SCANSANO, Italy, (Reuters) – Twelve-year-old Giulio Giovanni’s studying place has a view many people would envy – the unspoiled countryside of rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves under a Tuscan sun.
He would prefer to participate in classes over the internet from home – like his fellow classmates have to because of Italy’s coronavirus lockdown – but the bucolic spot under a tree 1.5 km (one mile) away is the closest with a signal.
“On days when I have lessons I bring from home a table, a stool and my bag with the tablet and all the books that I need and then mum and I come up here in the car,” Giulio said on Wednesday, which luckily was sunny with a gentle breeze.
His mother drives him to the spot outside the small Tuscan town of Scansano every day because the phone line at home has been out of order for months and there is no cell phone signal there.
“So, to take part in his lessons, we have to come up here where we can at least get the internet,” she said, explaining that she uses her cell phone as a mobile hotspot.
“We set everything up and we are ready for our lessons,” said Giulio, who is in the first year of middle school.
“I prefer being at school because at least there I’m with friends. Here I can see them but only via the screen. At least there I would see them in person,” he said.
His mother said she is taking legal action against the phone company because it is taking them so long to fix the line at home.
Until then, she will continue to drive Giulio to the spot, where, while others might be tempted to enjoy nature’s splendours, he taps on the “classroom” app on his tablet and starts his school day.
(Writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Janet Lawrence)