Who wants to experience dolce far niente?

Long before Julia Roberts learned its meaning in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love,” the Italian phrase “dolce far niente” was a favorite of mine.

The sweetness of doing nothing.

And dolce far niente is exactly what I’ve been doing today.

As I sat on the balcony staring at the ocean waves, I thought, every individual should experience dolce far niente sometime in his or her life.

Sadly, this isn’t the case for everyone and I’m left to wonder, why not?

Why can’t we pause from time to time to just be?

What prevents us from experiencing a moment of bliss composed of doing absolutely nothing?

What or who tells us we’re not deserving of halting the madness of daily life to sit back and relax?

After all, we don’t have to be on vacation or even have an abundance of free time to practice dolce far niente.

It doesn’t cost any money, nor does it have to be practiced in special surroundings.

All we need is to believe that we can jump off the hamster wheel to take a dolce far niente break.


Because it feels good to halt the daily grind to revitalize ourselves; to take a deep breath; to take in our surroundings; to admire a sunset.

Dolce far niente.

Some call it bliss and others, a state of nirvana or ecstasy.

Who would’ve thought that doing nothing could result in something this wonderful?

And yet it can.

But only if you allow yourself to disengage; to disconnect.

Only then can you experience magic.

As I hear the roar of the ocean, look out into a never-ending sea of blue, and smell the salt in the air, I sigh deeply.

Dolce far niente.

Are you ready to experience it?

Are you ready to accept that Earth won’t stand still if you choose to take a dolce far niente break?

Don’t waste another minute doing and instead, achieve respite in not doing.


Because you’re worth it, that’s why.

When was the last time you took a dolce far niente break?

58 thoughts on “Who wants to experience dolce far niente?

  1. Good for you! I think I’ll follow your lead and watch the shingles weather and the roof age…and if there is more time, I’ll feel the earth rotate. Thanks for the reminder! Enjoy!

    1. Annie, lets start a movement you and I! The art of doing nothing, if only for a little while! After how hard we work, I think we deserve it! :)

  2. I am counting the minutes till I get a dolce far niente break ( 4 more days ) ..
    and I agree Bella , sometimes all one needs to do is NOTHING ..it helps rejuvenate not only the body but also the mind and soul !
    My fav kind of break is by a water body ..lake , ocean .. love the water !

    1. Priya, I’m with you, sister. Dolce far niente is indeed good for the body and soul! Your kind of break is my kind of break! I too love the water!

  3. I’ve been a big fan of this phrase for quite some time, too.

    There is a website…I have to see if I can find it…that plays the sounds of waves and has a serene image on it. It counts down for three minutes. If you move your mouse, it starts the countdown again.

    The idea being that even in the hectic workday, we should take just a few minutes to do nothing. Just be at peace.

    1. Amber, I like the idea of relaxing to the sound of ocean waves, be it the real thing or computer animated! I have a tibetan bell that sounds off every hour on my lap top. It serves to remind me that the body and mind needs a break!

  4. Girls don’t start that movement without me. I’m so for it, but unfortunately I ca n only experience this bliss while on vacation far away from Detroit . I don’t think I will ever be able just to take a moment of dolce far niente at home.

    1. Ariana, I’m sure Annie’s okay with us saving you a spot! :) Here’s hoping you’ll be able to experience dolce far niente soon!

  5. YAY, Bella!! I am right there with you, girl!! We ‘see’, feel, understand soO much more when we give ourSelves that gift of time, don’t you think? And if we’re lucky, when we aren’t looking, life even begins to make more sense after we do. Its always more simple than our brains lead us to believe.:)

    1. Brynne, not only did I know you would approve of this post, I thought of you when I wrote it! As I listened to the sound of the waves, I thought, now this is what my friend Brynne would call a magical moment! :)

  6. As a busy single mom of two, a constant learner and a lover of freinds and family together-time; sometimes I feel so overwhelm with activities that I often need time to relax and do nothing. Well, not nothing but just stay home, cook and listen to music or read my books is good enough for me.

    1. Ofelia, I hear you. While it’s true that we may love our families, a break is not only good for us, it’s good for them. This because we can be better spouses and mothers when we give ourselves a chance to “recharge our batteries.” Experience has taught me that a tired mom makes for a cranky mom so I’m all for little breaks! :)

  7. Sometimes for me it’s not just a day or a few minutes, but a whole weekend. I call is pajama time – the weekends you never even bother to get dressed, just sleep, eat and read, as the spirit moves you. Maybe watch a chick flick, maybe not.

    Much easier with no kids at home and (currently) being sworn off men.

    1. Beverly, a whole weekend of dolce far niente sounds heavenly! And you’re right–sometimes our life circumstances make it a lot easier to take a well deserved break! I love the pharse “as the spirit moves you.” :)

  8. I thought I had it patented already! I’m so glad you’re enjoying just being….and Roxy seems to be having a ball too :) You know I come from the state of Goa (a former Portuguese colony) and we have a word called ‘Susegad’ which means to have a laid-back and relaxed attitude – that’s one reason Goa is such a magnet for holiday makers! :)

    1. Corinne, I want to perpetually be in a state of susegad! Nothing beats having a relaxed attitude! Roxy’s sunbathing as we speak and she’s making new friends every day. Spanish dogs are very friendly! :) Kisses for Pablo!

