When you find yourself in Italy, you realize that it is the best country you could have chosen for your vacation. I’m not saying this just because I’ve always been in love with Italy, but because the Italian way of life simply makes you relax and forget about all the obligations, plans and routine you’re used to.
Italy is a country where you won’t set an alarm to wake you up in the morning because you’ll wake up on your own, with birds chirping and roosters crowing (assuming you’re in the countryside, like I am now) and completely rested and revitalized.
You will go down to breakfast relaxed and you will be surprised that you have an appetite. I, for one, never eat breakfast. I don’t have that habit, and I’m not even hungry in the morning. One whole grain biscuit and half a liter of coffee is what keeps me going until a late lunch or an early dinner (I’m not saying it’s healthy and you have to do the same, but it works for me).
Here the situation is different, and considering the choice offered, even the pickiest can find something for themselves. As much as I ignore breakfast at home, in Italy it becomes the most important meal of the day. In addition, there is no bad coffee in Italy, which is a great pleasure for a coffee lover like me.
Whenever I order a cappuccino, at home or in any other country, I get a strange, rather bad-tasting mixture consisting of too much foam and very little coffee. Disappointment. That’s why I stopped drinking cappuccino. In Italy, the story is different, and the Italian cappuccino is something to swoon over.
Here, the cappuccino has just enough foam to leak out of the cup and leave a trail of mustaches, but there is also enough coffee, with a perfect taste, so that you don’t just sip the foam and wonder what you’re drinking. Italians take coffee seriously and I have yet to have a bad one. Not even average. Wherever I was, the coffee was perfect. If you are also addicted to coffee, Italy is a country you must visit to find what you are looking for.
Italians know how to enjoy life, that’s a fact. This is not something I noticed now, I noticed it in my previous visits to that country. With Italians, there is no rush, and there is not too much stress. Even though they look loud, hyperactive, busy… even though the traffic is chaotic, and they gesture a lot while talking, without worrying, they know how to stop in time, enjoy life and stop for a moment to drink an espresso.
Dolce far niente
The Italian language is full of sayings that talk about the beauty of enjoying life. Dolce far niente or it’s sweet to do nothing, best describes their casual and relaxed mentality. I can’t deny that I like it and embrace it with open arms.
When Italians work, they really work. Forget those stories about lazy and untidy Mediterranean people who sleep all day, and garbage piles up in the streets until they all drown. There is no garbage on the roads in Italy, and there are so many tourists that there should be.
Everything is clean and spotless even. Lots of flowers and greenery. Someone is always doing something, cleaning, planting or watering plants.
But when the sun shines and the heat is at its peak, the siesta begins. Siesta is something that I find difficult to get used to in Italy and I always forget about it. Siesta means you can forget about something you wanted to do during the day. If you want to buy headache pills at the pharmacy, pay bills at the bank, have a business meeting or have lunch at the time you usually have lunch at home – forget it. Not going to happen.
In Italy, work is done in two shifts, and the first shift usually lasts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then everything closes. Post offices, offices, banks, restaurants and shops. Everyone packs up and goes to rest, which usually consists of lunch and a little sleep before continuing with the day’s work. At that time, the streets are empty and you can find only a handful of bewildered tourists with hats on their heads and heavy cameras around their necks confusedly wandering around the city, peering into dark shop windows and persistently trying to get in somewhere and buy something.
If you are hungry, you can find fast food restaurants here and there (depending on the location) and find supermarkets that are open all day and where you can buy a sandwich. If you’re not too picky you’ll be fine until dinner.
Around 5 p.m., everything opens, as if it had never been closed, and life slowly returns to the Italian streets. If you want to buy something, now is the time. Restaurants generally open around 7 p.m., when dinner begins to be served.
There are only hungry tourists in restaurants who haven’t had enough for breakfast or were bored with sandwiches. Real Italians have dinner around 10 in the evening. And it is usually a big dinner, in three courses with a lot of wine. That amount of food so late at night would send the average person from another country to the emergency room for stomach problems. Not the Italians though.
Yes, in Italy they know how to enjoy life, and it didn’t take me long to accept the “dolce far niente” way of thinking either.
La vita e bella and dolce vita
You know how many nations have a saying that life is hard? I never agree with that saying because when someone tells me that life is hard, I like to ask that person to explain to me what life is hard compared to. This usually confuses them enough that we can move on to another topic because I really don’t enjoy pointless philosophizing, but the fact is that hard life is often thrown around as a phrase that people don’t even think about when they say it.
Not in Italy. In Italy, only one rule applies – la vita e bella or life is beautiful. Isn’t that a healthy outlook on life? We only have one life, so why not make it beautiful? When you find yourself in Italy, you will very quickly feel how beautiful and relaxed life is. The beauty of enjoying life is synonymous with the Italian way of life.
La Dolce Vita is just another reminder of how Italians live their lives to the fullest without missing a single moment to enjoy. La dolce vita literally means “the sweet life” or “the good life”. La dolce vita in Italy symbolizes a life in which the beauty of enjoying small things is important. It all boils down to appreciating the little things that make us happy and doing as much as possible of what we love.
If you’ve forgotten to enjoy life, maybe it’s time to pack your bags and visit Italy. Or at least watch Fellini’s legendary film La Dolce Vita, which may inspire you enough to make some changes in your everyday life.
You don’t have to own a lot to enjoy the sweet life. Do what you love, eat your favorite food without remorse, indulge yourself a little and treat yourself to something you’ve been dreaming about for a long time. Do it for yourself because one day it will be too late and you might regret it. You know that people regret more for what they didn’t do than for what they did.
Italians are known for their relaxed way of life and are aware that life should not be taken too seriously. What’s the point of that anyway? Serious people age too quickly, and don’t we all want to be young as long as possible or at least keep a young spirit and a healthy body?
Italy is the perfect country for vacation. A country where you have to relax even if you are not a person who relaxes easily and quickly. Just a few days spent in some beautiful location in this country will make you forget your old life and adapt to a new and better one.
Life in Italy is not peaches and cream like anywhere else in the world. Costs are high and wages are low. Unemployment is a big problem as in many other European countries. However, this does not prevent Italians from living a sweet life and enjoying every moment.
Italians smile a lot, wave their hands a lot, are curious and can’t wait for you to tell them which country you come from. Tourism is their first priority and they will do everything to please you, to entertain you, to give you more than you asked for as a sign of goodwill and a small pledge that you will come back to them again.
If for no other reason, come back for the food. Homemade pasta and pizza that you won’t find anywhere else, straight from the bread oven, will just materialize in front of you on the table, not long after you’ve ordered. If you happen to doubt this speed and think that you have received a frozen pizza, you will be reassured by the huge oven that is usually located in a visible place in every restaurant and the tireless craftsman who diligently kneads and turns the dough, deftly throws on it the ingredients of your choice and inserts it into a boiling hot bread oven.
Before you know it, the food will be in front of you, and you have no other option but to enjoy it and conclude that life is really sweet. Even if you think you can’t see any more food, someone will recommend you to try Dolcetti della casa or homemade cookies. They are worth every calorie, trust me.
After all, you’ll burn every calorie walking the endlessly charming Italian streets. Just kidding, you won’t. I always come back from Italy at least 1 kilo heavier, but it’s worth it.
If you happened to wonder why I’m so in love with Italy, maybe I’ve clarified the whole story for you now. I’m not only in love with Italy as a country, famous artists and writers, architecture and history, but with the whole Italian way of life, which exudes optimism, happiness and positive energy.
What do you think? Are you ready to accept this way of thinking and bring a little Italy and the Italian mentality into your life?