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Dolce far niente

Il dolce far niente.  How could I have come so far in life and not heard such old Italian wisdom?

I have "the Milanese" to thank for enlightening me and sharing their common sense.   Over the past few days we've had the pleasure of two delightful travellers from Italy staying at our place as part of the wwoofer program.  Willing workers on organic farms is an international association that links up hosts with travellers who work for food and lodgings.   It's an inspired program, and when we occasionally welcome people into our home, not only do a lot of chores in the garden get ticked off, but we get the added bonus of learning so much from our visitors.  It's a mutual exchange of ideas, culture and inspiration.

For me, it's been such a pleasure to have good eaters to cook for everyday.  And while I hope our Milanese guests might have learnt a little about gardening, it's me who has been grateful for the exposure to their Italian ways.  Sharing buonissimo recipes, sitting down to proper meals every day, tips on serving pasta, arguments about the pope, loud joyous singing and the price of an espresso in Milan.  Even just hearing those dulcet Italian conversations in the garden has almost felt like a holiday.

The garden is looking bellisimo and I've learnt like new words like "scarpetta" a term for mopping up the juices from the bottom of the pan with bread.  I feel much less embarrassed by this greedy habit knowing that there is an actual word for it in Italian.

But really, it's il dolce far niente, that has captured my imagination.  The sweetness of doing nothing.  It's a lesson I could do well to learn.  After a hard day's work, unplug, switch off, finish the chores,  stop planning, stop thinking. To sit and be in the company of the ones you love.  Why don't we do that?  Everyday?  What don't we value the importance of doing nothing, instead we seem to value busyness?

To enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing. Il Dolce Far Niente. I'm going to write it on the wall as a reminder to myself to make time for a little pleasant idleness everyday.

Why don't you enjoy doing a little nothing too?

Ciao Ciao!


  1. Wise words at the end of a busy week Michelle!

  2. totally agree
    just to stop, sit, turn the enforced busy-ness off, be calm and recharge
    just wish i remembered it's ok to stop!

  3. I adore this sentiment, & love your idea to write it on the wall so you will see it! Wise words to live by...& I don't mind a reminder/excuse to sit for a while & do nothing.

    Sounds like you've had a wonderful week - wishing you a lovely weekend!

    Sar xx

  4. Oh yes yes yes

  5. Furthermore...I was taught these two sayings getting ready for Italy
    yours, dolce far niente
    and 'un attimo, per favore' just a second please (as you peruse the gelati bar)

  6. Well said and a good reminder. Thank you.

  7. Such the perfect sentiment...

  8. The sweetness of doing nothing - I love it. I am pretty excited about the word 'scarpetta' too. There is a word for that!

    I am re-reading Eat Pray Love at the moment and reading the first part where she is learning Italian in Rome. What a beautiful language. It sounds like you have had a fantastic week.


  9. I just love this Michelle. Everyday pleasant idleness is definitely something to aspire to.

  10. Wise words indeed. I recently met two friends I hadn't seen for ages - one told me how busy she was (implying how important she is) and the other said that she was concentrating on enjoying life with a wealth of happy stories to tell. No prizes for who I admired the most.

  11. I am writing that up in my kitchen - gosh that is something I have forgotten and need to make sure happens in our house again....

  12. words to live by indeed!

    it's going on my blackboard wall too.

    rachel xo

  13. Wonderful... Italian really is a beautiful language isn't it.

  14. Italiano...bellisimo!
    Thanks for your beautiful comment the other day and yes so funny I think of you often too.
    I always love this

  15. Hello! I'm on the BYW course. Is it ok if I look at your blog as part of the homework? :-)

  16. i LOVED practising 'il dolce far niente' & talking of the wonders of 'Scarpetta' until the wee hours of the morning the other night so very much.

  17. It sounds as if it is a wonderful time for you all. I love the idea of il dolce far niente so much too.

  18. visitng from Voices2013 - what a lovely blog! I love this italian typical! Your images are beautiful xx

  19. Oh, I love this! I think I might have to write it down and remember too. Glad that you had such an energising time with your Italian wwoofer's!