Your Guide to the Blissful Italian Lifestyle of Dolce Far Niente

The sweetness of doing nothing involves cheese, a warm breeze, and fizzy spritzes.

If you want to take a trip to Italy without stepping on a plane, all you need are three little words: dolce far niente. This Italian lifestyle translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing,” or as Rome native Sophie Minchilli—blogger of Rome with Sophie, Italian food tour guide (alongside her mom, Elizabeth Minchilli), and author of the upcoming book The Sweetness of Doing Nothing: Live Life the Italian Way with Dolce Far Niente—explains, “A state of complete idleness or blissful relaxation. Italians have figured out a way of being in the moment with such joy and blissfulness that they are not ‘looking forward’ to anything else.”

Sounds like a dream come true, right? It doesn’t mean completely unplugging and taking a sabbatical in the woods. With dolce far niente, three main pillars from Sophie’s book are family and friends, food, and leisure. Whichever category you choose, she explains it’s all about “bringing small changes to your life that will then lead to a bigger change in the long run. 

Below, she shares five tips for achieving dolce far niente, one blissfully relaxed day at a time. Plus, we have a handful of new recipes throughout for your perfect aperitivo hour (a dolce far niente staple) from Sophie and her mom, Elizabeth, plus two of our Cravings twists on some classic Italian snacks.

Take a Break and Slow Down

“It might sound like a cliche, but really learn to take a break. Turn off your phone, don’t answer those emails, and go on that holiday you have been dreaming of. Just think of Italians and the fact that they actually take the whole month of August off to just sit at the beach, never thinking about work once. We need to learn to slow down again, live life like our grandparents used to. Instead of rushing through life to accomplish as many things as possible and check them off our list, we should be taking it slowly, appreciating each day as if it were our last. Some of my favorite ways to slow down are taking long afternoon walks or having an endless Sunday lunch with friends or family.”

Go Outside for Aperitivo Hour

“Once or twice a week, meeting friends for aperitivo—usually outdoors in Italy—after work is a wonderful way to wind down, detach from the chores waiting at home, and enjoy a moment of pure joy with friends. Aperitivo can be a small snack to calm your hunger before dinner, or a substitute for dinner. Sometimes snacks and drinks leads to dinner! But aperitivo isn’t so much about the food or drinks—though it is almost always delicious—but rather a way for people to connect with each other while disconnecting their brains after a long day at work. If you choose not to go out and instead invite people over to your house at the very last minute, don’t worry too much about anything fancy! A good bottle of wine, some olives, and crackers will make everyone happy.”

Set the Right Cooking Vibe

“If I’m cooking for myself, I put on a cute vintage apron, light some candles, and play Italian music from the ‘60’s. Everything should be simple, though, like a plate of pasta that takes 10–15 minutes to make, or a ‘pizza party’ where we order pizza in and everyone is happy. Kitchens are usually the heart of the home in Italy, so if someone’s in the kitchen cooking, so is everyone else. Even if they are not helping, they are there for support.”

Dress to Impress—Even For Errands

Sophie says that Italians also live life by the phrase la bella figura, which translates to “the beautiful figure.” It means to dress well and make a good impression—even if you’re just going to the grocery store. “Italians like to look good whenever they leave the house, even if it’s just to buy a carton of milk. They truly believe that life is better when you look better, simply because you will feel better.” Perhaps try our new Dolcezza robe?

Find Pleasure in the Ordinary

“In order to live life to the fullest, I truly believe it’s important to make every day an ‘extraordinary’ one by finding joy in the smaller things—a coffee at the same place every morning, eating a plate of gnocchi every Thursday, or enjoying the warm sunlight on a bench for 10 minutes a day.” For a triple threat of dolce far niente, maybe we’ll try all three at once.

Mini Round Cutting Board
Mini Round Cutting Board
$18.00

This gorgeous cutting board is the teak wood canvas your charcuterie board deserves—and it's treated with food-safe oil to protect it from jam smudges, crushed figs, and other stains.

The Fresh Plate Shallow Bowls, Set of 4
The Fresh Plate Shallow Bowls, Set of 4
$32.00

The best of bowl worlds: Use the curved rim on these cream-colored bowls to scoop up the last of the pasta sauce, let hearty salads shine, and keep your pad Thai in place. Perfect for everyday dining and entertaining, this easygoing, elegant set zhuzhes up your tablescape without feeling fussy.

