Italian meals

The day's first meal in Italy is a sweet and simple breakfast ('colazione'). This consists mostly of coffee or tea for example brioches, a single roll ('panino') with jam or biscuits ('biscotti').

It is not until noon that the Italians start the serious eating. The day's first hot meal is lunch ('il pranzo') starting at between twelve and one o'clock and lasts until about two o'clock. If you wait longer than that, the day's pranzo may be missed. After lunch hour you scarcely find anything but a snack bar offering food, and often you'll miss lunch alltogether. Between two and four o'clock, most of the shops and dining places are closed. The day's second hot meal is dinner ('cena'). It is served from seven o'clock in the evening at restaurants, but only the tourists starting this early. Italians come to cena between eight and nine o'clock in the evening.

An Italian hot meal begins with an appetizer ('antipasto') that may be a salad, a soup, a plate of cured meats or small appetizers (‘crostini’) on white bread. The first main course ('primo piatto') is often a selcted pasta, but can also be a soup or a rice dish. The second main course ('secondo piatto') is either meat ('carne') or fish ('pesce'), Remember to order accessories ('contorni') if you want salad, vegetables and / or potatoes for the main course. The meal ends with either cheese ('formaggio') or a dessert ('dolce') or both, and if you want a coffee it is usually served after the dessert. Wine and water are served during all the phases of the meal , while coffees is served with a grappa, a cognac or brandy.