Roberto Benigni’s (La Vita e Bella) brilliant portrayal of a Jewish Italian father who uses his optimism and fertile imagination to protect his son from the horrors of imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp is an inspiring example of the Italian perspective of happiness. A manipulation of circumstances that can look beyond the most dire events.
An Italian perspective of happiness is the assumption that joy is the nature of all beings and they will not be robbed of it. An assumption that it was odd to think that attaining and maintaining personal joy is anything beyond ordinary. Despite past and present problems, Italy enjoys a high standard of living. Even with debt, unemployment and a less than satisfying political scene, Italians know how to create beautiful moments. Well-laid tables, rich aromas of food and wine, uplifting art and inspiring design. Traveling in Italy and staying with my Italian family and friends has led me to believe they seem to know how to balance work and relaxation. They take time for pleasure . They go through the day with a mid-day break, surrounding themselves with beauty and art in their homes and businesses, eating fresh and vibrant food at meals.
Despite the problems with politics and the economy, Italians still continue to seek out the beauty of their homeland, a country within a landscape of historic art, enviable food and wine and a birthright of joy that manages to take the edge off of problems Italians encounter more and more in their every day lives. A philosophy and lifestyle that is an inspiring perspective of la bella vita.