The Italian Almanac

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live slowly

The Art of Living Slowly

Italy marked World Slow Day with a host of initiatives reminding people to ease off and savour the good things in life under the slogan ''slow down to live better''. ''It's an occasion to take a little time for yourself and remember that if we're always rushing, we end up taking the wrong road,'' said Bruno Contigiani, president of the association The Art of Living Slowly.

Once a successful manager and repentant workaholic, Contigiani, 61, created World Slow Day last year in an effort to promote a return to more natural rhythms of life, starting with small actions in the daily routine. His association suggests 14 commandments for living better, including waking up five minutes earlier to enjoy breakfast without rushing and using time stuck in traffic jams to have a chat with the driver of a neighbouring car.

Among the events marking World Slow Day across Italy is Rome's second annual Slow Marathon, set to get under way in the Trastevere area of the city. Dawdling and feet dragging will be encouraged as athletes attempt to cover 300 metres in not less than an hour and 27 minutes without stopping. In Milan, pedestrians walking too fast along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele risked being stopped and given a symbolic fine so that they could think about why they are in such a hurry.

This year World Slow Day has spread abroad and will be marked in cities including London and Paris. In New York, a three-day Slow Festival will see New Yorkers walking too fast in Union Square flagged down and given a ticket. A total of 90 'Slow Cities' in 11 countries inspired by the 'live well' philosophy and linked to the Slow Food movement are also supporting the day.