EXCLUSIVE – Yesterday, February 19, Italy took a ‘Slow Day’. The celebration was organized by the Pavia-based Vivere con lentezza (Living Slowly) association (www.vivereconlentezza.it).
Association president Bruno Contigliani described the day as ‘A challenge to the cult of speed to demonstrate the uselessness of frenzy and to win over the fear of moments with nothing to do … The initiative is the starting point of a global movement born in the last century when it became apparent that technology which was supposed to save time actually reduced it even further’.
Various events were organized to encourage people to reflect
on time and on life and the natural rhythms that human beings appear to have lost. Italy’s 55 Cittàslow, or Slow cities, also took part in the initiative with a program of walks and meetings.
In Rome ‘The Art of Living Slowly’ asked citizens to photograph the beauty of the clouds that surround the city’s monuments, while on Milan’s Corso Vittorio Emanuele a human ‘speed trap’ was set up to control the speed of people hurrying to and from work. In Naples, locals were encouraged to drink their morning coffee not standing up at a bar but sitting down. On a more rural note, donkey rides were organized in San Casciano Terme in Tuscany.
Again in Rome, the Florilegio Ars Factory staged a ‘slow marathon’ from Piazza Trilussa to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. 300 meters in an hour and a half: a slow record!
In a cycle race in Ferrara, the winner was the rider who took the longest to complete the circuit. ‘Everyone feels the ills of having to run,’ comments Contigliani,’ and the need to manage time better. I myself made my choice following an accident that halted the stressful rhythms of my life.’
Not that Slow Day was confined to Italy alone. In Heidelberg, in Germany, privately or in small groups, enthusiasts took out time to read pages from Lothar Seiwert’s The Bear Strategy, a cult book for slow coaches.