It was a hot couple of weeks in Veneto in June. Humidity was high, the sun was merciless and all I wanted to do was sit in a bath of cold water. I found it too hot to sleep; many Italians did not.
Apart from the libraries, where most people tend to be asleep anyway, shops and offices emptied somewhere between midday and 1pm and remained closed until around 4pm. Italy went into a self-induced slumber from which nothing was going to rouse it.
Some created footrests from borrowed chairs.
Whilst others, despite the noise of a busy station, dropped off and stayed fast asleep for the duration of my time there.
In the village of Grignano Polesine, half day closing is still a strictly adhered to pleasure. I am used to shops being closed on Sundays, and the long afternoon breaks, from living in Spain (the bonus is late opening), but a half day as well? It is like stepping back to the England of the 1970s. Without fail we saved our shopping until Wednesday afternoon, only to have to cycle back to the house with baskets empty of provisions. It was just a trifle annoying!
The slow pace of life does have its upsides - few people rush, sitting for two hours with a book in the afternoon is not a guilty pleasure - just pleasure, and the heat of the day can be passed with minimal effort and movement. When we weren't out and about I made the most of those few hours of peace and relaxation and lay sprawled in front of a fan, eyes shut, praying for rain.
Tip - Monuments open on a Monday are few and far between, so always check before you head off to avoid disappointment.