When in Rome

by Diane Lofshult on Mar 01, 2008

Food for Thought

Italy is a hugely popular destination for travelers. But first-time visitors often commit culinary crimes that make Italians cringe. Here are some simple tips that will help you do as the Romans do:

  • Expect to order at least three courses for lunch and dinner. The first course is the antipasto and consists of cold and hot appetizers; the second course, called the primo piatto, is typically pasta or soup; and the final course, the secondo piatto, is usually a meat, fish or vegetable dish.
  • Never order cappuccino after breakfast. Italians reserve this frothy coffee concoction for mornings.
  • Order water as either natural (flat) or frizzante (carbonated). You will be asked to choose at almost every meal.
  • Don’t ask for a spoon to twirl your spaghetti; use your fork.
  • Don’t add cheese to any pasta dish that contains fish. The Italians consider this gauche.
  • Don’t ask for butter on your bread. And don’t dip your bread in olive oil—it will ruin your palate for what follows.
  • Don’t eat bread with your pasta; bread is reserved for the main course (secondo piatto).

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About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at lofshult@roadrunner.com.