian, clothes hanging on the balconies and food in the streets, it looks colorful and lively, doesn’t it? That’s the way it is usually in the alleyways of Italy. This time something changed all of that. I was in Italy before the coronavirus broke out. The virus was contained and isolated to China, people were traveling without restrictions, I thought it was safe to go to Italy, but after three days I was in the country, the virus broke out in the North region of Lombardy, then in only a week, it spiraled down to the South where I was. What I saw is exactly what you see in my photos: solitude, closed shutters, silence, no people, no tourists, shops closed, and merchandise unsold. Of course, shop owners are desperate. The North of Italy has been hit really hard with the coronavirus, a little less the South, but the government ordered the entire country to stay home in quarantine and avoid all contacts possible until finally, the virus will not have anyone to hit anymore.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).


Balcony with shutters

The atmosphere is unreal and surreal, it seems as if something terrible has just happened and humans have left for another planet. I hear no noise, no music, no voices, no laughs, no one arguing. Kids proliferate in these alleyways but they are not there. Italian streets without rascals are lifeless. The mailman is going through the alleyways with a mask on his mouth leaving mail under the doors. In this old part of my hometown, there are no mailboxes, if someone is not home, the neighbors will take the mail, but at this time, the mailman is not getting closer to anyone and that’s the reason he is leaving the mail under people’s doors.



Italian balcony with hanging clothes

Even though the sun is shining and the February weather is not particularly cold, the atmosphere is somber. I am walking with my head up in the air trying to spot a person with whom I can talk to. I cling to my coat and go on towards the fashionable downtown thinking perhaps it will be a tad different there.


Old Bari Balconies

Old Bari Balconies

Nobody will buy all these handmade typical food of the region, at least for a while. I bought some of it to take back with me to the US. My small contribution makes the shopowner smile, the limitation of weight in my luggage doesn’t allow me to take a lot more.

Typical Puglia Food

Typical Puglia Food


Puglia Food

Handmade Puglia Food

The coronavirus will pass, just like the bubonic plague of the 1600s and the Spanish flu of 1920s passed without medications and medical knowledge. The only thing that made those pestilences go away was social distancing, just as we are ordered to do today. Stay home, my friends, find something interesting to do, take this forced break to do something you have been wanted to do and had no time to do it. Read more books, perhaps write one of your own, it’s an exciting experience. Find a hobby, learn a new language with DuoLingo, sleep or make love, get your friends and family on video calls and catch up with them.  Spring is near, plant some new seeds and watch them grow. At this time, we can only plan our future and come back stronger after the virus is defeated.
Stay positive and healthy. Ciao,


Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved



Valentina in RED

Valentina Cirasola is a storyteller by nature. Stories are very important to her design career to convey ideas because making someone’s home or personal images is not only about building around shapes, lines, forms, and colors. It is about the story one can create around their spaces and how they want to appear to others. It’s about life experiences and how Valentina can incorporate them in her clients’ homes. She is the author of five books, all available on
Amazon and  Barnes&Nobles 






4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Oh, the Places We See
    Mar 17, 2020 @ 14:43:38

    I, too, take pictures of laundry on balconies when I travel. There’s something so very human about the activity of hanging clothes on a line that I love. My favorite of your photos is Old Bari Balconies. That one needs to be framed!



    • Valentina
      Mar 17, 2020 @ 18:42:26

      Thanks Rusha, I love that picture as well. Hanging clothes on the line is about letting the sun energy bless the clothes we are going to wear, it’s healthy and about life on a slower pace. It’s so very human, you are right.

      Liked by 1 person


  2. robbiesinspiration
    Mar 17, 2020 @ 04:04:54

    This is devastating for the economy and will cause a lot of suffering down the line. I assume you cannot leave Italy at the moment, Valentina? The world’s reaction was to slow in some places and maybe to fast in others. Our schools have been closed and we only have 61 cases. How long can they stay closed? I just don’t know.



    • Valentina
      Mar 17, 2020 @ 04:11:54

      HI Robbie, thanks for stopping by. I barely made it out of Italy the very same day the Italian government declared the lockdown. This virus has caused a lot of deaths and so much distressed to the world economies. We can only hope to recover soon.



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