If you ever decide to visit Italy, there isn’t anything you’ll need to bring more than an empty, enlarged stomach. Nothing will prepare you for the delight that is Italian cuisine. Every meal, whether it is at a coffee bar or at a restaurant, will bring a new dining adventure. I remember when I, too, was a beginner in this highly evolved sport. But I learned, and so can you.
- Looking for a caffè is easy, as long as you take note that the word “bar” is not what we Americans know to be a bar, but a small cafe. Usually these places don’t even have places to sit (and if they do, you are often charged for seating).
- I recommend a cappuccino and a cornetto (a croissant-like pastry filled with either Nutella, creme, or plain). The coffee drinks might as well have a different name than the ones we know in America; they are very small, but have the perfect amount of strength to get you going. You don’t need to add anything, and you can drink them right away. No more watered down, $3.00 cups of coffee!
- The easiest option for lunches are panini, or sandwiches. Panini are usually vegetarian friendly as I have come to find, and are a great way to grab lunch when you are on the go.
- Another option is going to a restaurant, which you must make time for. I love getting pizzas, and I can’t resist a Napoli (anchovies, black olives, capers). If you don’t finish your whole pizza, you will probably be questioned by your server, so I suggest taking your sweet time.
- A real Italian dinner could take over three hours. Dinner is a time during the day where friends and family gather over food and spend time together. Italians usually start eating at around 8 or 9. Their three-course meals involve a pasta dish, vegetables or meat, and an Italian dessert such as Tiramisù or gelato.
- Americans feel the need to scarf down their food and go to their next activity. Don’t. It’s unnecessary. Relax and enjoy your meal. When your belly feels like it will burst, have a walk around the city. Do like the Romans do: digest your food so you can eat your weight in carbs tomorrow.