• Camilla Vickers

Winter in Italy

Behind the scenes of the latest film from Health:Pitch...

Francesca Lanza has filmed her experience of winter lockdown in Italy.

How has winter lockdown been for you?

For many, it has felt dark, lonely and very long. Unable to find solace in the simple joy of face-to-face human connections, we have had to focus on the small daily things in our lives that bring joy.

Francesca Lanza, the Italian soprano who helps Camilla Vickers run Health:Pitch, found a boost by sharing the joy of music with treasured friends.

And she became a documentary-maker… to create a short film about her winter lockdown with musical friends in her hometown of Turin, Italy, which Health:Pitch produced in partnership with Celebrating Age Wiltshire.

“We came up with the idea of a Winter in Italy film, to offer our audiences the chance to see a bit of Italy and how Francesca is getting on there,” explains Rebecca Seymour, creative director at Celebrating Age Wiltshire. “We supported The Soprano last year, so it was only natural to be part of another film involving Francesca. Many of our audiences, both from care homes and living independently, now recognise Francesca and enjoy following her. We hope it won’t be too long before they can hear and see her sing live again!”

'Winter in Italy', Francesca’s first role as writer, director and film editor, is an uplifting lyrical journey through her lockdown season of songs, music and emotions with her cast of fellow singers, musicians and…cats. Yes, cats!

“Telling this story through the camera’s lens gave me an interesting perspective on this winter and life itself,” says Francesca. “Above all, it turned on the need to share stories to overcome the obstacles of this time.”

Francesca wrote, starred in, filmed and edited 'Winter in Italy'.

Last September, Camilla, Francesca and Rebecca joined Tom Service on the BBC’s Music Matters programme (for those in a hurry, from about 14:00 – 20:00) to discuss in more detail how music can positively affect the brain and offer respite and joy for people living with dementia, those struggling with loneliness, and frontline workers in the COVID-19 trenches.

As people suffer continued isolation and anxiety linked to the global pandemic, sharing the arts to benefit health, for bodies and minds has never been more vital.

“’Winter in Italy’ reminds us of the important role music and the arts play in transcending borders and boundaries both physical and mental,” says Camilla Vickers, Health:Pitch founder and director. “With that special mix of Health:Pitch magic, Francesca and her musicians help to transport us out of our current confines. Whatever our personal or professional lived experience of COVID, we are all tired and stretched by the confines of lockdown. In this film, we join Francesca and her friends in the room – a room in Italy! And we can connect through the very human, humorous and humbling way that Francesca shares their beautiful musical talents and generosity of spirit with us.”

Francesca used a ring light to ensure the right lighting while filming.

Winter in Italy is the latest Health:Pitch project produced in collaboration with a long-term partner organisation. Rebecca Seymour, from Celebrating Age Wiltshire, explains why this partnership is hugely beneficial to both parties.

“We have worked with Health:Pitch over the past three years,” says Rebecca. “We are developing this wonderful relationship around offering high-quality music to our local communities in Wiltshire. Strong partnerships are the way forward, pooling resources to make a much stronger body of work and to draw on each other’s specialism."

“Celebrating Age Wiltshire and Health:Pitch have worked together many times now, so we know we’re going to get high-quality work and Health:Pitch know they’re going to get the specialist knowledge around delivery for older and isolated communities.”

Camilla hopes that ‘Winter in Italy’ gives audiences, of all ages, a chance to enjoy beautiful music and share the warmth of friendships that so clearly emanates from these musicians through the love for their craft.

Speaking of ‘crafts’, now that multi-talented Francesa has added ‘filmmaker’ to her list…we hope to share more of her creations with you in the future.

"I jumped into this documentary project," Francesca explains. “And, producing the film, I realised that what keeps me going is simply music. And of course, my friends! Yes, the technical aspects have been a challenge, and I am surely going to solve them… in the next project!”

  • ‘Winter in Italy’, created in collaboration with Celebrating Age Wiltshire, is available to view for free on our website. Click here and scroll down to view.

  • For more information about Winter in Italy or Health:Pitch's work, please contact us at

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