Michele Masneri in Wired:
I have never been much of a runner, but on Saturday I find myself suiting up for exercise and meeting a friend for a run. It has been a week since the Italian prime minister ordered the closure of almost everything—schools, offices, banks—and the city is as empty as the set of a Fellini film. Only retailers deemed vital—supermarkets, pharmacies, tobacconists, newsstands—remain open (with a disputable choice of what kind of shopping is “vital”). Seems like exercising outdoors is deeply vital: I’ve never seen so many runners around the town. They are near the Coliseum; they are in the Piazza Venezia. They are everywhere.
Romans are not known to be super sporty, though. Seeing all those people in their shorts and running shoes reminds me a lot of San Francisco, where I lived from 2016 to 2018 while working as a correspondent for the Italian press.
Even the friend I am going to meet tells me on the phone: “Mi raccomando”—don’t forget—“dress up in runner’s outfit.” I don’t have any actual runner’s outfits. “Figure out something,” she says. The fact is, we don’t actually plan on running at all. Nevertheless my friend shows up in a completely orange get-up—orange leggings, orange cap, orange scarf to cover her mouth. “If you look like a runner you have less chance that the Police will stop you,” she tells me. I rustle up some loose gym clothes.