Photos: Italy stirs back to life as cafes and churches finally reopen

In Italy, retail stores, hairdressers and restaurants finally threw open their doors on May 18 as the country sped up efforts to bounce back from the coronavirus crisis after a 10-week lockdown in what was once the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe. A little over 32,000 Italians have died of COVID-19 since the outbreak came to light on February 21.

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST 10 Photos
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A gondolier wearing a face mask transports his very first customer as service resumes at the San Toma embankment on a Venice canal on May 18 during Italy’s eased exit from a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection that began 10 weeks ago on March 9. (Andrea Pattaro / AFP)

A gondolier wearing a face mask transports his very first customer as service resumes at the San Toma embankment on a Venice canal on May 18 during Italy’s eased exit from a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection that began 10 weeks ago on March 9. (Andrea Pattaro / AFP)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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Nuns visit St. Peter’s Basilica as it opened on May 18 in Vatican City. As with all social gatherings, public masses had also been restricted. They have now been allowed again in churches, but congregations must follow social distancing guidelines. (Vincenzo Pinto / AFP)

Nuns visit St. Peter’s Basilica as it opened on May 18 in Vatican City. As with all social gatherings, public masses had also been restricted. They have now been allowed again in churches, but congregations must follow social distancing guidelines. (Vincenzo Pinto / AFP)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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A fan of AS Roma wearing a Francesco Totti jersey undergoes a temperature check as he enters a Gucci store in Via dei Condotti in central Rome on May 18. Concerns linger among business owners that the reopening may not magic away their many problems as fears linger of the coronavirus keeping many Italians at home. (Alberto Pizzoli / AFP)

A fan of AS Roma wearing a Francesco Totti jersey undergoes a temperature check as he enters a Gucci store in Via dei Condotti in central Rome on May 18. Concerns linger among business owners that the reopening may not magic away their many problems as fears linger of the coronavirus keeping many Italians at home. (Alberto Pizzoli / AFP)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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Gran Caffe Chioggia in St. Mark Square prepares for its reopening in Venice on May 18. Italy was the first European country to impose nationwide restrictions, only permitting an initial relaxation of the rules on May 4, when it allowed factories and parks to reopen. (Manuel Silvestri / REUTERS)

Gran Caffe Chioggia in St. Mark Square prepares for its reopening in Venice on May 18. Italy was the first European country to impose nationwide restrictions, only permitting an initial relaxation of the rules on May 4, when it allowed factories and parks to reopen. (Manuel Silvestri / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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A woman gets her hair done at a hairdresser’s in Milan on May 18. Telephones however rang incessantly in salons, as unkempt clients rushed to make themselves more presentable. (AP)

A woman gets her hair done at a hairdresser’s in Milan on May 18. Telephones however rang incessantly in salons, as unkempt clients rushed to make themselves more presentable. (AP)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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A police officer asks people drinking next to a canal to maintain social distancing in Milan on May 18. It was only day one, but major Italian cities noted higher traffic as people stepped out to catch up with friends. (Alessandro Garofalo / REUETRS)

A police officer asks people drinking next to a canal to maintain social distancing in Milan on May 18. It was only day one, but major Italian cities noted higher traffic as people stepped out to catch up with friends. (Alessandro Garofalo / REUETRS)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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People wearing face masks and shields walk across the Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall in Milan on May 18. Monday marked a major step forward on the road to a cautious, gradual return to normality. (Miguel Medina / AFP)

People wearing face masks and shields walk across the Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall in Milan on May 18. Monday marked a major step forward on the road to a cautious, gradual return to normality. (Miguel Medina / AFP)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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A bartender wearing a protective mask and gloves prepares cocktails in Rome’s bohemian Trastevere neighbourhood on May 18. Customers will now once again be able to sip their beverage of choice at bars, albeit well spaced from other clients. Restaurants are able to serve as long as tables are kept at least 2 metres apart. (Guglielmo Mangiapane / REUTERS)

A bartender wearing a protective mask and gloves prepares cocktails in Rome’s bohemian Trastevere neighbourhood on May 18. Customers will now once again be able to sip their beverage of choice at bars, albeit well spaced from other clients. Restaurants are able to serve as long as tables are kept at least 2 metres apart. (Guglielmo Mangiapane / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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Pedestrians pass a closed tourist souvenir stall in view of the Duomo cathedral in Milan on May 18. Italian shoppers may have begun digging out their wallets as retail businesses reopen but foreign tourists, vital for the economy, remain absent. (Francesca Volpi / Bloomberg)

Pedestrians pass a closed tourist souvenir stall in view of the Duomo cathedral in Milan on May 18. Italian shoppers may have begun digging out their wallets as retail businesses reopen but foreign tourists, vital for the economy, remain absent. (Francesca Volpi / Bloomberg)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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A man wearing a protective mask enjoys an ice-cream in Trastevere on May 18. Italy is scheduled to open up borders with Europe and allow free travel between the regions from June 3. (Guglielmo Mangiapane / REUTERS)

A man wearing a protective mask enjoys an ice-cream in Trastevere on May 18. Italy is scheduled to open up borders with Europe and allow free travel between the regions from June 3. (Guglielmo Mangiapane / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:08 AM IST
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