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
Totally gonna steal the idea of booking a big table at a local eatery especially now that it is warm in NE. Traveling to Italy on 6/18 – a follow up to a fabulous 3 week trip(solo) last year where your guides were a big help. Headed to a few towns in Tuscany, Umbria and then onto Rome. My daughter will participate in a archeology dig in Mompeo after our trip.
Hi Bianca – I am blessed to have my family close enough to where I live. My sister has made a new tradition and we all meet at her home on Sundays for dinner. My mom lives in the same home so sometimes we have the four generations all together! These are some special times and the group keeps growing. ??
I am so looking forward to the Southern Italy tour this fall!!
Felicia Borzelino- NYC
Yes same. Me and my family gather one day a week every week for dinner and have been for white a while now. But being newly single I want to start some of my own traditions and I love the idea of booking a table for friends whoever can show great!
Love it I was just at
Garibaldina Societa with friends and we were Talking about why we get together.
I often eat alone but I prepare and experiment with lots of different foods. I make most of what I eat from scratch and I even make my own scratch. I enjoy many happy hours making a mess in my kitchen using fresh ingredients and creating different dishes – though I love eggplant but didn’t really like eggplant soup unless there is lots of tomatoes and spicy lentils in it. Last week I had lots of ginger and a bag of organic lemons and rhubarb from my sister’s garden. I made a huge pot of lemon ginger dried fruit rhubarb compote – I squeezed and froze the extra juice, I made spiced stem ginger in syrup and non-crystallized ginger and crystallized ginger and a strawberry compote with a ginger lemon sauce. Today was twelve jars of different nut butters of which I had soaked and roasted the nuts and seeds. I eat enough for three and always make enough to give to sisters and friends and I go out at least three times a week to listen to music, dance, and socialize with others. I try to be glutton free but I usually eat most of what I make.
It all looks wonderful.
Thanks for helpful share about cities living guides in Italy. I am a realtor in Minnesota, many of my friends has been to Italy before..so, I hope to have an opportunity to be there someday.