We have been looking forward to enjoy a lovely summer day at the Isola Del Giglio, an island in the Tuscan Archipelago. It celebrates Festa di San Mamiliano, where there were processions, dancing, food and even donkey race.
In true Italian hospitality, our Italian host mobilized his entire clan to drive us there, from the old town of Grosetto, just shy of 2 hours away.
Dash for the ferry
A leisurely drive ended as a dash to catch the 11.30am ferry at Porto Santo Stefano. The enthusiastic Sunday hordes to the island left little parking lots such that we had to circle the vicinity a few times.
The restless Singaporeans in the car were fervently watching our watches, while our friend and driver, Barbara, sorted out the parking. Unlike Singapore, the carpark at this beautiful port town had no ERPs and car park gantries, we had to gather enough coins to purchase parking ticket from a ticketing stand.
As we had anticipated, we missed our designated ferry and have to wait the next one. The worried and stressed left-behind bunch were greeted by our smiling and totally chilled host.
We settled in at a nearby café by the port while we wait for the next ferry due to arrive in one hour.
Let’s have cappuccino!
The next hour was to be our orientation to the concept of dolce far niente.
Dolce far niente literally translates to sweet (dolce) do (far(e)) nothing (niente). It refers to the essence of doing nothing and enjoying it.
We later messaged the earlier group on our status, concerned that they would have been waiting for us. To which they replied, “Take your time, we are eating gelatos in sloth mode”.
Cappuccino and tiramisus were the order of the hour, accompanied by the most gorgeous view of the port and great conversations. We didn’t have to wait till we land on Giglio island to enjoy each other’s company.
Our urban epidemic of can’t-stop and must-do
We have all contracted the disease where we can’t stop worrying and we must be doing something. It is an urban epidemic.
Even our relaxation is tied to some forms of activities.
The state of dolce far niente is a good disruption to our perpetual state of rush. Granted we may look like we have more productive and efficient, but our Italian friends are happier.
Somehow God has a sense of humor and allows incidents like this to teach us how to slow down, let go and enjoy doing nothing.
Embrace and enjoy
The truth in life is that there are many things which we can’t control. Hence, if we can’t do anything about the situation, why do we need to fight it?
Perhaps we should learn to embrace and enjoy the moment – connect with others or do something creative.
We need more dolce far niente!