Slow Travel - The Way To A Country's Heart (Especially Italy)
More time, less destinations > less time, more destinations
If you are interested in really getting to know a country; its cuisine, its culture, its people, then running around from place to place, spending just one night in a town before hoping a train to the next destination isn't the best way to do it. Not only is spending more time in one location easier and less stressful, but it helps you build connections to a place.
The growing movement towards "slow travel," which emphasizes taking the time to fully immerse oneself in a destination, to savor the local flavors, and to appreciate the beauty of the journey itself, has begun to take root amongst lovers of travel and culture.
Slow travel is about more than just slowing down one's pace. It's a mindset, a way of traveling that emphasizes quality over quantity. It's about taking the time to really get to know a place, to explore its hidden corners and meet its people. It's about taking the scenic route instead of rushing from point A to point B. It's about staying in one place for longer than a few days and really experiencing it, rather than just ticking it off a bucket list.
Why Italy is perfect place to slow travel
Italy is a largely diverse country with many different cultures, dialects, landscapes, and cuisines.
Many first time travelers to Italy may think they have to do a world wind grand tour of the country - imagine this scenario:
Landing in Venice so you can take the obligatory gondola ride through the canals, then heading to Lake Como for a boat tour and a peak at George Clooney's compound, then exploring the 5 towns of Cinque Terre for a day before rushing down to Florence to see the Statue of David and follow a group tour around as your guide waves a flag and looks for stragglers, then off to wine tasting in the Tuscan countryside, some carbonara in Rome with a visit to the Vatican and the Colosseum perhaps, and a couple Romantic nights on a cliffside hotel in Positano, maybe a visit to Sicily to live La Dolce Vita in Taormina with an arancino in one hand a cannolo in the other. Train after train after train. All before running back to Milano to take a photo in front of the Duomo and catch a flight back to the States. -- Whoah. That sound like a lot.
Lets take a breath.
After a trip like that, most likely you'll end up feeling rushed, herded like a sheep, and that you never really got a good sense of any of the places you visited. All you'll have to remember your trip by are the sweaty, rushed selfies you took in front of the Pantheon, and a couple crumpled up receipts for the cured meats they took away from you at customs on the way back home.
But did you really experience Italy? On paper you did. You checked off all the boxes, saw all the sites. But does the smell of Capri lemon groves linger on your nose? Did you even stop to smell those lemons? Did you talk to any locals? Did you learn about the history of the wine you drank in haste at that vineyard in Montepulciano?
Slow travel allows for a deeper understanding of local culture. By spending more time in one place, travelers can learn about the customs, traditions, and way of life of the locals. They can explore the local markets, try regional dishes, and even pick up some of the language. This kind of cultural immersion is impossible when rushing from place to place.
In addition, slow travel allows for a more relaxed and rejuvenating experience. Rather than feeling rushed and exhausted, travelers can take the time to truly unwind and recharge. They can spend lazy afternoons in a piazza, sip espresso at a local cafe, or stroll through a picturesque town. This slower pace can be incredibly restorative, both physically and mentally. This, to us, is the true purpose of a vacation.
How to Slow Travel in Italy
In Italy, slow travel can take many forms. It might mean spending a week in a small Tuscan town, exploring the vineyards and olive groves of the surrounding region, or taking leisurely bike rides through the countryside. A quick day trip into Florence or Siena or Bologna can give you a taste of the city and all it offers, but then you get to head back out to your paradise in the country.
In another scenario, slow travel might mean renting a villa on the Amalfi Coast and spending long days soaking up the sun and sea, exploring the little towns and islands along the coast and perhaps visiting a couple farms to see how how mozzarella or limoncello are made.
It might mean staying for an extended time in a historic city center like Rome and wandering the cobblestone streets, discovering the hidden gems around every corner. Finding the best food in the city, meeting locals, and discovering what life there might actually feel like.
The Environmental Impact of Slow Travel
Beyond all its other benefits, slow travel is also better for the environment. By taking fewer flights, trains, and cars, and staying in one place for longer, travelers can significantly reduce their carbon footprint. Plus, by supporting local businesses and avoiding mass tourism, they can help preserve the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the places they visit. Slow travel stands in stark contrasts to the cruise ship industry for example, which has a reputation of being a large detriment to local, historic communities. Did you know that the average dollar amount spent by a cruise ship tourist during a daytime excursion to a coastal town is $0?!
Whatever form it takes, slow travel in Italy has the potential to be a transformative experience. By embracing the slower pace of life and fully immersing oneself in the local culture, travelers can enjoy a richer, more meaningful travel experience. And in a world that often moves too quickly, that is a true luxury. If you are looking for a dream trip to Italy, let the travel experts at Isarti Travel design a perfect vacation for you using local expertise!