Saturday, 23 June 2018

Dolce far niente ........... The sweetness of doing nothing

Now the Italian saying Dolce far niente, which means the sweetness of doing nothing perfectly sums up those idle times, when rather than feeling guilty, you just embrace the moment. 

Better still if the sun is shining and you have taken yourself off to a cafe or bar, chosen to sit outside and  sip an aperitif and watch as all around you people busy themselves.

We were in Intra on Lake Maggiore and having taken a leisurely trip on the ferry, it was our turn to look for a cafe where we could sit and do nothing.

Along the way we encountered a couple sitting on the stone steps that led down to the water, listened to a lazy and occasionally animated conversation about tiramisu and ended up at the cafe in front of the war memorial gazing out across the waters of the lake.

I suppose we could have gone looking for some historic and interesting places which no doubt would have been very educational, but instead we joined the other customers at that cafe by the memorial.

And picking up on that conversation about tiramisu we talked about the food of the south from Naples where Simone and Rosa grew up which led on to a discussion about and my favourite Sicilian salad made with slices of orange and tiny bits of onion, mixed with olive oil and oregano.

There will be those who having overheard the conversation will snort and dismiss us as pretentious and not to be taken seriously.

But on reflection they are the sort who would never dream of spending time just doing nothing, and so that “sweetness” will never enter their lives and their loss will be that bigger one which is all about slow conversations that twist and turn, go off at a tangent and rarely return to the point they started.

That said, in the course of that wibbly wobbly exchange comes a few jokes, a bit of new knowledge and brings you all, that bit closer.

Added to which  the coffee will be good, the aperitifs even better, and after a suitable passing of time, there will be new things to order, and lots more to talk about..

Location; Intra, but really anywhere

Pictures; dolce far niente, Intra, 2018, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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