10 Ways to Live La Dolce Vita (The Italian Sweet Life)

10 Ways to Live La Dolce Vita  (The Italian Sweet Life)

Ah, la dolce vita, the sweet life. The Italians know all about it. From the sun-dappled Mediterranean seas, to the rugged mountains of the North, opportunities abound to be filled up with all that Italian life has to offer. The concept of the sweet life can be traced back in Italian history 2,500 years. Romans lived a level of sophistication in life that was unmatched. 

During Earl Grey month, we are celebrating some of the finer points of the Italian approach. Did you know that Earl Grey features bergamot, a citrus grown only in Italy? Its bright and inviting aroma lend its citrus sweetness to the flavor profile of the tea.

Let’s look at ways we can capture the essence of “la dolce vita” in our everyday lives.

Slowing Down

Italians have an evening ritual that I find absolutely charming and wholesome. In the evening, after dinner is finished, the population will head out of doors, to the cobblestone roads and alleys, and simply have a walk with friends and family, or even by oneself.


The pastime is called “passeggiata” and it creates space to transition from the busyness of the day to a more relaxed energy. You can hear cheerful chatter and see smiles that radiate warmth. It’s a time to socialize with friends and family, and to settle the delicious food that was enjoyed for dinner. 

Dress to Impress

The Italian ideal for nicely tailored clothing is to be admired. I remember walking behind a group of elderly women in Rome, and they were dressed to the hilt, high end coats and jaunty hats, jewelry, heels and stockings. The wafting of their perfume was intoxicating.

While we have a more casual approach in the States, generally speaking, I notice that when I choose what I wear intentionally and with care, that I feel grounded and comfortable, and more present. We can take the concept of “dress to impress” and translate it to those garments that make us feel the most confident in our personality. 

Afternoon Tea

While the Italian way is generally to take a break for a very tiny coffee (espresso) in the afternoon, maybe with a sweet biscuit on the side, we tea drinkers can adopt this idea of taking time for ourselves each day, breaking for a cuppa tea and a moment of self reflection. 

The day can be sweeter when we choose not to rush and to enjoy the tender moments we set aside, even for a brief interlude. 

Enjoy the Freshness

Many times, you will find the freshest of foods, spices, ingredients of all kinds in the open air markets of local towns and villages. Your eyes will delight in the colors, tastes and textures of farmer’s markets everywhere, and the boisterousness of the vendors calling out to you to try their bountiful treats is a scene in and of itself. 

Such is the way of “la dolce vita”, to be able to enjoy the fruits of labor straight from the farm to your table. 

Food is love

Amore! Food is love in Italy. Preparing food for others, enjoying food with others, and talking about food anytime. Even the displays of pastries, meats, and cheeses in the windows of local shops will warm your heart. 

Creating a beautiful meal for yourself or a loved one can be done as an act of love.  Especially for ourselves. Too many times, I find myself rushing to make a meal and then eat it without taking time to honor the experience and to really slow down to enjoy it. Eating a meal can be a ritual of self-care, being mindful of what we choose to eat, and the space in which we choose to enjoy it. 

Talk With Locals

When out adventuring in the world, one of the greatest ways to get a deeper understanding for the local life is to stop and spend time with the residents of the area. Each conversation will unfold a new idea to you about what you might want to see or do in the region, or it may simply spark a feeling of excitement in your heart. 

Especially in towns and cities where people have lived a long time, and their families have inhabited for generations, you will feel the connection to their history and their passion for where they live in their stories. 

Everyone is Family

The idea that anyone can be family, by blood or by our choosing, is a very sweet way to live life. Italians love to gather family around themselves and celebrate all events big and small. Even if it is just a regular day, it’s a great day to surround ourselves with the joy and laughter our closest humans can bring to us. 

Be In the Moment

There are so many ways to be in the moment in Italy, and some of them have to do with simply stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. Each nook and cranny, each turn of a cobblestone street, each jovial conversation being had in the native language, provides an opportunity to stop and take in the experience. 

The sweet life is about being present. One of the reasons I love to travel, and especially to Italy, is because I’m naturally in the moment so often. I’m not thinking about work, or bills, or upcoming obligations. I’m just soaking in the wonder of the foreign world around me and its inspiring sights and sounds. 

Create With Passion

No matter what it is - food, wine, art, conversation, love - Italians create with a passion for it all. The sweet life is about allowing creation to be fun and joyful, and to allow what wants to come to life, come to life. 

Do you have a crafty project you have been considering? Set aside some time, put on the kind of music that makes you feel alive, and lean into the flow of letting that sweet artistic vibe out to play. It just might make space for your next masterpiece to come through you. 

Honor Our Elders

If there is anything the Italians know how to do, it is to show respect to those generations that have come before them. There are many families that choose to live inter-generationally and this comes with a blessing for all of the members involved to learn from one another, and to build a unique bond. 

Part of living the sweet life is recognizing the wealth of knowledge and life experience our elders have, and that we can glean from their experience. If you don’t have an elder in your life that you connect with socially, volunteer opportunities abound for connecting to seniors in the community. 

Gratitude For All

Lastly, la dolce vita is about giving thanks for all of the abundance around us. Life is challenging and it offers us lessons we sometimes don’t want to learn, and other times, it is as cushy and comfortable as an oversized, puffed-up arm chair. 

Taking time each day to say thanks for all that life is, and will be, is an offering from your heart to be able to recognize that no matter what happens, this is a special time to be alive and you are a special human being. 

Want to add some tasty “dolce vita” to your own life? Try this smooth creation from the Plum Deluxe recipe box, Earl Grey Panna Cotta with Mocha Whipped Cream. Pair it with our iconic Mindful Morning Tea Blend, the perfect earl grey.

Tasha Bigelow

Tasha Bigelow is a native Californian who loves animals, road trips, and quotable quotes. An avid observer of her surroundings, she writes about her thoughts on navigating life on her blog, positivelytasha.com.
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