What can be better than visiting Italy?  Eating the food in Italy!

Here are some tips that will help you eat like a local:

Choose the right restaurant–

  • When the sign says Authentic Trattoria but the menu is in 12 different languages, walk on by
  • When there is a “host” standing in the front (or worse-outside), walk on by.  Most great local restaurants don’t need one

Don’t butter your bread–

  • Most Italians don’t butter their bread.  Some may use olive oil but many will use the bread as a utensil— to help scoop up the food before putting it in your mouth!

Salad doesn’t come before the meal—

  • In the US, we eat salad first but not so in Italy.  Salad will come with the main plate.
  • Don’t expect mixed salad dressing.  Just use the oil and vinegar which will be on the table.

Eating Pasta is an art—

  • Never cut pasta with a knife and fork and never use a spoon to swirl your spaghetti.  The only utensil Italians use for their pasta is a fork.
  • If you want pasta with meat, it’s call ragu style
  • If you want a cream sauce, then order pasta with panna
  • Serving spaghetti with meatballs is not Italian.  If you want meatballs, order Polpette as a 2nd course.

Coffee etiquette–

  • Cappuccino is for the morning only.  Don’t make the mistake of ordering it after dinner
  • If you want a coffee after your meal, order expresso
  • If you are in a cafe and you just want to sit down and have a cup of coffee, the charge will be 2 or 3 times as much as if you stand to drink your coffee.

Tipping in Italy–

  • Tipping in Italy is very different than tipping in the US where we typically leave between 15 and 20%.
  • If there is a service charge (servizio) listed on the menu, then no tipping is required or expected.
  • If there is no service charge listed, the standard tip would be 5-10%.
  • If you’re not sure if the service charge has been added it, you can ask for an itemized bill (il conto dettagliato)

The experienced team at My Vacation Lady can help you plan your vacation or honeymoon to Italy.  We can assist in planning cooking classes, culinary experiences and cultural experiences to make your vacation or honeymoon to be as unique as you are.

Thank you to the Bettoja Hotels for these great tips.