Each time he went to a funeral, Gino Verani came away with a "santino," the traditional laminated card with a picture of the deceased on the front and a prayer on the back. Over the years he would slip them into two small cardboard boxes in a drawer in the living room of his house in San Fiorano - a town in northern Italy that was at the epicenter of the country's coronavirus pandemic - along with his watch, an outdated cellphone and his keys.By the time Verani died on Sept. 6 at the age of 88, he had collected nearly 150 "santini. Those cards depicting friends, and sometimes children of friends, became part of the many games his family devised to keep Verani's mind active against encroaching dementia during the national lockdown."I would occasionally lay them all out on a table and ask him to identify the pictures," said his grandson Marzio Toniolo, 35, an elementary school teacher in the same town. "He remembered many of them, more than he remembered what he did a while ago," he said.
| Click here to view comments