La Dolce Vita
How to live more like an Italian: a slow, beautiful, and meaningful everyday life.
By Caroline Faubert
Photo by Pexels
After traveling to Italy this past Fall, I learned many things in only ten short days. Among them, I discovered that there are countless types of pasta, Vespas don’t yield to pedestrians, and most importantly, I indulged in Italy’s beautiful way of life. Often described as “La Dolce Vita,” or the sweet life, Italians have a way of finding beauty in mundane everyday tasks, a concept so foreign to me. In the United States, the fast-paced lifestyle and “hustle culture” sets the standard of living as working oneself to exhaustion. In Italy, however, I couldn’t help but notice how different the mentality was.
A perfect example of how people live this slow-paced life is mealtime etiquette. Italians take their time to savor their food for each meal of the day. They view eating as valuable time to relax with friends and family. The meals consist of several portions that are small, spread out, and full of high-quality ingredients. As a result, Italians can relish the food in front of them, prioritize conversation, and connect with those around them. I found this to be very different from what I am used to, with quick, solo meals during breaks in a busy schedule. The Italian way of eating, which I enjoyed during my trip, was liberating and forced me to slow down and live in the moment. I now try to eat at least one meal a day in a more laid-back fashion, valuing each meal as one to be celebrated.
I also noticed the beauty in the Italians’ everyday routine. From the time they wake up to the time they go to bed, there is no rush or sense of urgency. Instead, they choose to be relaxed and present in the moment. Each hour of the day is savored, and filled with mindfulness and gratitude. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are sitting around doing nothing, but taking whatever task one has and making the most of it. This practice forces you to be more present, which is something we could all benefit from.
You don’t necessarily have to travel to the rolling hills of Tuscany to live “La Dolce Vita.” This sweet life is a mindset we can all adopt from anywhere in the world. Living with this sense of purpose will romanticize your everyday life, and make the average elements of a typical day more meaningful. While it's easy to get caught up in the stress and chaos of life, adding some stillness to your day can make your time much more valuable.
My trip to Italy opened my eyes to how much I had been overworking myself. Even in Florence, a bustling city, I observed that the people around me prioritized their peace and happiness more than the productivity of their day. I saw how even doing absolutely nothing can make for a rewarding day if that is what it takes to appreciate life to the fullest. I am so grateful for those ten days in Italy for showing me what “La Dolce Vita” is all about.