Dolce far niente… (“Sweet doing nothing…”) The literal translation already says it all. It’s a feeling that combines leisure, idleness, and laziness all at once.
To understand the meaning of this untranslatable expression, just imagine yourself on a sweet spring afternoon; you’re sitting outside, and you just enjoy being there, doing nothing. That can be so sweet!
The expression Dolce far niente is commonly used alone, often in combination with a sigh or a stretching of the limbs. Ah… dolce far niente!
The concept was first encountered in a letter written in a Roman villa around the year 100 A.C. A girl wrote to a friend (in Latin) remembering… illud iucundum nihil agere, translated in Italian as quel dolce far niente, “that sweet doing nothing.” And for the next two-thousand years, Italians have continued mastering that sweet art!
Have you ever had the feeling of just wanting to stay home and relax, wearing comfortable clothes and slippers on your feet, and just do…nothing? Then, on those occasions, you were a pantofolaio.
This Italian untranslatable word literally means “someone wearing slippers” and is the equivalent of a “couch potato,” although it’s not limited to sitting on the couch with the remote. The pantofolaio is also someone who prefers the quiet of the home, doesn’t like the fast life of parties and going out, and would rather have friends over than go out.
Sunday is the perfect day for the pantofolaio. You get up late, have a long breakfast and lunch, and can stay comfortably at home reading, watching TV, surfing the internet, or talking to friends on the phone. You could even watch some foreign shows to help yourself learn!