Many of us have had the fortune of travelling and even living in various parts of the world and yet, for those of us who have visited or lived in Italy, it will always hold a special place in our hearts. What is it about Italy that has us obsessing over living like a local?
I lived in Italy for many years as a student, intern, professional and an adventurer. Most weekends, I would travel to various cities and get to know the locals. I travelled all over Italy while living there and one important lesson stood out: Italians really know how to live!
It’s not just that the pace can be more relaxing or that you are surrounded by some of the most beautiful architecture in the world (although that really helps), it’s that Italians really enjoy every moment that many of us take for granted. Take a simple cup of coffee—there are so many ways to enjoy it. Sit outside at a street café, enjoy it at the bar, catch up with friends or even your local barista—any way you drink it, it’s social time for you to enjoy not only your coffee but also your friends, the weather, a moment to relax and people watch. The same is true for a glass of wine or prosecco during an aperitivo. It’s not just about the delicious wine or prosecco. The aperitivo is time for socializing and catching up with friends; it’s about taking a moment and creating a transition between the work day and your dinner and evening. It’s much more than just a drink—it’s a ritual.
Furthermore, Italy is all about quality not quantity. If you people watch (and who doesn’t in Italy!), you will see everyone dressed nicely or at least trying to. One of the things you will notice is the quality of everyone’s clothing and shoes. Even if finances don’t permit two closets full of clothes, the Italian will always prefer quality or quantity. Beautifully tailored jackets, a silk scarf, a nicely tailor skirt or pair of pants are essentials. Also notice the leather goods—from the shoes to the belts, leather in Italy is beautiful! Mostly, Italians will always have a nice pair of shoes, belt, watch or a purse. Italians take pride in the way they look—not too overdone but definitely full of good taste.
In Italy, it’s the intangibles that really matter. A strong cup of coffee spent catching up with friends, people watching, feeling good about yourself, feeling connected to others, spending time outdoors, enjoying a delicious aperitivo to transition from day to evening, ending your evening with dinner and wine with a group of friends or family. All these things are part of the Italian way of life and should you be fortunate enough to experience, make you feel like a local living La Dolce Vita!