The Daily Platters, Set of 2
The Daily Platters, Set of 2
$48.00

Perfect for passing the pad thai around in or pairing with a shallow bowl for crudités (or chips) and dip, these everyday platters are also essential for entertaining. The larger platter is for the main event—say, a heaping pile of John’s Fried Chicken—while the smaller platter is perfect for charcuterie or a side of crispy roasted potatoes.Set Includes: One 16" x 10" platter in rice One 12" x 7.5" platter in sage

Spill The Tea Napkins, Set of 4
Spill The Tea Napkins, Set of 4
$20.00

Make any tablescape look instantly pulled together with washed linen napkins in muted pink and orange. Bright enough to spice up your spread, but neutral enough to work with a multitude of colors, these napkins are chic and easy. Just pop them in the washing machine when you're done—they get better with every wash!

The Daily Gold Flatware
The Daily Gold Flatware
$24.00

This five-piece set of gold flatware adds extra sparkle to your table without feeling too flashy. Sturdy with a clean, modern profile, this set works for weeknight dinners, elevated tablescapes, and every meal in between. The best part? The Daily Gold Flatware is sold by set, so you won't end up with more than you need, and can easily rebuy if you lose a piece.Set Includes: One dinner knife One dinner fork One salad fork One teaspoon One soup spoon

The Fresh Plate Side Bowls, Set of 4
The Fresh Plate Side Bowls, Set of 4
$20.00

Deep enough to hold a side of crispy Brussels sprouts or an ice cream sundae, these bowls complete The Fresh Plate Dinnerware Collection. In a neutral hue with an artisanal matte finish, these perfectly-sized side pieces keep nuts, snacks, and dips looking cute when it's party time.

Mini Rectangular Cutting Board
Mini Rectangular Cutting Board
$18.00

We gave the classic cutting board a genius upgrade: two handles that make it easy to transport when it's piled high with pizza bites or chicken wings. Made from all-natural teak wood, this stain resistant piece works for prep and serving, and will age beautifully.

The Dolcezza Wrap Robe in Crema
The Dolcezza Wrap Robe in Crema
$138.00

Soft and lightweight with the perfect drapey silhouette, this one-and-done wrap-style robe is perfect for poolside lounging, afternoon naps—even al fresco entertaining. Chrissy loves a vibrant, vintage print, so we made our own! The abstract floral is a little retro, very chic, and inspired by Italian vacanza style.

The Dolcezza Wrap Robe in Rosa
The Dolcezza Wrap Robe in Rosa
$138.00

Soft and lightweight with the perfect drapey silhouette, this one-and-done wrap-style robe is perfect for poolside lounging, afternoon naps—even al fresco entertaining. Chrissy loves a vibrant, vintage print, so we made our own! The abstract floral is a little retro, very chic, and inspired by Italian vacanza style.

The Dolcezza Slipper in Rosa
The Dolcezza Slipper in Rosa
$32.00

Soft, padded slides with a twist! Style these slippers with the matching Dolcezza robe for the ultimate at-home lounge set. Made with rayon twill in a vintage-inspired print, the cool, comfy footbed features a reinforced sole sturdy enough to wear by the pool or patio. Paired with PJs or a swimsuit, these slippers bring Italian resort vibes to your own bedroom or backyard.

The Dolcezza Slipper in Crema
The Dolcezza Slipper in Crema
$32.00

Soft, padded slides with a twist! Style these slippers with the matching Dolcezza robe for the ultimate at-home lounge set. Made with rayon twill in a vintage-inspired print, the cool, comfy footbed features a reinforced sole sturdy enough to wear by the pool or patio. Paired with PJs or a swimsuit, these slippers bring Italian resort vibes to your own bedroom or backyard.

The Dolcezza Head Scarf in Rosa
The Dolcezza Head Scarf in Rosa
$26.00

Wrap it up in this wide, drapey head scarf for instant chic and serious Amalfi-coast-vacation vibes. Made of soft, breathable fabric that billows beautifully in the wind, this piece is done in our print of the season: an abstract floral inspired by vintage fabric that looks straight out of an Italian film.

The Dolcezza Head Scarf in Crema
The Dolcezza Head Scarf in Crema
$26.00

Wrap it up in this wide, drapey head scarf for instant chic and serious Amalfi-coast-vacation vibes. Made of soft, breathable fabric that billows beautifully in the wind, this piece is done in our print of the season: an abstract floral inspired by vintage fabric that looks straight out of an Italian film.

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