Riposo (a time for afternoon rest) is a serious Italian tradition

Italian riposo is a time of day when towns look deserted.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on
Sacile square during riposo

Anywhere between the hours of noon and 4 pm, riposo is a time when shops, offices, and other businesses close so workers can have time for family and rest. You may find a restaurant or two open, but don’t count on it.

Most businesses post their hours accordingly. One shop may be closed 12:30 – 3:30 and another may be closed from 1-4.

The first few days we were in Italy we forgot that if we wanted to go out for lunch or go shopping in the afternoon, we’d have very few options, if any.

Businesses in the main tourist areas of Rome, Florence, and Venice don’t observe riposo like they do in the small towns.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on
An afternoon in Italy

It had not occurred to me before, but four hours in the middle of the day is a pretty big chunk of time.

At first it seemed crazy that entire towns shut down. No shopping? No going to lunch? Probably not.

Riposo in the US?

I can’t imagine riposo in the states, except maybe in very small towns.

Being able to take a few hours every afternoon to rest or spend time with family? Sounds great, doesn’t it?

You’re probably thinking (like I did) about how much more you could do if you had a few hours off during the day.

But before you imagine checking things off your to-do list, keep in mind you wouldn’t be able to run errands or shop because everything would be closed.

You might be forced to rest. Can you imagine it?

It might take a little while, but I think I’d adjust.