Discovering the Art of Doing Nothing: A Journey Through the Italian Riviera's Stunning Beach Scene - Rue Paradis Art Prints

Discovering the Art of Doing Nothing: A Journey Through the Italian Riviera's Stunning Beach Scene

The Italian Riviera is a breathtaking destination that invites you to slow down and immerse yourselves in the beauty of its coastal towns. Join me on a 7-day journey as we explore the charming wonders of San Remo, Ospedaletti, and Bordighera, where the art of doing nothing is celebrated amidst the stunning beach scenes and picturesque beach landscapes.

I have started to set myself a habit of taking a week's holiday with Mum every year. Seeing your parents getting older can trigger a deeper bond and spending more time with them. I live far away and visit them 3 or 4 times a year with an extra week to spend more time with Mum. I usually choose to holiday in France, but this year I wanted to cross the border to Italy. Last year, during our stay on the French Riviera, we took the train to Vingtimillia and felt at home. With our Italian Roots, we decided to spend our next holiday on the Italian Riviera. As a teen, I travelled on the train via the Ligurian coast and San Remo. I loved looking through the window and set my eyes on the beautiful beaches, lined with cream-coloured villas at sea level and palm trees branching out. There's a mix of nostalgia and modernity along that coast. That makes you wander back slower, inviting you to do nothing and lounge along the promenade, sipping a cold drink. I travelled with Mum to the Italian Riviera, leaving my computer at home, leaving my emails untouched, only taking my cameras to photograph the gorgeous coast and tune into the Dolce Vita, and that week was truly living the Dolce Vita.

Ospedaletti 

When we set foot in Ospedaetti, a coastal town along the Riviera, the manic rhythm of modern life slowed down. Our Airbnb was placed at the top of a hill with 20-minute walks to the city, which meant climbing back for 20 minutes in the scorching heat. No need to say that we decided to lie on a deck chair reading books on the balcony on the first day. We were lucky enough to have our neighbour offering to drive us down for food shopping so we wouldn't starve over the weekend. Ospedaletti is a relatively small town with about 3,000 people, but it is a paradise for food. This is Italy, after all. There's an impressive choice of restaurants in town and along the beach. The supermarket in the city offers a varied selection for your basic needs. A traditional grocery store in town will ignite your food buds. Most of the fruit and veggies looked like they had been ripened in the sunshine. They didn’t underdeliver in their promise of a fantastic taste. Eating bland fruit and veggies all year round, I had forgotten the taste of real apricots and tomatoes. Biting into peaches and apricots felt like an explosion of senses, with juice drooling from the corner of my mouth, and this was just the first day. I returned to this shop all week for more prosciutto, Melone, and fresh goat cheese. I wish I had a shop like that where I live in my local area. Even food shopping in Italy invites you to take a slower pace and retrain your taste buds. 

We went to the beach on the second day. Most of the beaches in Italy are private, where you can hire a sunbed or deck chair with an umbrella. You will notice the army of parasols walking along the beaches in most of Italy, transforming it into a very colourful scenery. Past the torture of walking on pebbles ( keep your shoes walking to the shore), the water was lovely, immaculate and hot, but it was 35C outside. We spent a few hours at the beach hiding from the burning sunshine, under the yellow sun umbrellas, reading books. I hadn't spent time reading a book in ages, and I managed to finish a 400-page book that week. This reminded me of the time before the internet and how easy it was not to be distracted by the constant swiping on the phone, and I'm so guilty of that. Here, we spent most of our time outside, living in the sunshine, returning to basics and appreciating the present moment. 

