Watch: Italian Grandfather reunites with grandchild after coronavirus separation
Grandfather Domenico di Massa, 72, couldn’t have been happier on Monday as he threw his granddaughter Cecilia in the air, celebrating a relaxation in Italy’s lockdown regulations.
Grandmother Mariantonia Gangemi (70) looked on at the emotional reunion as the family started the first phase in getting to know each other again, wearing masks.
Five-year-old Cecilia has gone two months without seeing her grandparents, normally she would have seen them on a weekly basis.
“During the quarantine we were desperate,” said di Massa who had to stop briefly to hold back the tears.
“Now I can’t even speak for how excited I am...too excited,” he said.
“When I saw her my heart stopped, it seemed to be a century since I have seen her but now I’m happy because I will take her to the sea with me,” said grandmother Mariantonia.
“I got excited because I couldn’t hear or see them, I could only talk to them on the phone,” said Cecilia, who couldn’t stop smiling.
Many Italians would normally leave young children with grandparents in July before talking holiday from work in August. This year it will probably be a much longer time for many Italians needing help from grandparents.
“The main change will be having to go back to work and not being able to stay with my daughter because schools are closed and therefore she has to go with her grandparents and so I will see her during weekends,” said mother Josephine di Massa.
“I’m lucky, she’ll be fine, she’ll be with her grandparents, she’ll go to the beach, I have a job...I can’t complain, I’m in a good situation,” she said.
Schools are not due to re-open until September.
Under the new rules, 4.5 million Italians can clock back in, construction work can resume and relatives can reunite.
While some old rituals returned, many curbs stayed in place to try to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 that has killed almost 29,000 Italians since its outbreak emerged on Feb. 21 -- the second highest toll after the United States.