It’s been said that Italians know how to live. From the food to the surroundings and the lifestyle, everything seems to be geared towards living well. So if you have room for a couple more new year’s resolutions this year, here’s a way you can live the good life, Tuscan style.
Mangiare bene (Eat well)
Sure eating is a big part of life in Tuscany and Italy. Life really does revolve around it. With such a variety of delicious dishes and local ingredients, it’s not surprising. But it’s more than a superficial obsession. In Italy there’s also a mindfulness about food that’s healthy. Food is loved, recipes are constantly talked about, and ingredients are always seasonal and more often than not locally sourced.
People choose to shop for food at local markets, get to know who sells them their fruit and vegetables, and really appreciate the smell and the freshness. Olive oil is central to most of the meals, and portions are usually “giuste” – or rather – only as large as they need to be. It’s not fuel you’re eating. It’s something that makes life better. Your tomatoes might not be Italian, but your approach can be.
Be at one with Nature
If you have a look around in the rural areas of Tuscany you’ll notice something quite remarkable about the houses. There’s not that many of them. The landscape is generally respected, and new building restricted so that it’s the landscape that is dominant. There’re nature parks and reserves to enjoy.
Nature here has been nurtured and respected and it’s easy to feel at one with it. Take a drive through the forested hills in Casentino. Or a walk through the countryside in Val d’Orcia, where every single cypress tree is treated like king. Wherever you are, get inspired by nature and appreciate the bits of nature that have still been left untouched.
Take a “Passeggiata”
Walking is good for you. This we know. But have you ever taken a passeggiata? Loosely translated this is a “stroll”, usually with others. The aim isn’t to walk fast or to exercise, it’s to take some air, enjoy the surroundings and interact with people who are around you. And the aim isn’t to do it once in a while, but regularly. And while you’re at it, wear your best smile.
Close your eyes in the sun
Ok, so not everyone has access to the Italian sun. But while it’s there, the sun needs to be enjoyed. So if there are a few rays where you are, make like an Italian, take a chair outside and plonk yourself in it for a few minutes. Close your eyes and let the sun regenerate you. And not at midday.
While tourists are sweating on bicycles through the Tuscan countryside in the noonday sun, you’ll notice the locals are more than likely sitting quietly in the shade. In the summer, the morning or afternoon sun is what you want. And relax!
Talk, chat, say more
Italians are expressive. They will talk through things and let others know how they are feeling. We hardly need to tell you how healthy this is. If you’re someone that bottles things up or closes themselves off from people, take a lesson from your Latin cousins and just talk more. Call someone for no particular reason. Tell someone immediately if they’re bothering you. And of course let the people you love know you do, often. Hand gestures are optional.
Italians appreciate beauty. You can see this in the cities of the Renaissance and the modern designs classics they have created. Of course you don’t need to be living in Italy to appreciate beauty yourself.
Inspiring buildings, a glorious sunset, a river view; somewhere near you there’s always something extraordinary whose beauty can inspire you and guide you to higher thoughts. It was Dante himself who said “Beauty awakens the soul to act.”