San Remo

San Remo evokes the nostalgic charm of 19th-century travel when the English and Russian aristocracy chose San Remo as their resort. I visited San Remo briefly as a teen with my Aunt before crossing over on the boat to Corsica. I loved the promenade with palm trees and the elegant hotels on the hills. I had always wanted to go back since, and this was easy to do taking the bus from Ospedalitti. We headed towards the daily food market when we set off the bus. Stepping into the hall, you are welcomed by fruit and vegetable stalls arranged in an attractive display, abundant cheese platters, ham and salumeria stalls, having your head spinning, spoilt for choice from all the delicacies on hand. Fodd in Italy is highly respected, as it should be. I could imagine myself doing my food shopping here every day, transforming every meal into a celebration of the work delivered by the producers. Our table for lunch was laid with a porcelain platter of tomatoes sprinkled with olive oil and lemon juice, artichokes in olive oil from a glass jar, anchovies and filled courgette flowers. Every meal feels like a celebration, living slower when eating homegrown food and rediscovering natural tastes. From the market, we stepped into La Pigna, the old town of San Remo, walking through the old city gate through paved, narrow, winding streets and the square of San Sebastian and the Piazza Dei Dolori. From La Pigna, you can walk into the Giardini Regina Elena, a park in the higher part of the old town.

After lunch, we walked along the beach promenade, trying to find a beach that was not full. We secured a bed and a deck chair with a blue-graded sun umbrella. It was so hot that day that most of the people were standing and chatting in the water. The beaches are mostly sandy in San Remo, so it was much easier to walk into the sea than in Ospedaletti. Still, the sand was so that you needed to keep your shoes on before stepping into the water. The water was crystal clear, very clean and lukewarm. Some people must have spent all afternoon lying on an inflatable, as I saw the same lady on a pink inflatable each time I went back into the water. 

On our way back to Ospedaletti, we stopped at the grocery store to fill on more prosciutto and melon before taking the bus back up the hill. 

 

The day was well advanced when I realised that we had missed the hourly bus to catch a connection to go to Bordighera. Somehow, the day turned unexpected as Olivia, our host, offered to drop us off in Bordighera and share her recommendations. Her car stopped along the coast, where large rocks were set on the coastline. It was early, but people were swimming and sunbathing on the rocks. The Church of St Ampelio standing proud in the distance. The scenery was captivating, with the sun rising over the sea. Thursday is market day in Bodighera. Like in Ventimiglia, there was much choice for clothing, accessories and food. The last thing we wanted was to try on jumpers and winter coats while our back was covered in sweat standing in the heat. Market in Italy is always a delightful promenade not necessarily to buy something but to browse. We walked into town, where the main street was lined with modern houses and flats.

Olivia had mentioned an old town, but it took us some time to find where to climb up to see the old town. We set our way up the hill along beautiful secluded villas with gardens lined with palm trees before hitting the paved street of the well-preserved ancient city and getting lost in the narrow alleyways. Walking along the small streets felt like being in an Italian movie set from the 1950s. An old post-Italiana sign and washing lines are hanging across the street, a line of palm trees on the horizon. In the distance, you could spot blue parasols down at the beach. We had lunch on the main square near the church and felt that time had stopped, filling us with a sense of serenity. It must be the Dolce Vita.

 

 

 Appreciating the Present Moment

If I learned one thing on this holiday in Italy, it is that the art of doing nothing goes hand in hand with appreciating the present moment, rediscovering the taste of food and life's simple pleasures. In our constant chase of staying on the part with the rat race, we still need to learn to go back to basics. By disconnecting from the hectic pace of everyday life, you can fully immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquillity surrounding you. Whether you find yourself lounging on a sun-kissed beach, strolling through charming cobblestone streets, or simply enjoying a leisurely meal with loved ones, an Italian escape offers a true escape from the outside world's demands. In these moments, you can truly savour the richness of life and rediscover the joy of simply being.

When I return, I hope to have learned a few tricks to unplug from the hectic world. Finding a balance between staying connected and allowing yourself the space to slow down. Be fully present, limit screen time to essential tasks, or set aside designated moments for checking emails and social media. Intentionally creating boundaries ensures you make the most of your time.


Plan your escape to the Italian Riviera and allow yourself to be captivated by its timeless charm. Discover the stunning beach scenes, charming coastal towns, and the joy of living in the present moment. As Marcel Proust once said, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Open your eyes to the wonders of the Italian Riviera and let the art of doing nothing transform your journey into an unforgettable experience.

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