In the face of the first wave of COVID-19 contagion, citizens all over the world experienced concerns for their safety and health, as well as prolonged lockdowns – which brought about limitations but also unforeseen opportunities for personal growth. Broad variability in these psychological responses to such unprecedented experiences emerged. This study addresses this variability by investigating the role of personal and community resilience. Personal resilience, collective resilience, community disaster management ability, provided information by local authorities, and citizens’ focus on COVID-19-related personal concerns and lockdown-related opportunities for personal growth were detected through an online questionnaire. Multilevel modelling was run with data from 3,745 Italian citizens. The potential of personal resilience as a driver for individuals to overcome adverse situations with positive outcomes was confirmed. Differently, the components of community resilience showed more complex paths, highlighting the need to pay more attention to its role in the face of far-reaching adverse events which hardly test individuals’ as well as communities’ adaptability and agency skills. The complexities linked to the multi-component and system-specific nature of resilience, as well as potential paths towards making the most out of citizens’ and communities’ ones, emerge. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.