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Admit it—you pertained to Italy to eat. It’s definitely the reason we’ve saw the country a dozen times and can’t remain amethod for lengthy.

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Eating in Italy is a serious company and also the locals have strict food rules. You have the right to discover some of the best food in the civilization in Italy, however it’s also possible to pay over the odds for a disappointing meal.Visitors (specifically Americans as the food culture is vastly different from the US) are often perplexed by facets of dining in Italy and finish up starving at 6pm or feeling ripped off.

By following these tips you’ll have the ability to protect against tourist traps, eat the ideal food in Italy, and avoid shocking any type of Italians alengthy the way.

If you are wondering what to eat in Italy, I additionally share my favourite Italian dishes to try while you are tright here.

Buon appetito!


When Eating in Italy

Upday 2021: Green Pass Required

Since 6 August 2021 everyone in Italy is compelled to present a Environment-friendly Pass to enter indoor venues prefer restaurants and also museums. From September it will also be forced to access public transfer.

This health pass mirrors proof of vaccination against COVID-19, recoincredibly from the virus within the last six months, or an adverse test taken within the last 48 hours.

Vaccination certificates issued in various other EU countries, the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and also Israel will certainly additionally be accepted in lieu of the Environment-friendly Pass. They have the right to be presented in digital or paper form. You must likewise present your ID.

Read even more around the Environment-friendly Pass.

I likewise recommfinish making sure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19. We use SafetyWing nomad insurance, which does cover it and also is obtainable worldwide.

Video: Tips for Eating in Italy

Watch our video of Italian food rules and also height tips to make the many of your foodie pilgrimage to Italy.

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Eating in Italy Key Facts

A menu at a restaurant in Tuscany

Here are the most vital things you need to recognize once dining in Italy.

Italian menus are separated right into the complying with courses:


Appetisers such as bruschetta (toast via toppings), grilled and marinated vegetables, and also meat and cheese platters.

They can be fairly filling (or absolutely humungous in Puglia and also Basilicata) so we constantly share. Antipasti are frequently our favourite component of the meal as they are so varied, function regional specialities, and also are often vegetable-hefty (much less so in the north).


The first course is composed of pasta, gnocchi, risotto, or a hearty soup (such as minestrone).

Portions aren’t huge (usually), but it deserve to be enough for a full meal (we typically gain an antipasto as well).

There are hundreds of pasta forms in Italy so learn the regional specialities for your destination. Otherwise, you could not recognise pasta on the food selection as it will be referred to as something choose trofie (in Liguria) or orecchiette (in Puglia).


The second course is meat or fish. It is just that—a slab of meat via nopoint on the side.

Very sometimes a restaurant will certainly list a vegetarian seconexecute prefer an omelette or plast of grilled vegetables, yet you’re better off sticking to the antipasti and also primi.


Side dishes such as potatoes, french fries, grilled or fried vegetables, salad, and beans.

If you desire your meat or fish to have anypoint with it, you should order it separately.

Keep in mind that salad will certainly arrive after you’ve eaten your meat, however hot vegetables will come through it.

Vegetarians have the right to additionally make a meal from sides. Sometimes we order a side of grilled vegetables as an antipasto if there’s nopoint else on the food selection we desire (or feel totally free to have actually some veg after pasta).


Desserts. The menu is usually rather simple and also will include fruit, gelato, a cake or tart, and a regional speciality.

The creamy coffee flavoured dessert tiramisù is just one of the the majority of common desserts everywhere the country. A cheaper different to dessert in a restaurant is heading to a gelateria and enjoying a cone on an evening stroll.


It’s incredibly common to finish your meal with un caffè (espresso). It comes after dessert, not via it.

Ricotta tart at Il Frantoio in Puglia

Italian dishes vary extensively depending upon the region. You have the right to acquire pizza and pasta with tomato sauce almost everywhere, but don’t suppose to uncover spaghetti carbonara in Puglia—stick to regional dishes instead. I share some of my favourites at the end of this post.

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What Time Do Italians Eat Dinner?

Many Italians eat dinner roughly 8pm or 9pm. They may eat later in the summer, especially in the southern of the nation when dinner could be at 10pm or also later.

Visitors should be aware that opening hrs at Italian restaurants are limited.

They open for lunch between 12pm and 1pm and also cshed between 2pm and also 3pm. Italians don’t eat lunch later than 2pm.

Restaurants are then closed for an afternoon/at an early stage evening break.

They open aacquire for dinner at 7.30pm or 8pm. Pizzerias could open up a little previously at 7pm.

Make sure you arrangement for this as soon as eating out in Italy. Grocery stores (other than for significant supermarkets) additionally cshed in the afternoon.

