Monday, March 16, 2009

The Siesta

The Siesta
Van Gogh 1890
After enjoying a delicious lunch of several courses it was siesta time’. Everyone retired to their rooms for a daytime nap - also called il riposo or un pisolino. Everything closes down here in Abruzzo between one and three o’clock, so taking a siesta seems the perfect thing to do; especially in the heat of an August afternoon.

In the semi-darkness of a green shuttered room, with my eyes closed I would hear the chirping of the cicadas outside, the peal of the nearby church bells (every quarter hour) and the occasional scooter passing by. The scent of jasmine wafting in from the balcony would help me to drift off ...

I know that it is not the same all over Italy, but here they do take their afternoon nap very seriously. Businesses sacrifice the possibility of making more money for the tranquility of having a nice home-cooked meal with family and a chance to lie down afterwards. It was easy to adjust to the slow pace of life here. In our fast-paced world, quality of life often comes second to career; I believe these people have got the balance right.

In fact, there have been a whole host of studies showing that daytime napping improves brain power. If your schedule is filled with different activities which require learning 'how' to do things, it is worth making the time for that siesta. If nothing else, it makes for a smart sounding excuse when you’re feeling tired: "I have to go lie down and consolidate some memories, improve my long-term cognitive functioning and better my task performance!"
Buon riposo!
Dopo un pranzo delizioso di parecchie portate, era tempo per fare un pisolino. Tutto è chiuso qui in Abruzzo fra l’una e le tre del pomeriggio, quindi fare una siesta è perfetto; soprattutto durante un pomeriggio caldo d’agosto.

Nel semibuio d’una camera con le persiane verde, con gli occhi chiusi, ascoltavo i rumori delle cicale fuori, lo scampanio regolare delle campane (ogni quarto d’ora) ed i scooter. Il profumo di gelsomino penetrava dal balcone.

So che non è lo stesso in tutt’Italia, ma qui, loro fanno un riposino pomeridiano ogni giorno. Gli affari sacrificano la possibilità di guadagnare più soldi per avere un pasto buono fatto a casa e l’opportunità di sdraiarsi un po’.

Credo che questa gente ha trovato l’equilibrio giusto.
Buon Riposo!


  1. Ciao!!Sono italiana e vivo vicino Venezia.
    mi piace molto il tuo blog, complimenti.

  2. Ciao Patrizia! Grazie mille del commento simpatico. Ho appena visitato il suo blog 'Il giardino dei mirtilli' e l'ho trovato interessante. A me piacciono molto le ricette!

  3. Here in Argentina, the "siesta" is a tradition in some neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, specially among older people.

    However, it is stonger in smaller cities and towns. There is a big bunch of tales that grownups tell their children in order to make them sleep during the arternoon. This stories are about monsters or evil spirits that kidnap children who escape from their houses during the siesta time. I think the point of this tales is to make sure that the younger members of the family stay in the house while the adults are sleeping.

    When it comes to me, I can say that sleeping the siesta is very useful if you want to remember your dreams. I always dream when I sleep during the day.

    Greetings from Argentina.

  4. Thanks for your interesting comment Martin.