Italian restaurants in Italy are usually open as follows: lunch time 12 pm-2.30 pm dinner time 7.30 -10.30 pm. Italians have lunch around 1 pm and dinner around 8 pm. Some restaurants request a reservation some other are more flexible. On weekends it’s better to book to make sure you find a table. Restaurants in downtown area are open from 11 am to 11 pm….. food is served at anytime, quality maybe not ☺
Breakfast of most of the Italians is fast and light: at home a cup of coffee, or tea or maybe a caffelatte and some sweets like cookies, a piece of cake or yogurt and cereals. Cheese and eggs are not typical for us so most of local Cafè offer this kind of breakfast and they may offer “American breakfast” for foreign travelers.
The difference between a Cafeteria, Coffee place and a Bar
An Italian bar is the center of social life in Italy, we go in the morning for breakfast (Cappuccino and Cornetto!) standing at the counter, we go back midday for a quick coffee, lunch time for a snack such as a salad or a panino, or a sandwich and then again afternoon tea, coffee or an aperitive with friends where to enjoy a drink (with or without alcohol) and some finger food. So it’s all in one place! Check for the sign “Bar” and you are in the right place! Of course some Bars also serve a great homemade gelato!! Prices listes on the price list at the counter are usually for for consuming at the counter (Al Banco) If you seat down you might be charged for table service and prices may be much higher.
Espresso and Cappuccino
Espresso is the magic moment for the Italians who love to indulge in a quick but intense moment of real pleasure….. This is why an espresso is usually consumed at the counter (no sitting) and during the day many Italians may have 3/4/5 coffees as a quick break from work. Cappuccino is a breakfast tradition usually accompanied by a fragrant croissant or a pastry. It’s hard, very hard to see an Italian drinking a cappuccino after lunch. It’s impossible to see an Italian drinking a cappuccino with his/her meal. It’s a sacrilege!
Happy hour better known as “Aperitivo”
Aperitivo is the trend of the moment: some places are really specialized on serving amazing and rich “all you can eat buffet” for the price of a drink (approx. 10/12 euros) . The Bars after 6 pm become real gathering places where to meet friends and have some good time together. Together with your buffet meal you can have a beer, a glass of wine or prosecco (sparkling wine) or maybe a Spritz the most famous Aperitive Cocktail in Italy.
Started in Venice Spritz is now served in all the Italian Peninsula with few variations to the original recipe but still pretty original. Based on wine (or prosecco), Aperol or Campari and seltz it’s an “easy to drink” cocktail not too strong but still containing few alcohol in it. So after a long day walking and visiting the city it’s time for a relaxing moment sitting on a Bar and enjoying a refreshing Spritz. Cheers!
Catching a bus
While in Rome you can transfer to the different areas of Rome walking (almost everywhere), by taxi (or Uber) or you can catch a public bus or ride the subway train. Before entering make sure you get a ticket and don’t forget to validate your tickets before entering the metro or when you enter the bus at the machine situated near the entrance. The bus stops will be announced on a monitor. This is probably the best way to live Rome as a local. Be careful of pickpockets take care of your personal belonging during the ride!!!
Planning your trip
When you travel to Rome and Italy don’t forget to plan all different steps of your vacation including train tickets to transfer from city to city or museums reservation. Some museums may be very busy (i.e. Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Vatican Museums in Rome, Last Supper in Milan) so better to go online and buy the Entrance tickets in advance! If you are planning to enjoy the city with a local guide no worries! All tickets reservation will be taken care during your reservation request.
Tips in Italy
In many countries tipping is customary in many circumstances for service, especially at almost all sit-down restaurants which offer table service and many food servers depend on tips as an essential part of their wage. Tipping a taxi driver or a private car driver is also good manner such as any person offering you a professional service (tour guides, private drivers, bell service at the hotel, room maid etc. The amount is not given (it starts from few coins to several euros), it is really “up to you” and it’s related to your personal gratitude to the service provided.