Go: Passeggiata

I’m counting down the days until the clocks spring forward one hour this weekend. My three sons have been waking earlier and earlier because of the darn sunlight. We’ve established a strict household culture that no child may exit their shared bedroom before 7 am, but this sunlight is making its way through the blackout curtain (it's actually a navy flat sheet) and throwing a wrench in the system. Today, the bear cubs were raring to go at 6:15 am; I cut them a deal and told them they could let in the light and read until 7. If Daylight Savings Time has starting blocks, I'm already in position.

Lighter evenings always mean more opportunities to do things at night, such as a before or after dinner walk. In Italy, they have a word for this type of walk: passeggiata. It is a rich part of their culture. My Italian friend Annalisa describes it this way:

"Passeggiata is a little relaxing walk, for example in your neighborhood or on the beach. Io vado a fare una passeggiata - I am going to walk."

I first learned about passeggiata two years ago when visiting Lucca, a small Tuscan city encircled by a very high Renaissance-era wall three miles in circumference. While a passeggiata can happen anytime, anywhere, it is traditionally an evening stroll, and in Lucca, there is a traditional route: down Via Fillungo, a favorite shopping street. The passeggiata's primary purpose is not exercise; it's about letting loose from the day, seeing people, taking in the sights, sounds, flavors. Oftentimes a stop for a drink is part of a passeggiata.

So, today I’m not sharing a typical Simply SV recommended place to go, such as a favorite hiking trail, restaurant, or café. Today’s idea is for you to make passeggiata part of your Silicon Valley lifestyle. No car, no traffic, no navigating with the map app, no scheduling when and where to meet up with someone. Just step outside your door and walk. Head in a direction where you're likely to see people. Acknowledge those you encounter with a smile or a hello. Take in the sights, sounds, smells; clear your mind, decompress from the day. Get to know where you live at a deeper level. Leave your phone at home and be fully present to the non-digital, natural world around you.

WARNING: Passeggiata is likely to infuse you with unexpected joy and relaxation.

Piazza San Michele in Lucca, Italy

Piazza San Michele in Lucca, Italy

passeggiata |ˌpasəˈjätə|
noun (pl. passeggiate |-ˈjätā| )
a leisurely walk or stroll, especially one taken in the evening; a promenade (used with reference to the tradition of taking such a walk in Italy or Italian-speaking communities).
ORIGIN Italian.

-Apple Computer Dictionary