Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli said she felt “humiliated and offended” by the coronavirus blockades imposed in the country.
“I could not leave the house, although I had not committed any crime,”
He also admitted that he did not obey the blocking rules and believed that the severity of the pandemic had been exaggerated.
His comments will surprise many, as he has become a symbol of national unity in the midst of the blockade.
On Easter Sunday, the famous Bocelli sang alone in an empty cathedral in Milan in a live solo performance called music of hope.
Bocelli made remarks at a conference in the Italian Senate attended by opposition politicians, including Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right Liga party.
Mr Salvini has attacked the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for tackling the health crisis in Italy.
A national blockade began in Italy in early March and was eased gradually in the following months.
During Bocelli’s speech in Italian, the 61-year-old said he did not follow the blocking rules, “because I didn’t think it was right or healthy to stay home at my age.”
He added: “I’m a certain age and I need sun and vitamin D.”
Bocelli also suggested that other citizens “refuse to follow the rules.”
He said he believed the epidemic was over and did not know anyone in intensive care. “So what was all this sense of gravity for?” he asked.
“Let’s refuse to follow this rule. Let’s read books, move, get to know each other, talk, have a dialogue,” he said.
- Prosecutors in Italy are testing Prime Minister Conte for coronavirus
Bocelli, who has two grown sons from his previous marriage and a daughter to his second wife and manager, Veronica Berti, has also criticized the Italian government’s approach to rebuilding schools.
“I have an eight-year-old daughter and it is unthinkable for these children to have to go to school separated by a piece of Plexiglas and hidden behind a mask,” he said.
“It is unthinkable for schools to close so quickly, and at the same rate nightclubs have reopened, where young people go not to study but to scatter their brains.”
Bocelli has since claimed his comments are “misunderstood”, adding that his foundation has helped many people who have had the virus.
Italy’s locking rules are now largely regionalized, but face masks are mandatory on public transport and in shops, and a social distance of one meter is required in public spaces.
Theaters and concert halls can now reopen with a maximum of 200 audience members for indoor events and 1,000 for open spaces.
More than 35,000 Italians have died of coronavirus.
Follow us in Facebook or on Twitter @BBCNewsEntsIf you have an email with a history suggestion,,