It’s just around 8:00am and across Italy the same scene is being played out, like every morning before and every morning thereafter. The day begins with those old familiar sounds and smells. The hum of a machine finally settles into the rhythm of the day. Toasted, roasted goodness silently streams into tiny white cups and gathers in dark pools. Steam gurgles into milk to create white foamy peaks. Tiny silverware chimes against ceramic saucers, lining up in attendance. Few words are exchanged by some, others eagerly chat, and others still leaf through the news, as fresh and bittersweet as their morning coffee.
These are the everyday sounds and smells of Italian life. So common, in fact, that most locals probably don’t even recognize them any more. They are rituals, simple yet finely-tuned dances, that for an outsider can reveal the very stuff of which a culture is made.
Italians take coffee seriously, but not only. They also take their time seriously, especially when that time centers around food or drink. That’s why you’ll never find an Italian zipping around with coffee in hand. It’s honestly unfathomable for them to think that one cannot spare even a few minutes to savor a coffee. Those few minutes are precious. They are an opportunity to exchange a few words with familiar faces or to silently ponder the day ahead. But regardless of who you speak with or how you take your coffee, those moments stir up a sense of community, of belonging within that is difficult to come by these days. Not to mention that everyone could use a bit of a respite to just, well, breathe and be. Because in that moment of anticipation, while your standing at the counter waiting for a shot of the good stuff, there is a moment of calm. You can’t do anything else but wait. Life for a moment is pushed aside. Worries are swirling around you but you are still. Unmoved. If only for a moment life seems as thought it is in slow motion. Only to speed up again once the final drop hits your tongue.
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