Living La Dolce Vita Is Easier Than You Might Think!

Living La Dolce Vita as a lifestyle is an opportunity to disconnect from those things that take attention away from what is important in your life you love.

Living La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita

What Is Meant By La Dolce Vita?

The phrase “La Dolce Vita” literally translates to The Sweet Life, but it is meant to describe living a good life, full of luxury, pleasures and indulgences. Some might consider the concept as hedonistic, shallow and materialistic, but others would view it as simply carefree.

What is meant by La Dolce Vita, as in the title of the 1960 film by Federico Fellini? The title is ironic in that the main character, played by Marcello Mastroianni, is a reporter for a gossip magazine who spends his evenings trying to document the public and luxurious lives of the rich and famous of Rome, but while living his own shallow and somewhat hedonistic lifestyle.

Why Is “La Dolce Vita” A Masterpiece?

The film is considered by many to be Fellini’s greatest work. It shows his genius by revealing imaginative and surreal images everywhere in and around Rome.

Living La Dolce Vita - Wine

Wine IS The Good Life For Me!

The opening scene in particular includes an extraordinary image of a statue of Jesus Christ being transported by helicopter over Rome, apparently on its way to be delivered to the pope. This opening scene was viewed by the church as something that should be condemned, so it was censored in Spain and Portugal.

La Dolce Vita was both a critical and commercial success, and it is widely remembered for Marcello Mastroianni jumping into the Trevi fountain with the visiting Hollywood diva Sylvia, played by Anita Ekberg. This scene might have been perceived as too outlandish, were it not for the tourists that have been inspired to do the same thing. Unfortunately, today jumping into the fountain is illegal and will result in a sizable fine and banishment from the area.

The film also marks a transition away from the Neorealism of post-war Italian cinema towards the Felliniesque style that is a unique combination of memory, dreams, fantasy and desire. It influenced contemporary and future filmmakers as well as coining the term: Paparazzi, which is the plural form of the name Paparazzo that Marcello used to refer to his photographer friend.

What Is La Dolce Far Niente?

Not unrelated to La Dolce Vita is La Dolce Far Niente. Again, a literal translation of this phrase is The Sweetness of Doing Nothing. It is one of my favorite Italian phrases because it describes an ability to appreciate the enjoyment that can come from doing nothing at all.

Living La Dolce Vita - Enjoy The Little Things

Enjoy The Little Things In Life

This might seem like a luxury that only a few can afford to experience, but in reality it describes a way to enjoy the little things in life, like doing what you love or eating a delicious meal.

The phrase was used in the 2010 movie Eat Pray Love, and it was used to describe how the protagonist, played by Julia Roberts, doesn’t know how to enjoy herself. This might seem like a quaint concept that is out of reach in today’s face-paced, modern life, but that is really the point. This concept of enjoying doing nothing isn’t limited to retirees or the filthy rich, but can and should be experienced by everyone.

How To Enjoy The Sweetness Of Doing Nothing

The stresses of life, especially in the US, are ever present. You spend most of your life working where you try to improve your time management, your efficiency at getting things done, your responsiveness to others and your ability to track to a schedule defined by others. Unless you take a minute and appreciate the little things in life, you are heading for burn-out, or worse.

living la dolce vita - Relax and Enjoy A Delicious Meal

Relax and Enjoy A Delicious Meal

Here are some examples that will help describe the ways to enjoy the subtleties of life:

  • If you have children, put down the phone and watch your child play. Appreciating the simple ways that children can bring enjoyment to their own life can also bring it to yours.
  • Instead of quickly throwing back a coffee before you leave the house on your way to the office, stop at a coffee shop with outdoor seating, slowly enjoy the coffee while you watch the world go by. If you are in Rome, doing it in front of a 2,000 year old monument adds even more perspective.
  • If your musical tastes are stuck in the past, mine are from the 90’s, build a playlist, get in your car, and drive around with the windows down cranking the tunes. Great in the spring, but even better in the winter with the heater on.
  • Take a quiet walk in the evening, preferably with a significant other, or if not, your dog.

These aren’t meant to be a roadmap for you, but I used them as examples that can be adapted to your lifestyle. None of these are expensive (unless you need to travel to Rome) but can be relaxing, enjoyable and reinvigorating.

Adding A Little “Oziare”

Oziare means to laze around, and it follows with the theme of this post, which is to do a little less. Lazing means spending time doing nothing or experiencing a period of inactivity. In itself, it shouldn’t have a negative connotation, but as I described above, in our society idleness is seen as a vice and the desire to do nothing can be a symptom of depression?

living la dolce vita - Lazing

Lazing – It’s A Dogs Life!

The act of doing something clearly dominates over free-time or even a moment of well-deserved rest. For the ancient Romans, otium had a variety of meanings, including leisure time in which a person can enjoy eating, playing, relaxing, contemplation and academic endeavors. It meant taking care of oneself with inactivity referring to the fact of not working and enjoying the time to grow spiritually, study and dedicate oneself to one’s person. 

On the contrary, the negotium was work and indicated the activities necessary for survival, which were however reserved for slaves. Today, otium and negotium have developed into opposite meanings. The value of idleness has been almost totally eliminated in favor of work and continuous commitments, at the fastest pace possible. Switching off to contemplate, to enjoy the time and experience a few moments of absolute rest is not bad, especially if you feel the need to do it to avoid burnout.

Embrace The Italian Lifestyle

This post was an attempt to encourage you to consider adopting more of an Italian lifestyle as I interpret it, but there is a lot more to do than simply nothing. In practice, doing nothing does not simply mean not working. It means disconnecting from all the activities that take your attention away from what is most important to you: You.

When you read a book, watch a TV series or scroll through the Instagram feed, you fill your time with activities that are fun but still don’t connect you with your body and don’t bring you into that state of absolute rest. Try it today!

Check out these posts to learn more about the Italian culture, and living La Dolce Vita, that Americans are obsessed with:

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