If there’s one thing we embrace to the ends of our pretty plates in Italy, it’s not just what we eat –– it’s how.
Laughing over limoncello on summer nights with new friends. Kneading dough together to make fresh orecchiette pasta. Donning our beach cover-ups for dinners overlooking spitting volcanoes.
These experiences are all rooted in embracing the Italian art of sharing.
Sharing a bottle of wine with loved ones and welcoming those you just met. Sharing meals and working your way through courses together, in spoonfuls. And sharing your time, which can get beautifully bendy in the right company.
But you don’t have to be born here to do all these things.
Here are some ways you can embrace eating the Italian way –– it’s slower, more intentional and we can all take a basil leaf from their playbook.
At lunchtime in Italy, you’ll be hard pressed to find any store willingly open –– lunchtime is sacred, and it’s a pause to the day.
Eating a panino over a laptop at work isn’t called lunch in Italy. (That’s called lunch in North America.)
Instead, their term for lunch break is pausa pranzo, which even sounds like well-deserved time away.
There are no hard and fast rules, but Italians are known to check out for one to three hours for lunch. Wanna book a meeting at noon? Good luck to ya!
When we take our incredible clients to spots on our Southern Italy tour and Sicily tour, pausa pranzo is the time when our fave memories are made: because we intentionally carve out this space for rest and delish food.
But if you can’t join us anytime soon, you can still fold a little Italian into your day.
How you can embrace pleasure at your pausa pranzo:
Take *intentional* time away from the workplace at lunchtime. Plug an hour for your lunch break into your calendar, whether you work at home or out of the house –– make those 60 minutes sacred and totally uninterrupted. When you sit down to eat, make it a real meal (not a hurried one) and allow for time to digest. Keep your devices out of sight. Sit in the sun when it’s warm outside. Make it the highlight of your day, because who’s really stopping you?
One of our favorite things about being social in Italy is how someone is always planning a meal for you to show up to.
No matter what day of the week it is, there’s bound to be a little sidewalk table or cushy chair planted right next to someone you adore ready for you.
Italians are all about creating opportunities for big, beautiful meals in groups.
It’s not a revolutionary idea, but it’s a feeling we love to replicate in our own lives and with our tour peeps.
You never quite know where the conversation is going to take you when, say, you’ve spent the day in the Sicilian countryside with new friends, and you’re sitting down for sunset aperitivi all cute n’ tanned in Taormina.
If you’re craving more time with the humans you heart in your life, we have a hot tip borrowed from our Italian friends that can change that –– without having to clean your home, check everyone’s calendar or stress out about money.
How you can embrace hosting your friends:
Steal this idea –– book a table at a restaurant for 12-20 people in advance, and send a text to a big group of your friends inviting them to join you! This is super popular in Italy because it gives everyone an excuse to try out a new place, see each other and there’s zero pressure on the host. You just take the initiative, and enjoy time with whoever can make it! So simple and efficient, which is just the way we like to do things.
While Italians love time with their friends, there’s one exception to their group hangs.
Every. Single. Sunday.
It’s impossible to overgeneralize and say everyone goes to mamma’s for Sunday lunch. But a good percentage of the population does.
Sunday lunch is a big deal in Italy –– cooked by their mamma or nonna. At around 12:30/1:00, piazzas will suddenly empty and the sounds of shoes on cobblestone will start to fade.
If you’re not Italian, it can feel like a weird vortex just sucked the locals out of the city. (Seriously –– don’t make any major plans on Sundays in Italy, because many things are closed)
These are the kinds of lunches where you have no choice but to eat what’s being served, even if you’re a kid. (And you have to bring your kids.) You have to bring your new partner, your cousin and anyone who can be considered family.
There’s something beautifully stubborn about this zero-budge tradition that exists in other cultures too, but it can easily be lost if you’re not able to see your family as regularly as you’d love to.
How you can embrace new family traditions:
Always ask your mom, dad, and grandparents how to make their recipes (if they’re the kind that cooked). If you live near family, suggest seeing each other once a week (or every other week) for a big group meal –– whether it’s someone hosting or going to a restaurant together. Just make sure you share a meal with them! Start a new standing tradition if you haven’t already. And if your family is spread all over the world, think of your chosen family in your city –– your besties, your cousin, your work wife –– and set up a recurring space and time to host them together.
Here’s the bottom line: sitting down to share time and food with others is something we often take for granted but can be embraced as the best part of our day or week.
We challenge you to implement one of these ideas over the next week, and let us know just how darn wonderful it was!
And if you want us to show you how it’s done –– in Sicily –– you’re in luck.
We’ve only got one Sicily tour date left for 2019:
October 12 – 22.
And we’ve got a seat at nonna’s table with your name on it.
Want more info?
Leave a comment below or book a call with Bianca here!
Images 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 by Leela Cyd