Ian McKinley surveys Treviso from his apartment window on the eighth floor but all he can see are deserted streets.
Stripped bare. Naked. Soon, singing will fill the silenced echoes of normal, daily life as the weekend approaches.
It is just after 8pm but this is now a place where no cars nor people go, where kids no longer play. He and his wife, Cordelia, have just returned from walking their dog, a now daily, blissful but brief, relief from life in lockdown.
A mundane ritual now heightened to an adventure of almost intense drama. For it is now the only time they get to close the front door behind them.
Theirs is a life that soon, perhaps, none of us know, may be encountered in this country too in the quest to contain a rampant, global pandemic.
Dubliner McKinley has faced far different and more compelling challenges than this – once blinded, his pioneering efforts to play on with his one good eye, thanks to the aid of goggles, has earned him worldwide acclaim.
But this is a unique situation. "It's surreal," says the Irishman in exile, now a fully-integrated Italian, and an out-half who has played rugby for the Azzurri nine times.
He contemplated returning home to Ireland before this week's decision by prime minister Giuseppe Conte to extend the lockdown to the entire country. Then again, Dublin may be where he was born, but Italy is where he lives.
"This has been my home for eight years," he says simply. Back in Dublin, his native land has begun the same uncertain journey as that being taken by the Italians.
McKinley has returned home from his walk to view the nightly address from the civil protection agency as they deliver the latest numbers.
By Monday, the numbers had risen to 2,158 deaths in Italy due to Covid-19, and 27,980 diagnoses.
The journey, it seems, has a distance to travel yet. Italy is in the red zone now but, soon, others may follow.
Back home in Rathfarnham, Dublin, where father Horace is the Church of Ireland rector – and a keen Spurs fan reeling at his side's recent demise – he and wife Pam remain calm despite the yawning distance between parents and child.
Pam tells us that worrying about her healthy young family is futile. Skype shortens the distance between them and, though each share natural concerns about each other, their faith in advice from those better qualified is, at least, reassuring.
"It's in my head all the time," says Pam, but she speaks as one of a thousand parents in this country, and a million more throughout the world. "They seem to be OK. Worrying is not going to get me anywhere. If anything happened, they'll be well able to recover. It's not keeping me sleepless at night."
A reminder, in these fraught days, that even though we are all minded to change the habits of our lifetime, doing so with ease and care is preferable to anxiety and panic.
The sense of dread can be heightened by geography, more now with borders closed, for it confirms one’s helplessness – it is much like the feeling, perhaps, when a parent watches a child at play, either for pleasure or profession.
"I've only spoke to them once since this all started," McKinley tells us. "They know we're absolutely grand and that puts them at ease. The news reports with images can be quite gripping so that might make them worry a little more.
"We're in the middle of it, we can see the clampdown. Much like a rugby game, when you're in the thick of it you can control it, if that makes any sense? Watching it unfold on TV or from the outside can make it seem worse than it actually is.
"Whereas, we're here. We know what the situation is. You can have a little more control even if you’re not in control."
In nearby Vo' Euganeo, the tiny village where the first outbreak was discovered weeks ago, no new cases were unearthed over the weekend, a merciful sign, perhaps, that the first "red zone" in Europe was seeing a different light.
But there is a long, long way to go yet. The initial reckless attitude of the feckless failed to contain; if anything, it accelerated the virus’s virulent path.
Throughout Italy, school closures initially failed to stem the rampant spread and more drastic measures – including closing pubs and restaurants – had to be implemented in order to separate citizens.
"Since last Saturday evening, it has escalated in terms of seriousness," reports McKinley. "Everything is closed now. Only supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.
"Where I am in Treviso is in compete lockdown. There are hardly any cars. And you don't see any elderly people at all. It's eerily quiet and people are taking the advice very seriously.
"There's no sense of panic buying or anything. We’ve bought a few extra cans of tinned food but nothing extravagant. We had a quick lunch in the city centre just to get some air before the lockdown, before the chef closed down for good. And in the shops, the shelves have been full enough although the fresh meat sections have been pretty empty.
"But people generally have been calm, there's no sense of panic. It’s just surreal. Not many people are going out so there's no problem enforcing the rule. It's working because it's not normal."
The airs and arias that have begun to fill an air menaced by microscopic microbes are hymns of hope.
"We live in an apartment block and we see a lot of elderly people who are worried. They're all erring on the side of caution. They just want it to be over.
"The hope is that like in China's experience of early, intense intervention, the spike will level off. It's now known that countries to the west of us, like the UK and Ireland, are a few weeks behind us.
"The government here have acted quickly and decisively even if some businesses are complaining. If I’m honest, they've done the right thing."
The message is clear, then, for Ireland as it follows the path laid down by others. Even if the sacrifices are many.
"The big worry, apart from the devastation of lost lives, is the economic impact. So many people aren’t working."
Last week, Conte suggested that €7.5 billion would be required to alleviate the crippling economic situation. Now, the figure has broached €25bn.
That, of course, includes McKinley and so many other rugby players. Sport's importance is often facetiously disregarded by pointy-headed pulpit-dwellers in times of such crisis.
But what of those like McKinley, and so many other people, whose very livelihood depends on sport, a pursuit undertaken to provide health and wealth, however modest that may be?
Now these fundamentals have been violently whisked away.
We have no idea when we are going to play a game. The situation in Italy is only going to get worse before it gets better. I can’t imagine visitors from here will be welcomed due to the safety factor.
"So for a significant period, we won’t have games and in a ridiculous calendar, it’s going to be hard to find space to play the games."
And the rest of us. If we invest so much in sport, does it not necessarily follow that we will now be so bereft?
We speak of the relative mundanity of matches in hand and league points earned and lost but events swiftly overtake us – even the carefully planned training regime with Benetton would soon be ripped up as the crackdown enforced the lockdown.
The withdrawal of the physical challenge will present a mental one for all sportspeople.
This has been a season where McKinley missed out on a World Cup dream, his sport having effectively driven him out of his native land, but now all dreams are supplanted by the grim reality of daily existence.
He is not alone in summoning the inner courage and determination required by all of us in such troubled times.
"We have to deal with it all, as best we can."