Below I’ve had tips on what to perform if you get hungry in the afternoon or beforehand evening (it’s a common trouble for us!).

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When Eating in Italy

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Eat gelato eextremely day. It’s that great.Look for the signs produzione propria and artigianale in gelaterias which indicates that the gelato is made on-site and also in the old-fashioned way with natural ingredients.Order even more than one flavour of gelato. Even if you order a tiny dimension (which is commonly plenty), you have the right to select two flavours. My individual favourite combination is pistachio and also cacao.
Pistachio and cocoa gelato at Bimpend in Modena. Keep in mind that the pistachio is not bappropriate green!
On our Bologna food tour we witnessed tortellini being made in a local pasta shop
Avoid restaurants close to major tourist attractions. If you perform choose to eat on a well-known piazza choose Piazza Navona in Rome, accept that you are paying for the watch and not for quality food. Perhaps just have actually a drink rather.
Cappellacci di Zucca, a kind of pumpkin stuffed ravioli, is a neighborhood speciality of Ferrara.Order un caffè(espresso) after dessert, not throughout the meal.Visit bars at any kind of time of day. They are even more prefer cafes and also are family-friendly. Sheight by for a coffee, snack, soft drink, or alcoholic beverage from breakquick until late at night. They can be an excellent place for a sandwich if you acquire hungry mid-afternoon, although high quality varies and some bars cshed in the afternoon (especially in small towns).Drink coffee standing at the bar (al banco) to stop paying additional to sit down—as much as four times even more in touristy locations.Check the bar menu if you really want to sit down. It’s typically on the wall and you deserve to check out the prices for banco (standing) and also tavolo (sitting).Eat pizza via your hands. In a pizzeria you’ll reduced the pizza right into slices yourself then feel cost-free to usage your hands.Buy slices of takeaway pizza or focaccia through different toppings for a cheap snack. This is your finest option if you obtain hungry external the usual meal times. You generally choose how much you desire and also pay by weight.
Tomato focaccia in Bari charged by weightStick with a primo (first course, typically pasta, risotto or soup) if you are vegetarian—a secondo (second course) is nearly always meat and also a primo is tasty and also filling enough (and also cheaper).
Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta) is a delicious Romale specialityOrder wine (or simply water) with a meal—Italians only drink beer and also soft drinks with pizza.Ask for a glass of wine also if just bottles are provided on the food selection. Tbelow is constantly the option of un bicchiere (glass) or un quarto (quarter litre) or mezzo litro (half litre) jug of home wine. The home wine is incredibly affordable and also frequently the same price as water—we’ve had a half litre for as low as 2 euros!Choose your mineral water naturale (normal) or frizzante (fizzy). You’ll normally be asked this as quickly as you sit dvery own as a litre bottle is served with eincredibly meal. Unfortunately, Italians don’t drink tap water at restaurants (although it is safe to drink).
Wine is a crucial part of an Italian meal
Enjoy a pre-dinner drink or aperitivo at a bar. This is normally a glass of wine or cocktail. My favourite is a Spritz made via Aperol (or Campari), prosecco, and also soda water. Bars constantly administer a snack via your drink such as potato chips, ostays, nuts, and/or focaccia. This helps keep us going till restaurants open up.Fill up on the aperitivo buffets that some bars sell for complimentary once you buy a drink in the early on evenings (usually from around 6-8pm). If you are on a tight budget, it might also be sufficient for dinner, which is why it’s well-known as apericena. Although it’s frowned upon if you eat too much—in basic it’s finest to stick with one plate of food per drink. The finest area for apericena is northern Italy, specifically Milan and Turin.
The classic aperitivo Spritz through accessibility to a huge vegan-friendly buffet expense €10 at Ketumbar in Rome
Simon hiking through the vineyards in the Barolo wine region
Learning to make pasta in Lecce, PugliaAsk for the bill/inspect (il conto). Restaurant staff will certainly not automatically carry it as they don’t desire to rush you. It deserve to take a while as they assume you’re not in a hurry.Enjoy a digestivo (after-dinner liquor) after your meal. The best ones are homemade and also they have the right to be bitter favor an amaro, sweet favor limoncello, or solid favor grappa. If your server provides you a digestivo after you’ve obtained your bill, it’s on the residence.
At Counattempt Housage Tavernola near Vieste they carried us five icy cold bottles of homemade digestivi—fennel flower, laurel, cinnamon, almond, and prickly pear (our favourite)—and also left us to help ourselves.