  9. You are so right Bella. I am free all the time now but feel I have to work harder than ever to justify my existence – and in some cases because I have an active brain and wish to learn more. I certainly havn’t found the balance yet. Thanks for reminding me of the necessity of rest.

    1. Elizabeth, you’re very welcome! I find myself in the same state at times–trying to find a balance. I love that we have technology at our fingertips that allows us to learn whatever we want, when we want. Now if iwe could only make the time! That’s why it’s important to incorporate these breaks into our lives!

  10. Now there’s a very smart dog for you….I see that Roxy isn’t wasting any time in dolcefarniente-ingness. Bella, where’s your drink? What are you sipping while sweetly doing nothing on a beach in Spain?

    1. Oh girl! Just last night we had this delicious sweet wine called “moscatel” and it was lip smacking good! I’m not one for cocktails and hard liquor but who can say no to chick wine? :) Roxy plops herself down in the balcony from sun up to sun down, only stopping for walks and bathroom breaks. :)

  11. I want to dolce far niete forever, please. Oh is that asking too much? what? you want me to be a “productive member of society?” Please. Let someone else do that, instead.

    1. Laura, I want to reiterate the importance of the dolce far niente movement! I feel a revolution coming on! Thus far, it’s Annie, Ariana and me. I take it you’re in as well? :)

  12. I loved this!! I actually am a huge fan of dolce far niente because it is the best anti-aging thing around – relaxing, idleness, taking time to just be! Great reminder to us all – thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you approve, lady! And may I say I totally agree? There’s no better way to not acquire wrinkles than to take a dolce far niente break! :)

  13. I love that phrase, too, and love do it. We should all experience dolce far niente, especially in these stressful times.

  14. Hi Bella – What a FABulous post! I have not had a dolce far niente moment for awhile..and I must do so NOW! : ) Thank you for this, and for such a lovely comment on my blog. I am so happy to hear my illos bring smiles to you. : ) Have a great weekend!!

    1. Shirley, you’re welcome! I love your blog! Here’s hoping you’re able to have a dolce far niente moment soon! :) Have a great weekend!

  15. I take a dolce far niente break every morning before I get into the daily grind. I sit with my coffee and just enjoy the moment, and I try to meditate and let thoughts pass by like floats in a parade. Of course I’d rather be looking out at the endless ocean like you – you lucky lady!

  16. Beautiful picture and what a terrific post. You’re right: We’re so busy rushing around all the time, we don’t take time to appreciate the beauty around us. Have fun!

    1. Kelly, thank you! I’m so glad you liked the post! With your wonderful writing, I just know you’re one of the people who stops to appreciate beauty around her!

  17. Somehow just reading these comments I felt like I was sitting around a table with all of you in a moment of dolce far niente, that sweetness of doing nothing. :)

    Actually, doing nothing is usually doing a great deal: thinking, reflecting, processing, conversing, noticing things we might not have noticed had we been rushing around.

    It’s part of the Mediterranean diet they never mention… relaxing, enjoying, sitting and talking with friends!

    1. Lady, I couldn’t agree with you more! Thank you for improving this post! There’s a lot going on in a dolce far niente moment! :)

  18. “Dolce far niente.” soooooooo beautiful.

    Another favorite word of mine is “Attravasimamo” (Crossing Over)
    —I’ve used this word a lot lately in my blogs.

    Hope you are disconecting, loving, Dolce far niente!!! xx

    1. Hello and welcome, Paula! Well then I’m sure you’re already acquainted with the phrase “dolce far niente!” :)

  19. Ohhh, Bella, I’m jealous! When sitting on my own balcony, there aren’t any ocean waves to look at… only houses and trees.
    I haven’t seen Eat Pray Love neither and neither have I read the book (but I surely will eventually!).

    1. Sabrina, trees are nice to look at too! By the way, you totally have to watch that movie. Only wait till you’re suffering from a bout of insomnia. :) It should’ve been called Eat, Pray, Sleep!

  20. great Post!!!!
    i want “dolce far niente” tooooooooooooooooooooo

    i loveeeeeeeee the doggie!

    1. Thank you, Salsapete! I’m glad you like Roxy! Here’s hoping you experience a dolce far niente moment in the near future! :)

  21. Hmm… That’s difficult, doing nothing. If I’m not translating, I’m reading or writing – I’m doing something. Or I’m watching a movie or series, which is still doing something. Or I’m looking at the ceiling, and my mind races trying to find that perfect translation for something, or corrects something not so perfect, or thinks of a new story (there’s always a new story to think of).

    Wonderful dog, by the way. :)

    1. Ivana, I have days like that too! But after many days of just doing, I feel I have to take a break and try not to do anything. :)

  22. Oh my God…this is torture…I cannot bear to look at the pictures of the place I so wish to be!!! Are you praying for a miracle? I hope so because I am to the point where I will duct tape myself to a floating trash can to get to Spain….boo-hoo….greetings from a bored human being in the tundra.,….

    1. Keep the faith, sister! I’m praying, lighting candles and starting a novena, Spanish style! I miss you! :)

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