Southern Italy – La Dolce Vita

I recently learned two phrases in Italian that I fell in love with:

La dolce vita

Which means the “The sweet life” and:

Il bel far niente

which means “The beauty of doing nothing”.

I learned about these phrases unfortunately not from an Italian on the street or some new friend I made, but from a book Sara is reading called “Eat, Pray, Love”. The goal of all the hard work, sacrifice, etc is to reach the state of doing nothing and enjoy every bit of it. It’s different than being lazy, to me it’s really an opportunity to enjoy absolutely anything; be it sitting in front of the fire, reading a book, just taking a walk or doing nothing really.The Italians swear by these phrases and you can tell by their culture and way of life. While we were shopping for our leather jackets, Sara was making fun of my belly and asking for a bigger size of jacket. She explains to the seller: “La dolce vita” while she rubs my belly. The seller agrees and gives a reassuring smile. Of course, that’s how it’s supposed to be!

We arrived yesterday to our three night getaway in the southern coast of Italy. Two friends of ours, Kyla and Caleb, met up with us in Napoli and we drove down the coast to Sorrento. We rented a beautiful house surrounded by olive trees on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Great job Kyla for finding the house!

After having yet another amazing pizza for lunch, we go meet with Michele (the owner of the house) to get the keys of our new house. There is a hammock, various lounge chairs in three different patios and a living room with the most stunning view. To get to town we must drive through a single lane windy road.

It is in this house that I will practice La dolce vita and Il bel far niente.

After settling in, we decide to go to the market as we need to stock up for 3 days. We buy tons of fresh vegetables, fish, cheese, bread, and of course wine. We arrive home and setup a nice fire on our wood stove to warm up, start the grill, and Caleb makes us bellinis [like a mimosa but with peach juice]. We sit and start reading our own books, some of us take a nap, while enjoying the sound of wind hit our windows and watch the sunset.

 Afterwards, Sara and I start preparing the fish with some perejil, garlic, lemon, and sea salt. Caleb and Kyla made some brushettas, grilled artichoke hearts and prepared a delicious salad with fresh cheese. Needless to say we had an amazing dinner with tons of wine. We finished with Caleb and Kyla’s masterpiece of a cake topped with caramelized apples for dessert.

Today in the morning, I wake up and decide to write a few posts that I’ve been missing. Afterwards I decide to make breakfast for the group and this is when I am in pure happiness [and I hate to cook]. I select vegetables from our veggie plate. With the sun rays I can enjoy the vivid colors of a bright red tomato, pure white onion, dark orange carrots, light brown potatoes, and green lettuce. I start peeling potatoes [something I’ve never done in my life] and cut some onions. There is something satisfying about cutting potatoes. Each stroke up the knife and removal of part of the skin brings a smile to my face. I laugh at myself for thinking this is satisfying but I let it be. I continue to chop some onions and tomatoes, whip some eggs, shred some cheese, and start the fire.

I never understood that cooking was some form of meditation but today I was able to experience it. I hope that when I return to my normal life, I’m able to enjoy the small things in life and continue to live la dolce vita regardless of where I am.

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