Seven Steps Toward La Bella Vita (In the “Real World”)

This girl has got a real, full time job coming up in the fall. HOLLA. When I created Roam + Golightly I knew that, of course, this would be a source to document my travels BUT I also knew that its purpose solely was a platform for me to maintain a sense of creativity in the midst of the “real world.” As our time in Rome is coming to a close, I’ve realized that I am dead set on integrating la bella vita ( literally translated as “the beautiful life”) in small ways. Because here’s the deal guys, Italians just know how to live right. These are sincerely simple and independent tactics to appreciate life, Italian style…

Seven Steps Toward La Bella Vita (In The "Real World")

1. Believe in the beauty in your life. More than anything else, adopting la bella vita is truly appreciating the goodness of your immediate surroundings. So, you have a nice house? No, you have a wonderful resting place that provides you a sense of peace! You make a good pie? No, you make the world’s greatest pie and it’s meant to be savored accordingly (I’m talking to you, Mama Topp)! Believe in what is beautiful in your life and take pride in the good stuff.

2. Midday espresso. No guilt or shame if you’re feeling a midday slump at work. Go out and get yourself a cup of pure, delicious energy. Okay, okay… if you’re not into espressos, I’ll let it slide and say go for a cappuccino. Either way, sip it slowly in a tiny tea cup. Extra credit: add a fresh pastry into the mix.

3. Eat a long and late dinner. Genuinely allow yourself to sit and savor your meal. No rushing to watch primetime television. In fact, no television at all. Simply sit, enjoy a fulfilling conversation with whoever is joining you (or even if you’re by yourself… put on some great music) and let the time pass as it will. Italian meals typically last an average of two hours. No joke.

4. Notch your style up a tad. Just a tad! For Italians, dressing is a matter of personal pride and expression of personality. So instead of a tee and shorts, slip on an easy dress or button down that makes you feel like the interesting and artistic person you are. Exchange your Old Navy flip flops for a nicer sandal, or if you’re feeling adventurous, wedge heels. Go for it in small, refined ways.

5. Stroll. La passeggiata is the art of taking a walk in the evening, and I can’t tell you how many adorable old Roman men practice this ritual every day. Go out and walk along the prettiest view you can find, taking in the weather and the people passing, but make sure to go at a pace that is slow and reserved. The purpose here is to enjoy your surroundings, not to get a workout!

6. Create conversation. Italians have a passion for creating conversation. Italians of all ages engaged in animated discussions anywhere and everywhere with friends and strangers alike. Take time to strike up a few words with your barista in the morning, or the co-worker who you haven’t had a chance to chat with yet. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth or serious thing. Say hi and see where it goes. You’d be surprised how open some people can be once they’re approached!

7. Love your family. It’s said that the institution that runs Italy is not government, but family. Italians are closely tied to their families, always. Call up mom, take your cousins to lunch or even research your family’s origins. Be present (really present) for family functions and congratulate your loved ones on their accomplishments, big or small. Be their supporters and cheerleaders. Being raised in a very Italian extended family, I know how amazing it feels to have a team of people who have your best interests at heart. Be proud of where you come from!

Do you have any other suggestions on integrating la bella vita into the “real world?” I’d love to hear it. Comment below and let’s shake off those 9-5 blues together!