dolce far niente

November 01, 2015

According to the Italian lifestyle bible that is Eat, Pray, Love, there's a saying in Italy: 
"Dolce far niente."

If Julia Roberts is to be believed, it literally means 'sweet doing nothing'. Whether Italians actually use this expression I don't know - I've made a mental note to ask next time I see one - but I kinda like it because it basically sums up my life in Italy. 

I think I've explained before that Italians don't really observe the concept of time like the rest of us do. I've learnt not to expect anything official to be done in less than two weeks, and a couple of hours must be added to every appointment time. Which is annoying if you're a control freak like me. 

But after a couple of months here, I've actually realised it's quite nice. It just means that Italians take life at a much slower pace - having a three hour lunch break means that instead of a quick sandwich at your desk, lunch can be a three course meal in the sun, with a bottle of wine. (And who could refuse that?) 

It also means that there's never a bad time for coffee with a friend, or an Aperol spritz and some aperitivi in the evenings. Unlike in England, there's no need to rush around anywhere - even I am now half an hour late for everything, meaning I am totally running on Italian time. 

So today, whilst I fully expected to be a hungover mess (in case you live under a rock, it was Halloween last night. More on that later), it was beautifully sunny and I decided that it would be quite nice to just go and and enjoy doing nothing. So I grabbed my book - Cinquanta Sfumature di Grigio (No judging please, it was €3 in the second hand shop) - and headed out for a coffee.  

I also realised that I've been here nearly two months and I've never once taken my camera out with me. So I took that too, and shall give you a little virtual tour of my hood. 

So this is the main square, Piazza Maggiore. Sundays are my favourite days in Italy, especially when it's sunny. Everyone is out for breakfast and lunch after church - it's a really family orientated day and gives the city a great atmosphere.

 Had a little caffe (and a people watch) here...
And then strolled along Via Rizzoli. At the weekends the main streets in Bologna are all pedestrianised, which makes it really easy to go out and explore.

These are the Due Torri, which are sort of Bologna's 'thing'. Apparently, the view's amazing from the top - but legend has it that if you're a student and you go up the tower, you won't graduate. So I haven't - yet.
Just when I thought the shopping couldn't get any better - & Other Stories opened on Friday!!

This is big news, as I have been telling anyone that will listen. I was so keen, I even went to the opening. It's three floors of heaven and I'm actually watching my pay check run off into the distance as we speak. 

The other thing about Bologna is: bikes. It's a big bike city - run (as is everything is Italy...) by an underground gang. You can buy a bike for €20 from a bloke in the square, but don't expect to have it more than a week before it's stolen back from you and sold to another unsuspecting student. 

Next to the main square, there's a little maze of small streets specialising in cured meats and cheeses - the shops are all amazing and make my mouth water just looking at them. I've had a plate of mortadella - a Bolognese speciality - and a glass of wine here before, and it was deeeeelicious.

There's also a range of other yummy things there too... 
Every building in Bologna is beautiful. Well, in the 'centre storico', which is where everyone wants to live - it's basically within the walls of the town.

All the buildings are as gorgeous as this...

The city is known as la rossa, la grassa e la dotta - meaning the red, the fat and the learned. Red, because all the buildings are red - and it's traditionally a very socialist part of the country (lucky me) - fat, because that is what I will become before I leave since the food is so fucking great - and the learned, because the university I go to is the oldest, continually running university in Europe. 

And it's magic. 

A note on Halloween

 I was kinda sad before I came here, because I love Halloween and had been told it wasn't a particularly big thing in Italy. So I made it one, and organised a big pre-drinks at mine before heading out to sample the creme-de-la-creme of Bolognese nightlife. 

It was pretty fun. I was Wednesday Adams, in case you were wondering. 

Can't believe it's November already - but the weather is looking really good here for the next week, so looking forward to getting out and enjoying it which it lasts! 

Ciao x

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