Personally Speaking ~ La Passeggiata ~



La Passeggiata:  An Italian Tradition


Let’s all do as the Italians do as day softens into dusk in Italy, something in the air seems to tug people from their homes and work places to take part in one of the enduring traditions of Italian life: La passeggiata.

This evening promenade, generally between 5 and 8 PM, happens in virtually every town, village or big city in Italy.

Andiamo a fare qualche vasca!  (Which literally means, Let’s go do some laps), Italians say to one another.  This ritual involves much more than strolling to and fro.479156_orig


During the week, the passeggiata marks the end of the workday and is a time to socialize  before the family dinner. On Saturday and Sunday, the passeggiata often becomes the main social event of the day, when entire families take to the streets.

The most important thing, it seems, is simply seeing and being seen.




Attracting the most attention are young women of marriageable age.  This is a socially sanctioned opportunity for flirting and courting.


The passeggiata reinforces a sense of belonging.  The greeting of friends and acquaintances, the sharing of gossip, and the latest news weave everyone into the human fabric of the community.




In some cities, people dress to impress or at least to show how well life has been treating them.  Shirts are pressed; jeans if worn, are stylish.  Older folks sit along the route, on a bench or nursing a beer or glass of wine, and watching for things to gossip about; La passeggiata is where new romances and new babies are on display as well as new shoes.  Folks of all ages take part, from the youngest babies to the oldest members of the community who take it all in from the sidelines.




If you’re out and about in the early evening, you may become part of a passeggiata whether you intend to or not.  Walk slowly.  Stop for a gelato or an aperitivo.  And don’t be surprised if, after a while, you start feeling that you too belong.



This is yet another beautiful Italian tradition that makes me want to BE ITALIAN!   Our world might be a better place if we all took the time to be with one another in peace, strolling along enjoying each other and life.


Just be sure and be on the look out for any one of these three to be strolling along a street in Montepagano, Marsala or Naro!   If you see one, offer to buy them a cool gelato and sit a moment with you.  Guaranteed best La passeggiata of your life!






Photo credits:  Images for Passeggiata and All Things Il Volo


Story sources:

Martha Bakerjian-Italy Travel Expert



14 thoughts on “Personally Speaking ~ La Passeggiata ~”

  1. thanks – interesting to learn this = but I couldn’t help notice in 2 nd picture – on right side of screen – a lady walking with her golden haired dog = who had his right leg lifted taking a ‘ whiz’ against the store wall !

  2. Hello Jane , I laughed so much in your description because this is true , the walk is a news exchange system ( we Italians are very gossipy and nosy ) , is also a showcase for the eyes ( to show and put on display ) , but not It makes you feel alone, in some countries the lonely elderly people were put with a chair just outside the door so they could hear and see people going back and forth . From the way you talk if you did this ritual I think you liked it and you felt immediately involved . Although unfortunately this habit is being a little lost . Other aspect of your comments on our uses and who knows maybe one day on a walk we can meet and eat us a delicious Italian ice cream !!

    1. Daniela, thank you for your reply. I look forward to doing this tradition some day… I have not had the pleasure yet. I just think it’s a wonderful way to be with those who live around you. I wish our society here did this!

  3. Thanks, Jane, for another reason to go to Italy….not that we didn’t have enough! This is a lovely custom….hope it continues!!

  4. Jane this reminds me when I was young on warm summer evenings usually people living on my street would gather on their verandas & sit & enjoy the summer evening & usually some of the neighbours would go for a walk up & down the street & speak to the people sitting on the verandas. Kids were usually put to bed & if old enough to sit with the parents & enjoy the evening as well. Haven’t thought of that for a lloonngg time. So I would be right up with the times in Italy if I lived there. Maybe I’ll change my mind instead of going to another city here I’ll move to Italy & pick Ignazio’s street to live on.

      1. Daniela you could be right then I will try & get a house beside his

  5. Wonderful culture in Italy. My street has diverse neighbors. I love to sit on my front patio and watch the people. they are usually walking r\their dogs. I hear many languages.Joanie G

  6. Thankyou, Jane! Another wonderful custom showing that the Italians know how to live their lives!! Spellcheck tried to change live to love, in the previous sentence twice !! Let me just say now, the Italians know how to Love also!!

  7. Hi Jane, Your post and pictures of Italy are wonderful. It is a lovely custom to come together and visit with and watch people strolling by. When I was growing up, I do remember my parents sitting out on our porch in the summer evenings visiting with other neighbors. Sometimes we kids were out playing and riding our bikes until too dark, then running around catching lightning bugs, etc. Even when my sons were young growing up in the suburbs, many neighbors would sit outside at someone’s home chatting in the early evening about family news or news of the community. Thanks for reminding me of those times!! Hugs!!

  8. The streets reminded me of Florence and one of Venice? Of course, all Italian streets tend to look alike after a while! When we were there, Florence streets were very crowded in the early evening – people were everywhere. There was this one deli like little place that had these huge sandwiches on focaccia and there were these long lines of people just waiting to get them! But even with all the people, we felt pretty safe! 🙂

  9. This is so familiar to me !! In Malta we also have the same tradition we say ” immorru passigata” which is derived from Italian and means let us go for a stroll and many Maltese do go for a stroll along the promenades in the balmy summer evenings and on Saturdays and Sundays in the winter months, another tradition which we Maltese have inherited from Italy 🙂

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