The Ritual of Pausing

When I was in Florence last fall, I encountered the Italian tradition of the pausa for the first time. Strictly speaking, it is the lunch break of the day. I see the pausa as being emblematic of the Italian lifestyle. The idea that people should work to live instead of live to work. The belief that mealtimes are sacred and meant to be shared with family instead of work. At the Villa, we had an hour long pranzo or lunch. After observing a moment of silence, the entire community of staff members, professors, and students would enjoy a primo, secondo, and dolce with a glass of wine in hand. When I ate dinner with my host family, we would begin by discussing the day and finish with a discussion of current events. The pausa became a peaceful ritual, a time to stop and reflect on this ever crazy, madly spinning world.