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Italian village celebrates first birth in eight years

People living in Italy’s smallest village are celebrating the arrival of a new inhabitant – the first baby born there in eight years.

The population in Morterone, a mountainous community in Lombardy, rose to 29 after the birth of a baby boy, named Denis, on Sunday.

“It truly is a celebration for the whole community,” Antonella Invernizzi, the mayor of Morterone, told Corriere della Sera.

Denis’s parents, Matteo and Sara, followed the Italian tradition of announcing the birth by placing a ribbon – blue for a boy and pink for a girl – on the door of their home. It is the first time such a ribbon has been seen in the village since 2012, when a baby girl was born.

Denis was born in Alessandro Manzoni hospital in Lecco, weighing 2.6kg.

Sara spoke to Corriere about being pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely affected the Lombardy region but spared Morterone.

“It wasn’t easy to be pregnant during a pandemic,” she said. “You were unable to go out or go and see loved ones.”

She said there would be a party once the family returns from the hospital. “We will welcome everyone with open arms … It’s exciting that my little one will be among the inhabitants of Morterone, and increasing, even if only slightly, the population.”

Denis’s birth comes a few weeks after data showed that Italy’s declining birth rate hit a record low in 2019, with 420,170 babies born – the lowest since records began in 1861.

Morterone is classified as Italy’s smallest municipality owing to the size of its population. The population had decreased only recently to 28 after the death of Invernizzi’s father.

“Now we have gone back up to 29,” Invernizzi said. “There are no other pregnancies in sight, at least that I know of … but certainly a newborn is always a joy for all of us.”

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