It’s 1PM on a Wednesday in Florence, and you’re on your way to pick up ingredients for lunch. Warm cobblestones under your feet. The smell of fresh espresso in the air. You feel like you’re truly living la dolce vita.

But your newly discovered deli, run by a charming couple in their 50s, has pulled down the blinds and hung up a new sign on their door: Chiuso.


Some frantic thoughts racing through your mind might include:

“Oh my god. How inconvenient.”

“What will I do now?”

“This is absolutely ridiculous.”

“On a Wednesday??”

“They must be losing so much money.”

“I miss my 24-hour grocery store!”

Take a breath, and a leaf out of their book. Over here, it’s pretty normal.

Italians often close their shops at midday, and in the morning on Sundays and Mondays — for riposo, or as you may know it better: siesta. But, it’s not all about a much-needed snooze in peak heat.

Contrary to what most travelers think, Italians don’t nap for three hours — they close their doors to go home, cook, eat with family, and rest a little.

And I think you should try it, too.

I know. A three-hour lunch break every day? To do that?

Hear me out.

You may not be able to steal away from the office for several hours, but you can choose to prioritize some key elements of the beloved siesta: food, flexibility and rest.

Here’s how you can sneak in a slice of siesta on the regular.

Eat in good company

Do you spend your lunch hour glued to your phone, quickly devouring a salad out of a plastic container? Or ordering takeout dinner on the couch at 9PM, five episodes into Orange Is The New Black?

Do this instead: text a friend who works near you to grab a sit-down meal at lunch, enjoy spontaneous cappuccinos with your colleagues, and invite family over for dinner every other week. Trust me, even those with the most demanding jobs in the world can find a way to make the time.

You’ll eat more (we’re big fans of that). You’ll laugh (that too). You’ll catch up more often with those who matter (and especially that). You’ll understand the meaning of la dolce vita.

And best of all, the food will taste so much better.

Go with the flow

We’re back in Florence, and you’re still fuming because all you wanted was some fresh mozzarella di bufala for your caprese.

Option 1: You can choose to get annoyed about the deli being closed at lunchtime, and wish that things worked here the way they do at home.

Option 2: You can embrace the easy-breezy traveler inside you, shift your mindset and accept that things don’t always go as planned.

So you might have to wait a few hours, or drown your sorrows in an extra-large helping at the only open gelato shop.

What’s the worst that could happen?

I absolutely love this quote, which sums it all up perfectly:

“You can’t control everything. Sometimes, you just need relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little, and just let life happen.” – Kody Keplinger

When we’re slaves to our iCal and set in our ways, it leaves less room for us to truly be open to other possibilities. You can go the supermarket with a grocery list, or… you can forget it at home, and see what happens.

Take a moment

What I love most about the siesta is its stubbornness. Its refusal to give up time for money. Its dedication to the art of pause.

We always like to say that we’re “too busy.”

But really, are we?

I dare you to be stubborn about finding time for you.

Take the morning off when your body is begging you to catch up on an extra two hours of sleep.

Run your errands on a weeknight, so you can fully enjoy your Sunday reading the new book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand.

Hire a cleaner to make your condo sparkle while you go out for brunch and mimosas with your girls.

Take a bubble bath and use every scented candle you’ve ever received over the years, just because.

In a nutshell, embrace the power of total wellness.

It’s the little things we do to take a second for ourselves that help us have happier, healthier lives. Aka la dolce vita.

And I’m a big believer in protecting your happy.

You don’t have go to Italy on vacation every year to finally take a break. But you can always shift your “busy” so that every choice you make serves you better, and means more time for fun. For rest. And delight.

After all, that’s what the siesta is all about: shifting priorities.

Choosing company instead of solitude. Laughter over frown lines. Sleep, not stress. Life is short, and how you choose to spend it should not deplete you.

Count us in as your personal cheerleaders.

Need more advice on how to embrace your happy? You’ll enjoy reading these articles:

So, are you ready to siesta?

Give us all the details!

I’d love to know how you’re going to free up more space for what matters. When’s the last time you broke your own rules a little bit? What are you going to do to inject a little more dolce into your vita? Share in the comments below.

5 Responses

  1. To get my fair share of dolce vita I am treating my daughter and myself to a birthday celebratory two weeks in Tuscany next week……1st week in an apt. in heart of Florence for cooking classes and shopping and next week based in a refurbished-to-authentic-charm hamlet called Borgo di Vagli near Cortona. I want to introduce her to every hill top town we can possibly drive to in one week. Oh yes, we will attend the Palio in Sienna also. Not bad, what do you think Bianca ?

    1. Ciao Beverly!
      Sounds like you’re one awesome mom with one lucky daughter in tow! There is so much to be discovered in that area, and you nailed it on the head with experiencing the Palio in Sienna — get ready for some action after a relaxing ride through the Tuscan countryside 🙂 We’ve written some great information about Florence in recent blog posts if you’d like to check out some of our tips!
      Happy travels.
      What to Do in Florence
      Top 20 Restaurants in Florence
      Things to Do in Florence

  2. All I can say is…amen! This is so true. We Americans wear “being busy” as a badge of honor to our own detriment (and sometimes to our own demise)! I can remember being in Italy the first time and being dumbfounded when the stores closed in the afternoon. Now it’s one of the times of day that I treasure most while in Italy. It’s one of the most special things about the Italian culture. Thanks for a great post!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Amy! Italy, and the slower ‘savor the small stuff’ culture, definitely rubs off on you if you allow it to! 😉

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