1. Pick up fresh ingredients a few times a week.
There are fruit markets at every corner in Italy. Fresh foods without preservatives or steroids tend to go bad more quickly, but do I really have to convince you why they are the foods you should be choosing? Pick some groceries up on your way home and snack on some seasonal goodness, pomodori (tomatoes), carciofi (artichokes), arancia rossa (blood orange)… Buona!
2. Sit down and slow down for meals.
Do not ever, I repeat EVER walk and eat. Sit your pretty little self down and have a lovely conversation with a friend while you enjoy your freshly made meal.
3. Take time in the afternoon, every afternoon, to breathe more deeply and rest your mind a bit.
When I first arrived and learned that businesses closed from 1:00 – 3:00 PM, sometimes later, every day, it was a bit annoying. I think that culturally, Americans run errands on their lunch breaks. Productivity, people! But here, breaks are actually breaks- what a concept. I quickly left behind my American mentality and fully immersed and adopted this beautiful daily ritual. Siestaaaa. Enjoy.
4. Walk more.
Whether it’s the daily passeggiata, taking your dog that is some percentage of weenie out to go potty, or for your form of transportation, get out and walk a bit. For me, I had no other option for an entire year. Walking became mandatory and normal, sometimes dreaded. But, I walked. 6 miles a day was quite normal.
5. Don’t have milk past 11 AM.
Cappuccini are fine for the morning, preferably with a cornetto. But after 11 and after a meal, don’t even try to order a cappuccino. Just don’t. They feel very strongly about this. Milk in your tummy after a meal is a recipe for disaster. Why ruin a good thing going on in your tummy? Just stop it.
6. Piazza people watching.
It’s good to be around people. Get out, observe, let your mind wander.
There is something about gathering with people you love to go sit in the grass and de-stress. Some lay there enraptured in their own little love story, some play football, some read, sleep, or tell stories. It’s important to get some sun, to breathe fresh air, and to escape from the craziness of the city life.
I hope this list inspires you to enjoy the little things and live your life to the fullest, surrounded by people you love. Italians are a passionate people. They embrace the moment and those around them. Try to do that today.