Italy is now a long way away from those balcony days and its summer fling with freedom. Instead, as a second wave of the virus engulfs Europe and triggers new nationwide lockdowns, Italy has become emblematic of a despair, exhaustion and fear that is spreading throughout the Continent…

“We’ve reached the end of our rope,” said Emanuele Tudini, whose wife applauded doctors from their apartment window and whose children drew “Everything Will Be OK” rainbows at the beginning of the crisis…

Milan, Italy’s economic engine, is the new capital of its contagion and seems on the brink of quarantine. The poorer and vulnerable south is exposed, and Neapolitans have rioted against early closures imposed to avoid a massacre. Romans, bracing for a siege, are swinging erratically between last-days-of-disco day drinking and holing up during eerily quiet nights.

All around the country, unease is morphing into unrest. Large crowds in Trieste chant that they just want to work. And demonstrators have taken to the streets in nearly every major Italian city, from Palermo to Bologna to Verona.