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Embrace slow living on your next Italian getaway

Celebrate slow living for a chance to experience mindfulness and il dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing. | By Paul Oswell | June 28, 2023

There’s a phrase in Italian that we can all appreciate in this busy world: "Il dolce far niente," which means the sweetness of doing nothing. It can be equated to the slow living movement, self-care or simply stopping to smell the roses, but it means so much more. It’s a lifestyle and one that should be celebrated. So, here are some of the finest ways to embrace rest and rejuvenation in Rome and Chia.

  • Eat well and slowly: Italian cuisine is best enjoyed with mindful food choices over a leisurely lunch or extended dinner

  • Sit still for a while: Even if you have a full sightseeing schedule, take a breath and appreciate the surrounding art and culture

  • Linger in the outdoors: Parks and beaches are there for you to rest and recuperate, and Italy has some of the best

Couple at Tiepolo Lounge, with Bartender Mixing Drinks in Foreground
Embrace moments of tranquility in Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel's sophisticated surroundings.

Eat well, and slowly

Italian food is globally revered. Cuisine of this caliber deserves to be savored — slowly. Ease into your Italian getaway with a coffee at Rome’s Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè, which is close to the Pantheon, or try the century old Sciascia Caffè 1919 in the upscale Prati neighborhood, famous for its high-end boutiques, cocktail lounges and gourmet restaurants.

Italy has its own dining etiquette — never drink cappuccino after noon, don’t grate cheese onto risotto — but the slow food movement brings another level of appreciation to Italian dining. Looking to connect guests with local produce and its providers, slow food values mindful choices? In Rome, visit D’Oro in the centrally located Monti neighborhood. The popular eatery focuses on Tuscan and Umbrian dishes, such as wild boar with chocolate and gnocchi with lamb and tomato sauce.

You can also stop and contemplate your place in history as you dine next to ancient Roman walls at Flavio al Velavevodetto, with their collection of natural wines and a menu of Roman classics such as carbonara (egg, cheese, cured pork and black pepper pasta) and cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta).

You’ll want to take time basking in Rome’s first and only three-Michelin-starred restaurant, La Pergola at Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, or perhaps catch up over the hotel’s famed Sunday brunch by Chef Fabio Boschero.

If your travels take you to Sardinia, you’ll find an authentic, trattoria-style experience at Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia, which has a choice of idyllic dining spots such as Sa Mesa and La Terraza. Local produce gives unique flavor to all dishes, including the freshest seafood.

Vatican Gardens at daytime
Take a moment for reflection as you explore Italy's incredible history and beauty.

Sit still for a while

To really appreciate the peacefulness of an Italian summer, it pays to be still. Sightseeing is all well and good, but it’s easy to burn out, so step back and decompress for a while.

The good news is that in Rome, you can do this while you absorb the magnificent culture. Pick a bench inside the Villa Borghese, for example, and reflect upon the incredible ceiling frescoes, or any of the centuries-old paintings and sculptures by artists such as Caravaggio and Bernini. If modern art excites you, then the city’s National Gallery of Contemporary and Modern Art has plentiful places to stop and watch the world go by.

There’s a specific satisfaction to just sitting and watching master artisans at work. Allow the concierge at Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel to arrange a visit with a local master cobbler or a private tour of the Vatican gardens and Sistine Chapel. Art lovers will also appreciate that the hotel is home to more than a thousand pieces of art dating back to the 14th century, and guests can take an exclusive tour of the hotel’s private art collection with the resident art historian.

In Sardinia, the concierge at Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia can organize another display of Italian expertise for you, in the form of a private tour of one of the Sardinia’s prestigious wine estates such as the organic vineyards of Pala Vini or the serene Sella & Mosca winery, which was founded in 1899 and produces exceptional wines to this day.

couple lounging outside
Manifest the sweetness of doing nothing as you unwind on your elevated Italian escape.

Linger in the outdoors

Your Italian summer getaway should largely take place outdoors, where you can picnic, sunbathe or just people-watch to your heart’s content. Find a tranquil green space in Rome, joining locals as they wander the scenic Pincio Gardens at Villa Borghese, or bask in the aroma of the fuchsia bougainvillea hedges at Colle Oppio park with its views of the Colosseum.

The hilltop Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel is close to one of the city’s best green spaces, the Parco della Vittoria, just on the edge of the foothills of Monte Mario. The staff at the hotel’s celebrated restaurant La Pergola can prepare a world-class picnic basket, and you can even commandeer the services of a personal butler so that you don’t have to lift a finger.

Equally tranquil, Sardinia is rightly famous for its beaches. At Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia, you are enviably located close to the wonderful golden sands of Monte Cogoni beach, where you can lounge all day taking in the fresh salt air of the Mediterranean.

Both properties boast spas where every relaxational whim can be accommodated. Cavalieri Grand Spa Club has a decadent interior with marble columns, while at Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia’s spa you can melt into the water massage pool, looking over the Bay of Chia, while scents of strawberry tree, juniper and myrtle waft over you.

Wherever you choose to vacation in Italy, one thing is true: Our non-stop lives could all benefit from a week or two of il dolce far niente. Rome and Chia both have a long list of sightseeing musts but be sure to schedule some time for complete relaxation. After all, it’s important to stop and appreciate the good life — especially when you’re on vacation.

Paul Oswell is a British award-winning journalist and published travel author based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. His books include Bucket List North America and The Great American Road Trip, as well as New Orleans' Historic Hotels. He has also been an editor of and contributor to several guide books/editions published by Dorling Kindersley (owned by Penguin), including New Orleans, Florida, Orlando, Los Angeles, California and The United States. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure (both of which he has written multiple online travel guides for) and The Guardian, as well as dozens of international newspaper and magazine titles, and inflight magazines for major airlines.

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