Italy is experiencing a gentle reawakening. Like a poppy blossoming in the spring, the first buds of the country’s reopening are a sign of a traveller’s return to the cities, towns and villages that make the Bel Paese one of the world’s most charming and sought-after travel destinations. The beauty of Italy is that even during the challenging period of being forced to shutter, the gentle lilting rhythm of everyday life never stopped. That relaxed cadence accompanies us when we travel in our beloved country and around the world.
Every morning, barista brew the perfect espresso with cornetti (croissants) from local pasticceria. Fruttivendolo (greengrocer) lovingly sets out fresh seasonal vegetables, the forno (bakery) churns out loaves of scrumptious pane (bread) and the convivial Buongiorno (good morning) can be heard amongst neighbours, colleagues and friends as they catch up on all the latest pettegolezzo (gossip). What seems like hanging out is often called il dolce far niente (the beautiful art of doing nothing), we like to think of it enjoying time – to say hello, choose what you love and want, and just appreciate the moment.
Throughout the day, vespas and motorini (scooters) zoom along the twists and turns of city streets and countryside roads, as people go about their daily life, and once the sun starts to set, people venture out for an aperitivo (pre-dinner cocktail) and an evening passeggiata (stroll) nodding buonasera (good evening) to amici (friends) as they absorb the beauty of their surroundings. These are the heartening rituals of la vita quotidiana (everyday life) which those travelling to Italy crave.
“Una vita profonda è più importante della longevità.” A deep life is more important than longevity, says an Italian proverb, and it is a mentality encouraged with grand fervour and gusto (flavour). Italy teaches you to gently walk through history, e che storia! with a gelato in hand, keeping the past alive while also taking a step towards the future with the next generation of artisans.
Traveling is not about checking things off a list but about forging genuine connections with family and friends old and new. Italy’s sheer magnitude of magnificent monuments, jaw-dropping architecture, resplendent art and fabulous food automatically encourages a slow down of stop, look, listen and absorb. It’s no wonder that this is the birthplace of Slow Food International and that the Italian government declared 2019 the year of slow travel. Italians embrace the concept of la dolce far niente (carefree idleness) understanding that the pleasant act of doing nothing allows one space to revel in the serendipitous moments of life and to simply be. There is no other country in the world which offers such fascinating people watching!
pictures by Roberto Salomone and Giada Mariani
By honouring the authenticity of such places through a more mindful approach to travel including Il Dolce Far Bene, a more sustainable future is a feasible reality. The gradual discovery of a destination contributes to the preservation of culture heritage, while boosting local economies. In the end, “doing nothing” is probably the best thing you can do, and will have the most impact on protecting our planet. So take a tip on living deeper and wander without a plan, perhaps even without a map…instead, we suggest you follow the scent of your next good meal.