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Eating in Italy: The Do’s and Don’ts

Eating in Italy: The Do’s and Don’ts

Have you ever wanted to travel to Italy? Maybe it’s been on your bucket list forever and you’ve been meaning to plan a trip? Maybe you’re planning to visit soon, but you aren’t sure how to act? If so, keep reading. I’m going to cover everything there is to know about eating in Italy! I’ll tell you what foods are considered rude and why, as well as how best to ask for something that you want in Italian! To start with the basics, here are the five things everyone needs to know about eating in Italy

Right on Time

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In Italy, restaurants follow a particular timetable. Italians don’t eat after 2:00 p.m., thus they are open for lunch between 12:00 and 13:00 and close between 14:00 and 15:00. Around 19:30, they will then reopen for dinner. The residents tend to eat late in the evening. Dinner should be served about 8:00 p.m. or 9 p.m. Keep snacks close at hand if you tend to feel hungry between meals (it can be much later in the south)! Check with your hotel concierge before going out to ask them where you can find an open restaurant that serves what you need. Lastly, it is customary in many parts of Italy to take small portions so as not to overstuff oneself.

Hidden Costs

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You will be charged more if you opt to sit down in a certain location. Restaurants charge a cover fee and bread even if you don’t want it, and bars may have a “seated” and “standing” menu with varying costs. When entering any establishment, check the prices on the board; they might not include tax or cover charges. Remember that an aperitivo or drink might come before your meal – this is especially true at restaurants where you have to pay for your table by the hour or day.

Coffee Culture

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Cappuccinos are not consumed by Italians after 10:00 a.m. After dessert, an espresso (un caffé) is frequently provided to conclude meals. You will also receive a glass of milk if you purchase a “latte.” One exception to this rule is the use of expresso at breakfast time or following lunch. Espresso coffee can be ordered throughout the day as long as it does not interfere with the standard coffee consumption time for the region. Drinking coffee during meal times is frowned upon and usually only happens in restaurants that serve continental food or American-style breakfasts such as eggs benedict.

Pizza Perfect

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Whatever you do, avoid ordering pineapple or chicken on your pizza since doing so is forbidden. If you order for a “pepperoni” pizza, you will receive a Margherita with bell peppers; if you want meat, request salami. Be sure to ask for extra napkins when you sit down as it is customary to eat pizza by hand. In the United States we have few etiquette rules but in Italy eating with one’s hands is generally frowned upon. Instead use a knife and fork to cut off pieces of the slice before taking them into your mouth – don’t just pick up a whole slice! And lastly, always fold up the paper plate after you are done eating!

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