The Italian passeggiata, or promenade, is a healthy activity, and most of us could use such a beneficial habit! Many today live cut off from others, closed in by busyness and privacy walls. But with this wonderful tradition, isolation is not a problem. Here in the village this evening promenade an easy-going, relaxed activity. A time to stroll along and learn the village news. And almost no one dresses up.
But when it turns into a public display, even this can take on negative aspects.
In many larger towns, it becomes the ‘who’s who’ of social life. With each trying to outshine the others. Envying new outfits, and criticizing the poorly dressed.
We probably all fall into this at times. Dressing to impress. Wanting others to admire us.
Wanting to fit in and have others think well of us is natural. But the passeggiata has shown us that focusing on appearance won’t help us feel good about ourselves. Because there will always be someone more beautiful or better dressed.
Especially here in Italy, the land of fashion and beauty! Where they dress up just to go the supermarket. Always perfectly made up and well-coordinated! But even if we could become the most beautiful of all, it’s important to remember that physical beauty fades. And all those fine clothes wear out.
The only true and lasting self-worth is found in a beautiful heart.
That is beauty which will never fade, go out of style, or wear out. It will only glow more as time passes.
I think of old wrinkled grandmothers and aunties I’ve known. Sweet souls, with never a bad word for or about anyone. And always a warm hug or word of encouragement. When I think of them, I don’t see their wrinkles or dowdy clothing. I see the beauty of a kind heart shining through.
We love the passeggiata! Italy wouldn’t really be Italy without it! So you’ll often find us out for a stroll in the evenings. It’s a great way to greet neighbors, get a breath of fresh air and maybe a bit of ice cream! And if you’ve never tried the homemade gelato that many Italian gelaterias, have, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Care to join us for a passeggiata? The gelato’s on us!
And don’t worry — you don’t have to worry about impressing anyone here in our villages!