Because of coronavirus restrictions in Italy, thousands of people have not been able to visit loved ones in hospitals, regardless of their ailment.
That didn’t stop Stefano Bozzini.
Earlier this month, Mr. Bozzini, 81, plunked himself in the courtyard of a hospital in Castel San Giovanni, a town in the central region of Reggio Emilia, and began playing his accordion under the second-story window of his wife of 47 years, Carla Sacchi, who was hospitalized for an illness unrelated to Covid-19. He played a few of her favorite songs, including “Spanish Eyes,” the 1965 Bert Kaempfert classic made popular by the crooners Al Martino, Engelbert Humperdinck and Elvis Presley.
The couple’s son, Maurizio Bozzini, recorded the serenade and sent it to a friend who posted it on Facebook. Local and international media picked up the video, a soulful testament of profound love.
Mrs. Sacchi died at home on Thursday at 74, and was buried on Saturday.
“We all recognized love, in the simplicity and immediacy of its universal language,” wrote Patrizia Barbieri, the mayor of the nearby town of Piacenza, on her Facebook page on Thursday. She thanked Mr. Bozzini for a tender gesture “that reminded us what truly caring for each other means. To do everything so that the other person does not feel alone, overcoming any barrier.”
In the video, Mr. Bozzini is wearing the distinctive hat of the Alpini, the Italian army’s mountain infantry, and he often provided entertainment to local Alpini gatherings as well as nursing homes. Alessandro Stragliati, the group leader for the local branch of the Alpini said that Mr. Bozzini had brought his wife with him as she became ill, “to distract her.”
After she died, “Stefano told me, I have lost my Stella Alpina,” a term of endearment as well as the Italian name for the edelweiss flower, Mr. Stragliati said, adding, “He is a humble and simple man, but he has touched the heart of millions.”