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Expect restaurants to be open up for cena (dinner) till 7.30pm or 8pm. Generally Italians eat dinner at restaurants about 9pm (previously in the north, later on in the south). Pizzerias frequently open previously at 7pm.Feel obliged to order eincredibly course—an antipasto (starter), primo (initially course), secondo (second course) via contorno (side dish), and also dolce (dessert) is many food. Pick and also pick as you please. You might likewise order an antipasto or primo and then decide afterwards if you’d favor to order an additional course.
Fave e cicoria (mashed fava beans with greens) is a typical Puglian dishOrder cappuccino after 10am. Later in the day, and also particularly after meals, stick with an espresso (ask for un caffè).
An Italian breakquick through a see at La Corte dei Pastori B&B in Matera
A typical Italian breakquick in a bar – a cornetto filled via nutellaEat in a gelateria that has actually bappropriate green mint or pistachio gelato—the ingredients won’t be herbal. Towering puffy piles are one more sign that they use chemicals. If the gelato is hidden away in metal tins, it’s a good sign it will be high quality.Go to a restaurant through a tourist food selection or through someone outside encouraging you to come in.
The lovely osteria (straightforward restaurant) Ai Cuattru Canti in Finalborgo, Liguria. Menus in Italian just are an excellent authorize.Eat in a pizzeria for lunch. The best areas only open up in the evenings as the wood-burning pizza range takes a long time to reach the appropriate temperature. During the day stick via pizza by the slice (pizza al taglio) offered from takeout areas.Order peperoni pizza unmuch less you want it topped with bell peppers. Order a salami pizza if you want it through meat.Ask for chicken or pineapple on your pizza. Italians think about this a travesty.Share a pizza—also youngsters have one to themselves.
Roman style thin crust pizza at Da Remo in Rome. In Naples the pizza has a thicker crust—try them both!
Takeameans pizza al taglio is the ideal option for pizza at lunch. You commonly pick how much you desire and pay by weight. This was at Il Pizzicotto in Lecce.
Ask for oil and vinegar to dip your bcheck out in. That’s not a real Italian thing. Breview is not offered through butter either.Eat bcheck out with your pasta. Instead, use it to fare la scarpetta (literally “make a tiny shoe”) and mop up the leftover sauce on your plate.Order spaghetti bolognese. It doesn’t exist in Italy. Instead, ask for tagliatelle al ragù in its hometvery own Bologna if you desire meat pasta.Ask for parmesan on your pasta. Italians are strict about what is supposed to have actually cheese on it and what’s not. You’ll be available parmesan if it’s appropriate.
Expect sophisticated salad dressings. Italian dressing doesn’t exist in Italy. Instead, you are offered via olive oil, vinegar, and also salt to dress your very own salad at the table. When the ingredients are this good, you don’t require anypoint even more.Expect complicated salads. If the food selection states tomato salad, it will simply be a plate of sliced tomatoes (probably with basil). Aacquire, you can acquire amethod via simplicity when the develop is fresh and flavourful.Be surprised if your salad turns up after your main. It’s not consumed as a side dish in Italy.
A straightforward but beautiful raw zucchini saladBe surprised by added charges on your bill. Restaurants commonly charge from €1-2.50 per perkid for pane e coperto (bcheck out and cover charge) even if you don’t desire the breview. It should be composed on the menu.Feel prefer you have to reminder. It’s optional.Assume all over takes credit cards. Many type of restaurants are cash just.Expect American-style company. Restaurant staff deserve to be a tiny brusque, particularly in the massive cities. Don’t take it personally.Be offfinished if you are turned amethod from an empty restaurant. They will have actually bookings for later in the evening, and in Italy you have the table for the totality night.Touch develop at market stalls. Tell the merchant what you desire (or point) and also they will pick items for you.Ask for food to go at restaurants. It’s not customary to gain a doggy bag through leftovers. Take out isn’t common either except at pizzerias. Even coffee isn’t ordered to go.Rush. Meals can last hours in Italy—savour them.

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Best Food in Italy: Regional Dishes to Try

If you are wondering what to eat in Italy, right here are some of our favourite dishes. Remember that food in Italy is strictly local, so you won’t uncover a lot of of these dishes all over the country.

