Domani: Why I Want To Live In Italy

There’s a word that the Italians use all the time. “Domani”. And now Kim and I have adopted it. In fact, we love this word so much, that we use it all the time. “Domani”, “Domani”, “Domani”! What’s “Domani” may you ask? Well, it literally means “tomorrow”. So, what’s the big whoop? Why is saying “tomorrow” such a big deal to the Italians?

To understand this we have to dig a bit deeper into WHY we DON’T use it (as often) as our vino-loving friends. Let’s start here. We have a saying in America, “Why put off to tomorrow what you could do today”. Fair enough right? Get it done. Isn’t that a good thing? I would argue that we’re paying a price for that way of thinking.

Let’s talk about how the Italians changed the quote around to make it more “molte bene”, “Why do today what you could easily do tomorrow”? I know, I know, lot’s of thoughts going on in that Cafe Americano cerebellum of yours. If you just tilted your head like a puppy who just heard a high pitched sound, let me help you out here.

As with everything in life there is a price to be paid. The Italians, with all 2000 years of history behind them, have learned a thing or two about life. They’ve realized that there are MORE important things in life that need to be “done” first. They understand that there is ALWAYS something that “needs” to be done today, but there are only so many moments in life to be embraced. And, if we do whatever the “it’s gotta be done” de jour is, we will likely miss out on “La Dolce Vita” (the sweetness of life).

The word “Domani” literally means “tomorrow”. But, what it REALLY means to the Italians is to live for today. This is super hard for us to understand. We are a get s**t done culture. Please understand, that this is NOT about laziness. The Italians know how to get stuff done. They’ve made some pretty cool… Ahem…statues, coliseums and um… other stuff.

This is about embracing that ticking clock. Enjoying the moments that pass us by so quickly in life. It’s about TAKING the time to stop and enjoy what’s happening around you, instead if letting it go by. I think down deep we really know this in our gut.

Here’s an example. Starbucks (where I am right now), was created to embrace the cafe culture of Italy. They tried to nail down all the nuances. From calling the cup sizes Italian names like “Venti” to the person who makes your coffee a “barrista”. But in my view…it ain’t a cafe in Italy.

To my left I have an Amway guy doing a flip book presentation…to my right I have two guys typing feverishly on their lap tops and in between the both of them I have a woman who just ordered a (get this) “Trenta Caramel Frappacino” (it’s the new Starbucks version of the big gulp- really). No one, at least that I can see, is really spending a quality moment enjoying life with a friend or having a conversation about art, culture or philosophy.

The Italians have come to understand that you need to make the time for the important stuff… an evening “Passeggiata” (leisurely strolls that are taken arm and arm with loved ones nightly across Italy)….sitting in front of a fountain eating amazing gelato with a friend… simply sitting and watching people go by…listening to the sounds of a child’s laughter….or just taking the time to read a non-business book for 30 minutes in the middle of the day.

So, at some point today, you will have a perfect opportunity to either say… let’s do it now or simply say “Domani”. It’s your choice. What will it be?

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  • Reply
    Sean Mathena
    January 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Great post Rob!

    I completely agree. I look around some days and think wow, when did these kids get so old? Kids are the ultimate reminder to slow down and enjoy life a bit more.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Wow Rob, I feel like you just set a moment in time with what you wrote. You’re right that we seem to let the days past by focusing on the higher dollar. We as a culture should embrace the Domani ideology in our everyday lives.

  • Reply
    James Schipper
    January 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I stopped and watched some turtles today while pedaling my bike. There were some nice birds there too. I had errands to run, but it was a nice day, so I sat on the grass by the edge of the lake for a while.

  • Reply
    Paolo Grisendi
    January 23, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Great Words… we love living in the moment but also work hard when it’s required…

    just a little note: it’s ‘Passeggiata’, not passagiata 🙂


  • Reply
    January 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    i felt like reading your post but then i thought “domani!” 😉

    great advice from a well travelled guy.

    keep it up, rob!

  • Reply
    Nicki Dal Pozzo
    February 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I am english, transplanted to Italy almost 40 years ago. I have embraced the Domani culture, but lately Domani has begun to mean – in a few minutes, rather than the full time span of Tomorrow because if one leaves it any later then one is buried under the avalanche of things that can simply no longer be put off.
    How did life get so stresssful? I thought one was allowed to slow down as one got older!.
    I often feel that it is the young who enjoy Domani. For them, life is still full of little things to do – you only have to look at some of the great blogs they are creating.
    So perhaps the concept of Domani lives on – enjoyed in different ways by different generations.

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