You might’ve heard of the region Puglia, Apulia, in southern Italy. The way people live their lives in the heel of Italy reminds us of the saying, ‘il dolce far niente’, meaning ‘the sweetness of doing nothing.’ This is a region where you can truly enjoy the simple pleasures of life without boredom, where you can ignore that voice in the back of your head saying to pick up the pace. Where time stands still and life can feel, almost effortless.
Unless you’re joining us in a walk along the white-washed streets on our 7% Discovery Tours, a virtual trip will have to do for now. Let’s start the morning by stopping by a local café. If you’re open to something new, try ordering by saying “Un caffè leccese, grazie!” This little bit of deliciousness is a mix of espresso, ice, and almond milk or syrup. You may liken it to an iced coffee but others call it caffè Salentino since there’s a little debate as to where it really began.
After a morning café and brioche, let’s head to the beach to chat and enjoy the remarkable views. Living in Italy is about being connected to your community, and the southern people are as warm as the sunshine.
If you’re new to learning Italian, don’t worry, a simple “Grazie” or “Buona giornata” will garner a smile from a passerby every time. People from the region are known to be very warm, friendly, and approachable, so being the new kid in town, is more of a celebrity status than an annoyance.
There’s a popular saying in Salentino that describes the way of life so simply, ‘lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu,’ meaning ‘the sun, the sea, and the wind’. It can be compared to ‘hakuna matata’, no worries. After one day in Puglia, it’s clear that it doesn’t take much to be happy, and it’s often the small, day-to-day moments that make the difference.
There are definitely more people going out at sunset than at sunrise, as the sun is hot in the south. But make sure to get up early in Otranto where you’ll see Italy’s first dawn of the day since it’s so far east. The stillness in the morning, where the warm, clear light bounces off the sea, makes it easy to exhale. This, for me, is my favorite time of the day.
Warm like the people so is the weather! The Mediterranean climate makes the beautiful beaches even more enjoyable all year round. If you carry around a tote bag or bike with a little basket, toss a towel or picnic blanket in for last-minute trips to the beach or park; as there are many. The sea is indescribably clear, bright even. It takes just one minute to admire it, and you’ll have one of those, “Wow, am I really here?” moments.
When it’s time for siesta, a midday break usually between 1 and 4 p.m., most shops and restaurants close. People head home for lunch, family time, or to run errands. Just don’t forget to stop by the market before the break, as the vendors will be packing up to head home to their families too. If you choose to live close to the sea, be sure to keep the windows open. Forget about the relaxing sound apps, here, it’s the real deal! The best part of great sleep is waking up to the amazing smell of strong coffee and fresh bread from the local Panificio (bakery) who are usually the only other people besides me up that early!
That get’s me thinking about the food! Oh my, the local cuisine in Puglia is so fresh and such a big part of the culture that it deserves its own post (which I will share in the future). It is a combination of zero-kilometer/slow food and a seasonal Mediterranean diet, that has proven to increase metabolism, and decrease heart disease and other illnesses. I guess that is why the average Pugliese lives well past 85. I won’t stray on this post, but the food, is a major part of the lifestyle here, and naturally will be part of yours too!
So, in summary, what makes the lifestyle so effortless in Puglia? It’s not just one thing, but a combination of things, like living close to the salty sea, being connected to your community and friendly neighbors, the permission to slow down and pause during the day, the fresh food, low cost, and endless sunshine, all contribute to the effortlessness of living well in Puglia.
Join us on the next 7% Discovery Tour and find your new place in Italy. We are heading to Puglia to discover the Valle d’Itria and Salento region. You won’t want to miss it!
If the sound of a future in Italy excites you, but you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered! Take a look at smartmoveitaly.com/links, and we welcome you to email us at email@example.com.
Plus, if you’re unfamiliar with the 7% flat tax zone that Puglia is a part of, and are interested in learning more, check out The Italian 7% Flat Tax Zone Just Blew Up!