No queues, no crowds, just world-class attractions with Milan all to myself

Jessica Carpani went to northern Italy to cover the Covid-19 outbreak — just before the country shut down, and found that crises can have unexpected perks

22 March 2020 - 00:00 By Jessica Carpani

Milan is one of Europe's busiest cities, a hub of tourists, bankers and fashionistas. But not when the coronavirus is in town. I arrived at the end of February to cover the continent's biggest Covid-19 outbreak, and found there's something bittersweet about a getaway in an empty metropolis. Yes, there's a sense of fear and foreboding. But there are also no queues, no crowds ... just empty piazzas, and world-class attractions all to myself.

Driving in Italy is notoriously bad at the best of times, with its scooters, trams and confusing roundabouts. Weaving a hired car through the onslaught of a mass exodus from Milan was worse. Traffic stood still, cars cut across one another, and horns rang out like church bells as the entire city seemed to evacuate. It was hard to push the word "apocalyptic" from my mind...

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