Italian Food: Eat the Italian Way!

In a country rich with traditions, it’s certainly no surprise that Italian meals are often the source of many customs and routines that Westerns might have to discover as they go along. Finding your way through a day in Italy means sleeping when the locals do and preferably eating in the say ways they eat as well. After all, the primary reason so many of us visit Italy is for the food!

Breakfast in Italy

The morning comes and Italians aren’t known for being up with sun. Italian breakfasts reflect this easing into the day by offering very light fare. If you’re used to a meal complete with eggs, bacon, ham, grits, biscuits and all the trimmings, start paring down now – the Italian breakfast usually consists of a bread item, like a roll or croissant, and then coffee, tea or chocolate. It’s a great light fare, but certainly not what you might expect in your “continental breakfast.”

Light Meal

You usually have one light meal throughout the day and it can be either lunch or supper depending on your plans for that day. Lunch might be more like a tea with a few pieces of fruit, some fresh bread or perhaps a slice of pizza purchased in a storefront. Eat lightly in your light meal since the big meal is likely to follow, or you may still be recovering from the big meal you decided to have at midday.

Dinner in Italy

Usually, the biggest meal of the day arrives at dinner time, but it could very well be in the midday as well. This is the meal that Italians are famous for. You can expect multiple courses beginning with an antipasto, or appetizers. Then the primo arrives. This is usually a pasta or a rice dish. What we consider a meal – a big pasta plate, is still just part of the early courses. Be sure to pace yourself.


After the pasta or rice, the secundo, or the main course, is served. This is a meat item, usually white or red. There won’t be sides served with the meat unless you order them specifically in a resteraunt. A family meal will be slightly different here. After the main course, there will be a serving of cheeses, bread and cured meats like salami. Finally you’ll enjoy the dolce, or dessert where you’ll be served something sweet that comes with espresso or liqueur.