The Italian piazza is one of my favorite things about visiting Italy. It’s the soul of a town. It’s where real life happens. Neighbors chat with neighbors. Cafes spill out onto the sidewalks. Italians and tourists intermingle to have a glass of vino and watch the world go by. You are both a spectator and part of the action at the same time. It’s people watching at it’s best!
On our first trip to Rome, the hubs and I needed a break from the heat and came upon the Piazza della Rotonda by the Pantheon. We chose a cafe with umbrellas, misting fans and cold beers! We sat for hours cooling ourselves with refreshing Moretti beers next to one of those fans that made that moment feel like heaven. As we sat, we had the pleasure of listening to the various street performers: first a harpist playing classical music, and then a guitarist playing classic rock. We watched tourists take selfies and chat excitedly about their surroundings. We noticed locals greeting each other with a kiss on each cheek and a pat on the back as they spoke rapidly in Italian about their day. It’s one of the moments where you say, wow, we are really here.
I think that many times, as tourists, we want to speed through the sites to make sure we get it all in. We forget to slow down and really TAKE it all in. That’s the beauty of a piazza. There are small quiet piazzas where you can get away from the chaos and large bustling piazzas where you are a part of the action of the town. Either way, stop, take a few moments, order a snack and a drink and watch life happen. Soak it all up. I promise it’ll be worth it!