Dishes discovered everywhere

Pizza Margherita – Found anywhere the country, pizza is, of course, a need to eat in Italy. It’s best in Naples however we also prefer the Roguy style with an ultra-thin and crispy base. Tbelow are other ranges, however the Margherita is a timeless for a factor.Parmigiana di Melanzana – One of my favourite points to eat in Italy is found greatly in the south—Puglia, Campania, and also Sicily. Layers of fried eggplant are baked through cheese and tomato sauce. It’s typically in the antipasti section of the menu yet sometimes it’s provided as a primo.Pasta al Pomodoro – Pasta offered with tomato sauce is simple but so delicious once it’s done well. It won’t be provided favor this on the menu; instead of pasta, it will certainly say the neighborhood array such as orecchiette al pomodoro in Puglia (a pasta shape which resembles bit ears).Penne
all’Arrabbiata – Brief tubes of pasta via a spicy tomato sauce. It originates from Rome but is discovered in many type of places.Bruschetta al Pomodoro – One of our favourite starters is a simple garlic-rubbed toast topped through fresh tomato, basil and olive oil. It likewise comes through other toppings.
Parmigiana di melanzana in Puglia

Lazio (Rome)

Pizza Bianca – This is the kind of pizza you gain in squares from a bakery or takeameans location not at a sit-down pizzeria. It’s ordinary dough (almost choose focaccia) drizzled via olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and also rosemary.Fresh out of the stove it’s divine. My favourite area for it is Antico Forno Roscioli in Rome’s historical centre.Pizza di Patate – Another type of delicious takeameans pizza slice features thinly sliced potatoes and no tomato sauce. Sometimes it comes with cheese.
Pizza rossa and pizza bianca from Antico Forno Roscioli in Rome

Liguria (Genoa, Portofino, Cinque Terre)

Trofie al Pesto – You deserve to discover pesto (a basil sauce) outside Liguria but it’s best in its house area. Trofie are little twists of pasta and also potatoes and green beans are periodically included to the dish.Pansotti alla salsa di noci – Cheese and also spinach stuffed ravioli with walnut sauce.Antipasti misto – The combined antipasti (appetiser) plates are superb in Liguria and also can be adjusted for vegetarians. They generally include torta di verdura, a local vegetable pie filled with cheese and greens or vegetables.Focaccia – Liguria renders the best focaccia we’ve had in Italy. This olive oil breview is eaten plain or topped with olives, tomatoes, onions or other ingredients. It’s marketed in bakeries and also you normally pay by weight.
Trofie al pesto

Tuscany kind of (Florence, Siena)

Panzanella – A salad of stale bread, tomatoes, onions, basil, and also occasionally cucumbers. It tastes much better than it sounds!Pappa al Pomodoro – Another usage for stale breview is this tasty tomato soup.Ribollita – A hearty winter bean and also vegetable soup (yep, there’s some stale bread in below too!).


Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa – Little ears pasta via turnip tops (a form of leafy green vegetable).Purea di Fave con Cicoria – Fava bean puree via bitter greens.Antipasti della Casa – The house antipasti is our favourite part of the meal in Puglia. It can be an extraordinarily large selection of vegetables, cheese, fried points and also much even more (mainly vegetarian). Only acquire one in between two people and sometimes even then you won’t have area for a primary course.

See our comprehensive overview to Puglia food for many type of even more references.

Campania (Naples, Amalfi Coast)

Don’t miss out on pizza in Naples!

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina – Simon’s favourite Italian dish (besides pizza). Gnocchi (potato dumplings) baked with tomato sauce, mozzarella and also basil.Insalata Caprese – The straightforward salad of tomato, mozzarella and basil originates from the island also of Capri.


Pasta alla Norma – Penne pasta in a tomato and also aubergine sauce topped through ricotta salata cheese.Busiate alla Trapanese – Long twisty pasta through a kind of pesto made from tomatoes, almonds, garlic and also basil.Pane con Panelle – Chickpea fritters in a roll is a famous street food in Palermo.

Our Sicilian food guide has lots more ideregarding try including the many sweets the island is famous for.

Emilia-Romagna (Bologna, Modena)

Emilia-Romagna has actually some of the ideal food to eat in Italy. Aside from parmesan cheese and aged balsamic vinegar, you need to likewise try:

Tortelloni– Pasta parcels stuffed with ricotta and also herbs. Vegetarians have to get the sage and also butter sauce quite than the ragù. Tortellini are similar yet smaller sized and filled through meat.

See more: Why Are Lunar Eclipses More Commonly Seen Than Solar Eclipses?

Tortelloni and also Lambrusco wine at Da Danilo in Modena

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Best Places to Eat in Italy

Our favourite place to eat in Italy is Masseria Il Frantoio, an olive farm via accommodation in Puglia wright here we indulged in an eight-course tasting menu making use of create and also olive oil from the farm. It’s likewise our favourite area to remain in all of Italy.

Otherwise, we’ve consumed in so many type of exceptional restaurants that it’s tough to choose favourites. When selecting where to eat in Italy you can watch our restaurant referrals by location in these posts: