"Plague crosses," offered as symbols of gratitude for God’s help during the pandemic, mark the spots where the outdoor altars once stood.
This week Italy registered the first decrease in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic in early March. Among some of the worst hit areas are the provinces of Milan and Bergamo, in the north of the country, which have a long history of pandemics. In the 1570s, a strong outbreak of plague hit Milan and surroundings, killing 30% of the population. The outbreak later took on the name of “Plague of St. Charles” in honor of St. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, who played a crucial role in caring for the ill and their families. Unlike civil authorities, the archbishop did not leave the city but stayed behind to coordinate health care efforts.