In America we learn to work, in Italy you learn to live. The quality of food, fashion and friendships matter as much as making time to enjoy them. Conversations tend to talk about everything except work and income. They will tell you why they live in the best place with the most beautiful architecture, why this tomato is the most exquisite, why this wine the most delicious, they won't say I have to rush back to work so lets make this quick. Expressing them selves fully is also a great asset to a life well lived.
Italians as you may already know, love to talk as much with their hands as with their tongues. They don't bottle up their emotions, that full expression of feeling is terrific for your health, and might burn off some of the extra calories consumed with eating for about four hours a day. The terrific warm climate is not the only thing that slows them down, the fundamental need to talk and ponder and extrapolate keeps them from rushing back to work unnecessarily.
Italians value and celebrate all aspects of life. They not only take time to eat and drink well, they do so over a table full of friends and family even at lunch which can take hours. Born into a spectacular history of Architecture and art, Italians naturally appreciate the aesthetics of everything. There are many ways we can incorporate the Italian Lifestyle into our lives so that we can appreciate life more, and one simple way is to take a proper lunch break. Absolutely no less than one hour preferably two. So to learn to live, take time to eat and even cook with friends, then kick back and tell them how you really feel.
If you have ever traveled to Italy you may have been dumfounded by the length of these lunch Siestas. The Italians shut their shops for what seems to be half the day, in reality its from 1-3 unless they get distracted and forget to come back. Generally this time is used to eat a decent meal, and have a little snooze. Then they re-open until 7:00 or 8:00 so people can shop in the cool hours of the afternoon, refreshed.
Food is the first thing you fall in love with in Italy but eating it with other people and savoring it with conversation is the real hook. UNESCO* recognized the Mediterranean diet of such meals as part of the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ because it is so good for you. So on your new long lunches with that glass of red wine, enjoy plenty of tomatoes, olive oil, fresh fruit and veg. Then comes the coffee and a passigiato on an ancient street and whats not to love. Eating while rushing or alone at a computer is unheard of in Italy because it is considered very unhealthy and simply not fun. In their eyes it prioritizes the wrong things. First comes love, then comes food, then comes family and friends then maybe just enough work to keep it all going.
Another Life lesson from the boot is pride of place. After your siesta, in Italy you'll find plenty of shops selling local goods and specialties of that region. This is important to health of a community and a lowers their carbon footprint. Pride of place should not be underestimated. This love of local has also meant that markets and communities thrive,keeping small shops going while giving people a sense of identity and place. It is more fun and more social to buy your food from a vibrant outdoor market and that makes your life tangibly better. This celebration of beauty and quality in all things, respects what we create as humans. This respect for beauty over bills, I think is the real health benefit. Everything even the landscape seems curated with an eye for beauty. Any man can be rich who knows how to live, few men can be rich who know how to work. Your work should be your life, your passion, your purpose, not your servitude. Wake up and celebrate the quality of things, the taste of foods, the conversation with friends, the love with your family, the poetry on your shelf. I am blessed to have learned to live in Italy and have been mountains richer because of it and this is my work, to live a quality life that respects all things.
Italy are some of the most ornate and breathtaking in the world. They’ve built entire town centres out of marble, for goodness sake. And they really do make wonderful clothes. Thumbs up for a bit of beauty to enhance all our cultural appreciation.
Expressing them selves fully is also a great asset to a life well lived. Italians love to talk as much with their hands as with their tongues and there may be something to the full expression of ideas. They don't bottle up their emotions, that full expression of feeling is terrific for your health, and might burn off some of the extra calories consumed with eating for about four hours a day.
The best things in life really do turn out to be free. Article Daisy Carlson Photo Alessio Lin @lin_alessio