Una Bella Vita (A Beautiful Life)

Does the home you've created support the life you want to live?

No?  Then tell me where you would rather be.  At the beach?  In a ski cabin near Lake Tahoe?  In Paris?

Perhaps a trip to Tuscany is part of your dream.  So while you're in your current home, you're longing for Tuscany.  If you travel there and then come home to what you think of as your boring life in your boring house, you'll be disappointed.  Your wonderful dream trip will have made you discontented with your daily life.

That's a sad state of affairs, because vacation trips, as terrific as they are, last for a week or two.  You live in your current home all the rest of the time.  Do you want to be discontented all the time?  Continually longing for something you don't have?  Fantasizing your real life away?

No, no, no.  That's no way to live.

How to live in your dream home now

You can pay off all your debts, research jobs and housing, and make a plan to move to Tuscany, if you want to.  But you can also figure out what it is about Tuscany that makes your heart sing.  What does Tuscany offer that your home town doesn't?

Perhaps what appeals to you is the warm climate, the rural vineyards and olive groves, the slower pace of life, the wine and the food, the language, the colors, the art, or the ancient buildings.

Why not incorporate the attributes of Tuscany into your everyday life?  Wouldn't that bring more enjoyment to all of the days you aren't spending there?  

It seems much smarter to appreciate life every day than to regret what you don't have.

Now, I don't mean you should run out to the big box store to buy up all of the "Tuscan" d├ęcor mass-produced in China.  Sure, if you're planning to paint your walls anyway, you can choose a warm muted yellow or tan, incorporating a texture additive to mimic a rough plastered finish.  If you already have distressed wood tables and a neutral beige couch, you can add pillows or lamps in olive, gold, burgundy, or eggplant.  Some wrought iron chairs around the dining table, or an ornately framed mirror, would contribute to the Old World look.

You can use Shutterfly to make a photo book of your Italian travels, or have one excellent photo enlarged and printed on canvas to hang on a feature wall (search on Unsplash for beautiful, professional-quality photos that are free to use, like the lovely ones in this post).

But what you really want to do is make your entire lifestyle more like what you experienced in Tuscany.  You want to slow your pace of life, say no to some commitments, bicycle to work.  You want to create a sunny nook, indoors or out, where you can sit and read or sip a glass of wine.  You want to make your patio a summer dining room, with strings of white lights wrapped around a sheltering tree, votive candles twinkling on the table, and scents of lavender, rosemary, and thyme drifting over from your container garden.

Maybe you want to listen to Italian opera, visit more art museums, or even learn to speak Italian.

Perhaps you'll perfect your own ribollita or cantucci so you can enjoy a taste of Tuscany at home.  Or you might use that pasta machine you bought so many years ago, instead of letting it gather dust at the back of a closet.  At the very least, you can stock your kitchen with Fattoria Bini olive oil* and pecorino Toscano cheese.

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.

Change your mindset.

It could be that what you miss most about Italy is a concept that seems truly foreign to Americans:  il dolce far niente, "the sweetness of doing nothing."  It refers to the ability to focus on, enjoy, and completely bask in a moment without multi-tasking or being in a hurry to move on to the next thing.  You're not wallowing in FOMO, obsessing about your to-do list, or numbing your thoughts with TV.  Instead, you're entranced by a sunset, savoring a juicy peach, or gently rocking your infant son who has fallen asleep on your shoulder.

Minimalism can help you craft your best life.  You can remove clutter and distraction and be free to concentrate on what brings you fulfillment.

Go ahead and live your dream every day.

If you loved this post, look for my book, Comfortable Minimalism: Create a Home With Plenty of Style and a Lot Less Stuff, available on Amazon.*

* This is a reader-supported blog.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission. 

Updated September 2022


  1. Wonderful post! I am sitting in my home in the hills of Northern California myself, sipping a spritz and indulging in La Dolce Far Niente this afternoon. So glad I found your blog via "How to Be Chic"!

    1. Hello, yeqotz, and welcome! I've enjoyed Fiona's blog "How to Be Chic" for a long time, and I'm very grateful you made the leap from there to here. I hope you'll be visiting often, and I'd like to invite you to subscribe.

      Stay cool in this hot weather (I love sipping ice water with limes and fresh mint)! My husband and I are going over to the Sonoma coast next week...yay!

  2. Gorgeous post Karen, I love all your Italian ideas! xx

    1. Fiona, thank you so much for visiting! Your writing class, which I took in November of 2017, has been such a huge inspiration to me!

  3. Hi Karen, thanks for the eureka moment: "What you really want to do is make your lifestyle more like what you experienced in Tuscany"...I'm going for it!

    1. Ale, I love your comment. A "eureka moment." So glad.


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