Local experiences are a crucial element of Slow Travel. Women making pasta. Editorial credit: ermess / Shutterstock.com

Slow Travel: Experience Italy from a local perspective

Travel in Italy

The Slow Food movement was born in Italy; designed to counteract the fast-food-rollercoaster of the world it celebrates local culinary traditions.  Slow Travel followed in its footsteps.

From Slow Food others grew that share its manifesto – “Let us defend ourselves against the universal madness of ‘the fast life’ with tranquil material pleasure.”

What is Slow Travel?

Slow Travel is just as it says. Rather than rushing from landmark to monument and art gallery, it’s about fostering genuine connections with local people. It’s starting to understand their way of life, their traditions and the world in which they live.

It’s also about travelling in a sustainable fashion. As an advocate of train travel, I have to say it really is a great way to get around the country, hopping on and off as the mood takes. (A country Interrail pass is great for flexibility.)

That doesn’t mean you need skip the sights all together, just take them at a more gentile pace than is the norm.

How do I Slow Travel?

It’s like asking how long a piece of string is. It all depends on how much time you have and what interests you.

By the way, it’s a myth that you need months to slow travel. A long weekend learning to cook pasta and then enjoying the fruits of your labour is a great example of Slow Travel.

Here’s a quote from Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slow.

“The Slow Movement is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. It’s not about doing everything at a snail’s pace, it’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savouring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them.”

With that in mind:

  • Plan your holiday around things you like, but don’t over plan
  • Get in the Slow Travel mindset – to relax and enjoy your holiday, not dash hither and thither
  • Look for companies such as To See Italy who provide local experiences and show you the area from a local’s point of view

Is Italy good for Slow Travel?

Absolutely! There may be myriad monuments to see In Italy, but you don’t have to see them all in one go. In fact, you don’t need to see them at all, if you so choose.

Savour the food, explore the countryside, discover how true balsamic vinegar is made. (News flash – that watery stuff you get in supermarkets isn’t it).

But if you do want to see the sights, find a tour guide that will give you that little extra. Not just a tour of statues, but help you understand how those statues and their history have shaped the towns and cities you visit. And who will know the best local haunts for breakfast, lunch, dinner and well into the night.

Dive into Italy, explore it, taste it – most importantly, enjoy it.

Follow Florenceasy tour guide Sarah Cater on Instagram.

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