Today's Paper Digital FAQ Obits River Valley Democrat-Gazette Newsletters 🎄Community Christmas Card NWA Screening Sites NWA Vaccine Information Virus Interactive Map Coronavirus FAQ Crime Razorback Sports Today's Photos Puzzles
ADVERTISEMENT

After more than 19 months, Milan clubs to reopen in Italy

October 12, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Davide Volonte', left, and Massimiliano Ruffolo work in the Room 2 of the Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, more than 19 months after the government shut down Milan’s club scene after the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West was detected just an hour away. Rocket Club’s owner, Massimiliano Ruffolo reopened the Rocket Bar opposite the club for the summer of 2020. But when another lockdown came at the end of the summer, he sold the bar. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

MILAN -- With Italy's vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen. It's been a long wait.

Glasses remained stacked upside down at Milan's Rocket Club on Saturday, more than 19 months after the city's club scene was shut down following detection -- just an hour away -- of the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West.

The Rocket Club was a centerpiece for the indie, underground and techno scene in Italy's financial and fashion capital since 2003, moving to its present location in the Navigli canal district in 2013.

But music has not resonated through the cavernous hall since Feb. 22, 2020.

Manager Davide Volonte recalls the surreal mood as the first masked clients appeared and of the last night before the Italian government's shutdown order came into effect. It was two days after the first person known to have acquired the coronavirus in Italy was diagnosed -- within Milan's commuter belt in the Lombardy town of Codogno.

At the time, most club owners were convinced the shutdown would just last some weeks.

"Everything was new and it was the same situation for everyone," Volonte said, recalling a sense of confusion more than worry.

But even when Italy's lockdown eased in the summer of 2020, nightclubs remained mostly closed and have yet to reopen -- unlike restaurants, cinemas and theaters. Only clubs with outdoor spaces have been allowed to function as cocktail bars, but not for dancing.

Rocket Club owner Massimiliano Ruffolo opened the Rocket Bar for the summer of 2020. But when another lockdown came at the end of the summer, he sold the bar.

"Void" is perhaps the most famous techno club in the region. Created by DJ Richey V, whose real name is Francesco Orcese, it was briefly Milan's unmissable Thursday night meeting point.

Orcese said the early days of closure, which led into a regional then national lockdown within weeks, at first seemed a holiday from his busy calendar. Depression set in as the summer of 2020 turned to fall, and there was no sign nightlife would return. He filled his hours reading books, watching films, working out and writing and producing his own music.

Orcese said he moved "from anguish and depression to actual rage, feeling like an inmate who doesn't know his release date." Alternating lockdowns and curfews "completely killed the night," he said.

As of Monday, venues were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity indoors, and at 75% capacity in the open air.

Davide Volonte', left, and Massimiliano Ruffolo work in the Room 2 of the Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, more than 19 months after the government shut down Milan’s club scene after the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West was detected just an hour away. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air.  (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Davide Volonte', left, and Massimiliano Ruffolo work in the Room 2 of the Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, more than 19 months after the government shut down Milan’s club scene after the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West was detected just an hour away. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Dj Richey V, real name Francesco Orcese, looks at a neon sign inside Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Richey V, who created "Void" which briefly became the unmissable appointment for a Thursday night in Milan, and is perhaps the most famous techno club in the region, said the early days of lockdown was like a psychological holiday from his busy calendar. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend. It's been a long wait. They are recommending that venues can open at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Dj Richey V, real name Francesco Orcese, looks at a neon sign inside Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Richey V, who created "Void" which briefly became the unmissable appointment for a Thursday night in Milan, and is perhaps the most famous techno club in the region, said the early days of lockdown was like a psychological holiday from his busy calendar. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend. It's been a long wait. They are recommending that venues can open at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Dj Richey V, real name Francesco Orcese, poses inside Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Richey V, who created "Void" which briefly became the unmissable appointment for a Thursday night in Milan, and is perhaps the most famous techno club in the region, said the early days of lockdown was like a psychological holiday from his busy calendar. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend. It's been a long wait. They are recommending that venues can open at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air.  (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Dj Richey V, real name Francesco Orcese, poses inside Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Richey V, who created "Void" which briefly became the unmissable appointment for a Thursday night in Milan, and is perhaps the most famous techno club in the region, said the early days of lockdown was like a psychological holiday from his busy calendar. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend. It's been a long wait. They are recommending that venues can open at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian DJ Richey V, whose real name is Francesco Orcese, sits on a couch at the Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Richey V, who created "Void" which briefly became the unmissable appointment for a Thursday night in Milan, and is perhaps the most famous techno club in the region, said the early days of lockdown was like a psychological holiday from his busy calendar. That turned to depression as the summer of 2020 turned to fall, and there was no sign nightlife would return. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian DJ Richey V, whose real name is Francesco Orcese, sits on a couch at the Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Richey V, who created "Void" which briefly became the unmissable appointment for a Thursday night in Milan, and is perhaps the most famous techno club in the region, said the early days of lockdown was like a psychological holiday from his busy calendar. That turned to depression as the summer of 2020 turned to fall, and there was no sign nightlife would return. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
General view of the empty Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, more than 19 months after the government shut down Milan’s club scene after the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West was detected just an hour away. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend. It's been a long wait. They are recommending that venues can open at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
General view of the empty Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, more than 19 months after the government shut down Milan’s club scene after the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West was detected just an hour away. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend. It's been a long wait. They are recommending that venues can open at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Davide Volonte', manager and director of the Rocket Club stands at the empty venue, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Manager Davide Volonte’ recalls the surreal atmosphere of the last night before the government forced them to close the doors. It was two days after Italy’s first COVID patient was diagnosed in the Lombardy town of Codogno, within Milan’s commuter belt. The atmosphere was surreal, he recalled, and the first facemasks appeared in the crowd.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Davide Volonte', manager and director of the Rocket Club stands at the empty venue, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Manager Davide Volonte’ recalls the surreal atmosphere of the last night before the government forced them to close the doors. It was two days after Italy’s first COVID patient was diagnosed in the Lombardy town of Codogno, within Milan’s commuter belt. The atmosphere was surreal, he recalled, and the first facemasks appeared in the crowd. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Dj Richey V, real name Francesco Orcese, checks a console at the Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, more than 19 months after the government shut down Milan’s club scene after the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West was detected just an hour away. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Italian Dj Richey V, real name Francesco Orcese, checks a console at the Rocket Club, in Milan, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, more than 19 months after the government shut down Milan’s club scene after the first local transmission of coronavirus in the West was detected just an hour away. With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen this weekend at 50% capacity indoors, and 70% in the open air. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Print Headline: After more than 19 months, Milan clubs can reopen

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT