Published by The Florentine.
After staying in Florence for a while, it’s natural to inadvertently return home with a set of new customs that don’t quite fit into your home culture — perhaps answering the phone with a curt “pronto!” or greeting confused friends with kisses on the cheek. And then there are the customs that don’t come quite as naturally but that you still try to integrate into your everyday life, if not for any other reason than because you simply like doing them. I happened to do a lot of the latter, because living in Italy made me realize how stressful, fast-paced and altogether unhealthy my American lifestyle could be. Here are some of my top takeaways from Florentine culture that made me feel healthier, happier, and just a little more Italian that I was before.
Turning everyday moments into experiences
On one of my first days in Florence, my friend and I were walking out of a local alimentari when she asked if we could sit down. As we settled into a bench alongside the street, I looked over at her expectantly. Instead of readjusting her shoes or searching in her bag for something, she simply gazed out at the street, smiling as she watched the passersby.
When I asked her if everything was okay, she smiled at me. “Of course,” she said with a shrug. “I just wanted to take a moment.” When she noticed my surprise, she added, “Americans never take the time to soak everything in.”
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