The mountaintop town is four hours south of Rome, reachable by curve streets - suitably remote for a substitute reality. Here, far away from the coronavirus pandemic, in a spot where no one has tried positive or become ill, it was noon, and an eatery around was topping off: tables of four, tables of six, a table of eight, and afterward the greatest table of all, save for instructors and center schoolers praising graduation.
The youngsters had taken their last, most important tests on the web - per national principles - yet this was San Fele, so they had the option to push through the eatery entryways, giggling, eating in a rush, exchanging seats, not a single covers to be seen. The instructors weren't wearing covers either. Nor the city hall leader, sitting at another table. Nor the live artists, who began belting out tunes in the sort of festivity that could just occur in a spot where no one has esteemed a danger.
"It's practically typical," said Elisabetta Chiesa, 37, a city councilor, sitting at a close-by table where the chairman was battling to talk over the noise.
All local people here" said Donato Sperduto, the civic chairman. "Everyone knows everyone."
With a blend of geographic seclusion, introductory safeguards and favorable luck, the town of San Fele never at any point had a coronavirus bend to smooth - and it currently has the lucky opportunity to brave the pandemic as a New Zealand-like desert spring, liberated from the infection's perils and interruptions.
In any case, as different spots far and wide that have figured out how to control or forestall flare-ups, from island countries to nursing homes, there is acknowledgment here that without coronavirus status is an unsafe state. At any second, someone with the infection could come up with the curve streets.
"Our dread," Sperduto stated, "is the individuals who originate all things considered."
San Fele endures financially by pitching itself as an end of the week the travel industry goal. Before the pandemic, on many summers Sundays, many visits transports from different pieces of Italy would pull up, in what added up to a transient multiplying of the town's populace. Guests would walk around the downtown area. They'd purchase ricotta at a neighboring ranch. After climbs to see them close by woods and cascades, they'd stop at the very eatery where the civic chairman was presently discussing how to explore Italy's reviving.
"We can't relax," he stated, as the server carried out pasta finished off with truffles, at that point cook sheep.
So after lunch, the chairman took the three most up to date appearances around - two columnists and a picture taker - over into the downtown area, where the stone boulevards were excessively limited for vehicles. He drove the path around the bend and strolled up the means to the workplace of one of San Fele's two specialists.
"Ciao, Michele," Sperduto said.
The entryway opened, and a medical caretaker spread out three coronavirus immune response tests, a bunch of which the civic chairman had requested for the town toward the start of Italy's flare-up.
"When someone shows up, we'll attempt to test them," Sperduto said. "It's founded on monitoring who visits."
A medical attendant, with a prick, drew blood tests from three fingertips. Two or after three minutes, the outcomes were back.
The town was still sans coronavirus.
From the most elevated point in San Fele, one can see the indications of rot basic in such a significant number of Italian peak towns - places worked for the medieval barrier, however less pragmatic for the advanced world.
The town, over the previous century and a half, saw its populace get split and afterward divided once more, to 2,800. The vast majority of the adolescent left for school or employments, returning just as guests to see their old guardians.
The town place has become an emptied husk, 30% involved, delightful yet disintegrating. Weeds contort through a portion of the walkways and dividers. Two or three front entryways are locked. A portion of the windows is taken out. One inhabitant, driving a short visit down the road where she lived, highlighted the houses all around her.
"That one is vacant," Angela Verducci, 65, said. "That one is unfilled. They'll be destroying that one because the rooftop crumbled."
Since the individuals who stay in San Fele are generally more seasoned - it has an expected 15 centenarians, and a lot more in their 90s - authorities had stressed at the beginning of the pandemic that the town may be in for a fiasco. While flare-ups seethed in Italy's north, specialists cautioned about what could lie ahead for Italy's less fortunate south, given its lack of emergency clinic concentrated consideration beds and clinical assets.
So San Fele avoided potential risk all around it could. It banned individuals from entering the drug store and founded home conveyances for solutions. It controlled coronavirus tests to volunteers, cops, rubbish authorities - anyone having contact with others. In the interim, and across the nation lockdown ended most development, and spared the south from a catastrophe of the scale experienced in the north.
San Fele's district - Basilicata, the dark instep of Italy's boot - has had just 401 coronavirus cases, and just two in the most recent month.
In any event, one was an individual who entered the district all things considered.
All things considered, the civic chairman stated, San Fele had a sense of safety during the lockdown. Individuals were on edge, however, nearly no one was showing up around.
Italy extricated limitations on between territorial travel June 3. Presently it is opening up to explorers from across Europe. Huge numbers of the individuals who experienced childhood in San Fele and moved away presently get the opportunity, finally, to return.
Also, bit by bit, that is what's going on.
The chairman's oldest little girl, 26, who lives in the northern city of Turin, as of late made arrangements for an arrival visit. A man from Milan appeared around on an ongoing end of the week, wearing an N95 cover, to monitor his mom.
"The greater part of my family - granddad, siblings, cousins - all left," said Vito Ricigliano, 72, who at that point referenced that a cousin who lives in Rome was likewise coming back to San Fele soon thereafter.
"We grew up together," he said. "We confide in each other. In any case, the sky is the limit. At the point when I go to visit him, I'll wear a cover."
A few hours after the fact, Ricigliano was thumping on the entryway of his cousin, who was all the while unloading and tidying up. The cousin, Michele Maselli, 72, moved away from San Fele at age 14 and said the spot was "kicking the bucket," yet he returned each mid-year - for the "serenity," and because it was home.
Maselli referenced that, when he showed up around, someone halted him and inquired as to why he was wearing a veil.
He was shocked.
"Out of regard," he answered. He didn't see himself as high-hazard - there weren't numerous new day by day cases in Rome and he and his better half had driven legitimately to town. All things considered, it appeared the best activity.
"Here," Ricigliano said with a giggle, "you are the danger."
The fresh introductions had no obligation to advise the town they were coming, thus they hadn't yet been tried. Then, the town got no opportunity to test individuals who were simply going through.
The next day, around 10 a.m., the principal visit transport of the period pulled up to a parking area at the base of the town. It brought a gathering of 23 individuals from over Italy's south. They had begun the morning in Matera, one hour away. They got off the transport here wearing knapsacks and shoes, holding strolling sticks. Most had veils.
For the following three hours, they trekked through the town place and into the encompassing woodland, on trails swarmed with day-trippers. They took photographs at the cascades. At noon, they advanced toward the eatery.
It was significantly more pressed than it had been a couple of days sooner. Enormous families, with youngsters and grandparents, were there for their Sunday dinners. One young person, with inflatables at his table, was praising a birthday.
A server pushed a few tables together. The gathering of 23 tourists plunked down.