Travelling at a Snails Pace

We believe that we can add meaning to life by making things go faster. We have an idea that life is short – and that we must go fast to fit everything in. But life is long. The problem is that we don’t know how to spend our time wisely.” — Carlo Petrini, Founder of the Slow Food Movement.

I am very excited to be attending the Slow Food conference Terra Madre in Turin in September this year.

slow food snail

I have decided to go earlier and undertake a Slow Travel experience. This is an offshoot of Slow Food where one visits less places on a journey and slows down enough to experience life in that place more fully. Rather than rushing from tourist highlight to the next, ticking them off, it is about selecting less places, and really experiencing them. It is about spending your money in a way that contributes to the economy of the place you are visiting, it is about going to their markets and buying their fresh locally produced food and staying in accomodation that is locally owned and run. It is about sitting in the Piazza and being present, and where you can, interacting with locals and just generally having a relaxing, healthy, sane holiday. I have friends in a tiny mountain village in Le Marche and I will spend two weeks there, (thank you Ann Marie!) giving it a go.

bandw snail

Actually, it scares the pants off me. I am a city girl and very used to melding into the background, being a nameless faceless number. I kind of like anonymity and being able to be invisible. I think I will stick out like a sore thumb, a 6 feet tall woman with fair hair and terrible Italian. :). In the past I have been a restless and active soul so I think it will be very good for me to have a different experience. We shall see. I will have my birthday here.

I recently fell across Cittaslow, also inspired by Slow Food. “improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace, especially in a city’s use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through them“. “…cittaslow was born in 1999 through the Paolo Saturnini’s brilliant intuition , past Mayor of Greve in Chianti, a little town of Tuscany“.

another snail

A town population has to be less than 50,000 people to be able to be accredited as a Cittaslow town and if more than 50,000 can be a supporter of the organisation. The goals and aims are to improve peoples lives and the environment and promote the uniqueness and diversity of each town. There is a 54 point charter which includes such things as environmental protection, including clean air and drinking water and the reduction of traffic noise and pollution, and the reduction of artificial light. It includes infrastructure considerations such as cycleways, quality of life considerations such as fruit trees in public green spaces, the protection of artisan and agricultural and turistic providers, hospitality policies etc. It is comprehensive and a great model for any town planning. I was astounded to find a small New Zealand town signed up! Australia has three, one in the Blue Mountains. There are loads of countries on the list.

bandw snail

We are looking for “towns where men are still curious of the old times, towns rich of theatres, squares, cafes, workshops, restaurants and spiritual places, towns with untouched landscapes and charming craftsman where people are still able to recognize the slow course of the Seasons and their genuine products respecting tastes, health and spontaneous customs….” (from Cittaslow Manifesto).

So next time you are planning a trip, consider slow. You will go home with less photos of famous sights but you will be rested and maybe feel better for having connected with a place and it’s people, …you may even fall in love.


For a wee overview of the Slow Food organisation feel free to visit my post:

2 thoughts on “Travelling at a Snails Pace

  1. Wonderful post, Andrea! I looooove Citta’slow. Perhaps we can nominate Montalto delle Marche for Citta’slow accreditation? Maybe you will stand out, but you will be treated well, accepted and remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

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