The opera star was seen as a symbol of national unity during the country’s strict lockdown period. He performed in an empty cathedral on Easter Sunday as part of a live streamed concert titled Music for Hope.
However, speaking at a conference in Italy’s senate, Bocelli, 61, revealed that he disobeyed lockdown rules and felt that Covid-19’s impact had been exaggerated.
“I could not leave the house even though I had committed no crime,” Bocelli said, adding that he “did not think it was right or healthy to stay home at my age”.
Saying that nobody he knew had been in intensive care, he continued: “So what was all this sense of gravity for? Let’s refuse to follow this rule. Let’s read books, move around, get to know each other, talk, dialogue.”
Bocelli has since said that comments were “misunderstood” and taken out of context and that his charity, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, has helped many people recovering from the virus.
Italy was one of the first countries to enforce strict lockdown measures in March, while face masks are still mandatory in public.
More than 35,000 people are known to have died of coronavirus in Italy.