It’s been lovely to be able to travel again this year, and revisit some of our favourite haunts: in Sicily, in Rome and even a brief stay in Florence. These are all places we have been many times before, so we didn’t feel we had to rush around and see everything. So instead this year we did a lot more just wandering around, soaking up the atmosphere in the streets and alleyways, and doing nothing in particular.
It turns out the Italians have a phrase that captures this mood: dolce far niente, or the joy of doing nothing.
Of course we like to visit particular sites; it’s not a trip to Rome without a stroll around the Forum, and you can’t go to Florence without going to the Duomo. (Actually, it’s hard to avoid: it seems to be lurking around every corner.)
But I realised that it’s the in-between parts of the day, walking from one place to another, or to nowhere in particular, snapping the odd photo and occasionally stopping for an ice cream or Campari spritz, that are most enjoyable and restorative, and that still linger in my memory weeks or months later. And there’s a lovely book I’ve been reading too which has been inspiring me with more of this philosophy.