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Life in the Slow Lane – Slow Italy

Travel Slow Italy Lake

Win A Book on Going Slow…

You know it comes to something when your own computer tells you to slow down (WordPress, my blogging platform, often thinks I type too fast.) Now it turns out there’s a book that’ll tell you to do the same thing.

Go slow.

I’m not sure what to make of it. I’m quite a fan of speed, really, and not very good at being idle.

I am, perhaps, the “target audience” for Alastair Sawday’s book.

Go Slow Italy Book Cover“Slow is a political movement,” he says in the introduction to his book Go Slow Italy. “It is in deadly earnest, a powerful idea with the capacity for changing the way we think and act. Peaceful and non-confrontational, but reaching deep into our lives, it has some of the underlying power of Ghandi’s revolutionary pacifism.”

It’s enough to make me think about putting down my iPhone.

Sawday goes on to say “before we take ourselves too seriously, let us go back to the foundations of it all.”

Apparently, plans to build a McDonalds near the Spanish Steps in Rome provoked such a wave of revulsion that the Slow Food movement was launched. With its headquarters in Italy, it aimed not only to reclaim traditional, slow, wholesome cooking techniques but also to promote a healthier, happier, better way of living.

I think they may be on to something. I certainly felt that way when I took cooking lessons in Tuscany last year.

I’d heard of the Slow Movement before but this was my first introduction to a travel book on the subject. After time spent discussing the overall concept, the book travels across Italy itself, introducing history and a taste of poetry through the descriptions of each region and the lodges, B&Bs and other special places contained therein.

You’ll even find recipes, from tiramisu to pasta a la rocca, thrown in among the directions on how to travel by train – slowly.

I can’t say I agree with everything Slow seems to stand for, though. They are anti-Health & Safety, for example, describing it as a “new and complex ways of doing old, well-tried-things.” No doubt some aspects are, but others save lives as I’ve seen myself. If the people saved by seatbelts, cycle helmets and lifeguards are a hangover of hassle and complexity from life in the fast lane then I’m happy to rev it up a notch.

Others, meanwhile are more than enough to make me pause (hoho!) and think. After all, I am sure there are many, many lives to be saved by eating properly and exercising, before I even get to the impact on the environment

One phrase in particular stood out:

“In your spare time, eat, sleep and rest when your body tells you to.”

One phrase in particular stood out:

“In your spare time, eat, sleep and rest when your body tells you to.”

How many of us can say we do that? For me it’s about as likely to happen as walking into a McDonalds and ordering an organic salad.

So why am I telling you about this book?

For one thing, I think it’s an interesting read and fascinating line of thought.

For another, I will be travelling through Italy later this month and seeing if I can do my bit for Slow.

How to win

And for the third – you can win a copy by subscribing to this month’s Inside the Travel Lab newsletter. Just pop your email address in the form over here and you’re done. No cash, no long form, no tedious questionnaire.

(And in case you’ve already subscribed, don’t feel hard done by. There’s a sister book, Sawday’s Special Places to Stay Italy that’s available as a prize for already loyal subscribers. You know I wouldn’t forget you ;) )

Go SLow Italy ALmonds

Disclosure: Sawday’s are kindly providing the prizes but as ever, as always, everything I say about them is entirely up to me. As it always will be on Inside the Travel Lab.

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4 Responses to Life in the Slow Lane – Slow Italy

  1. Margyle April 5, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    I hear you… I put off getting a cell phone until a few months ago because the ‘slow’ lifestyle really appealed to me – now I would put it down but for all the things I fear I may miss out on. I love that there are things out there like the Slow Food movement – that kind of counterbalance is sorely needed in this fast paced society of ours.

    • Abi April 12, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      Yes, I agree. I may not embrace everything it stands for but it’s good to have someone flying the flag for the other extreme as a reminder that perhaps, every now and then, I really should slow down…

  2. Slow traveller June 21, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    Travelling slow is more enjoyable ad even cheaper, so why not?
    BTW: today I was at a demonstration of Slow Food in Rome, against OGM!

    • Abi King June 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      I think there’s a sense that people have (myself included from time to time) that they’re concerned they’re going to miss out. Especially if they’ve travelled a long way and know that they may never pass that way again. But go too fast and you risk missing the point of going at all I think. Interesting to hear that you were at a demonstration. I’m a big fan of slow food :-)

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