Dorm Therapy

Lo Struscio Is the Slow Italian Lifestyle I’m Trying (and You Should, Too!)

published Jul 9, 2024
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Young woman riding bicycle in front of cathedral, Florence, Italy
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From my freshman year in high school in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I constantly thought about which competitive private university I would end up at on the East Coast. But when it came time to apply to college, I decided I wanted to do my own thing and explore a new place, away from the comfort of my high school and local community — and so, to my surprise, I found myself in California exploring a new West Coast lifestyle that felt slower and more intentional. 

After two years at Santa Clara University, I’m now preparing to study abroad in Florence, Italy, this upcoming fall — which will of course be another lifestyle adjustment. I’m nervous to move across the world, and my mind races at night when I consider all of the uncertainties, but I have never been more excited to explore a new lifestyle in Europe.

In high school, I watched as my cousins studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland, and Sydney, Australia, and I was especially fascinated by my cousin who chose to go abroad to Florence two years ago. I admired her free spirit and willingness to immerse herself in a new culture. Watching my cousins thrive outside of the U.S. always made me wonder what it would be like to spend a semester abroad myself. I knew I had to explore this lifestyle on my own.

Credit: Pekic / Getty Images

What Does Lo Struscio Mean?

I was immediately drawn to study abroad in Italy and specifically Florence because of the true Italian culture there. While researching Florence study abroad programs and the experiences of students there from around the world, I stumbled upon and fell in love with the term lo struscio, a concept that embodies slower living. 

Lo struscio is an Italian tradition that can involve a leisurely evening stroll, usually through the main streets and squares (or piazze, as they’re known in Italy) of a city or town. But it’s not just about walking; it’s a social ritual that’s meant to foster interactions, relish the beauty of the outdoors, and unwind after working all day. I  imagine families and friends walking arm in arm, stopping to chat, window shop, or to enjoy an impromptu gelato. And I plan to do the same myself! 

How I’m Embracing Lo Struscio This Fall

Lo struscio particularly struck a chord with me since it feels like an extension of my new West Coast lifestyle. It’s a way of life that encourages taking time to slow down and enjoy what’s around you — a stark contrast to the fast-paced, rigorous, and busy American college experience, and a concept that resonates deeply with the sustainable lifestyle practices I advocate for as a student coordinator for my university’s sustainability center.

When I get to Florence, I plan to fully embrace lo struscio in my daily routine. I am already romanticizing my bike rides around the Duomo and the details I will notice as I wander through the city. I wonder if I will have a meet-cute with someone on public transit as I take the train throughout Italy — a sharp contrast to my life in the U.S., where I am forced to drive my gas-guzzling car alone to work. These activities will not only reduce my carbon footprint but also allow me to grow as a person by connecting me with the local Italian culture.  

How I’ll Keep Up My Lo Struscio Lifestyle

As I watched my cousins return from their study abroad experiences, I realized that the challenge often lies in maintaining these practices once you return home. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced day-to-day of attending college in the Silicon Valley, but I want to make sure my life remains intentionally enjoyable when I get back to the States. 

I am committed to carrying the essence of lo struscio back with me. This means prioritizing walking or biking over driving, setting aside time each week to reconnect with my surroundings, and continuing to support local and sustainable businesses. I hope my experience abroad will serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of living consciously and allow me to grow as a whole person while I explore another part of the world! 

This post originally appeared on Dorm Therapy. See it there: Lo Struscio Is the Slow Italian Lifestyle I’m Trying (and You Should, Too!)