I’ve just returned from Italy with a couple interesting observations…
What was I doing in Italy?
I was a guest performer for a music festival in the quaint medieval village of Mondaino (“Mountain of the Deer”) where I performed some of my original solo piano music. I also had the opportunity to play with an Italian opera singer named Katja Natalini – a mezzo soprano with the Filarmonico Rossini. It was a magical experience.
Wine and Dine
During my stay, I got to enjoy lunches and dinners with some of my close Italian friends and their families. I quickly observed several things which got me thinking:
- Ask an Italian “Do you cook?” – they all seem to cook… and really enjoy it! There’s a genuine connection with food – including the local (organic) source where their food originates.
- During my meals, none of the Italians were using their cell phones or distracted by TV/Computer, etc.. they were conversing with each other (and me) over food and wine. The dining experience was a human matter – not the place for gadgets.
- Italians don’t eat fast. Evening meals can last several hours. Of course, there’s “Fast Food” throughout Italy – but “at home”, they enjoy meals (especially dinner) as a family – and at a leisurely pace.
Finding “La Dolce Vita”
These seemingly simple observations got me thinking about the phrase “La Dolce Vita” – which means “The Sweet Life”. I believe there’s something to be learned here. By making a connection with food (enjoying cooking and understanding where your food comes from), eliminating distractions (being “present”), and taking your time with your table-mates – THESE are vital ingredients to the Sweet Life. It’s not more “stuff”, it’s not more money, it’s not more “time” – it’s as simple as being in the company of people you care about, and sharing a meal.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic – please leave your comment below!