ITALIAN MEALS

Breakfasts
In Italy, a breakfast consists of a cappuccino and, possibly, a small snack (e.g. a brioche). Italians may have that at home or standing up at their preferred caffe'/bar. (NOTE: A “bar” in Italy does NOT correspond to a “bar” in NA. The closest comparison could be a cafeteria OR one of the various NA coffee shops like Starbucks.).

An hotel or a B&B, may provide you a wider selection of "breakfast snacks" or, if more upscale, a more northern european or North American breakfast. BUT, if you like a more substantial meal, you may have to find something to complement your breakfast in a caffe'/bar or an early open delicatessen/bakery store
.

Lunch and dinners
In Italy, lunch and supper are two major meals, the first is between 12:30-2 pm, the second from 8 to 10 pm. These meals are not a half an hour-hour deal, and no one expects you to rush through or leave anytime soon (very different from NA). You may sit down for two to three hours, tasting and enjoying your several courses....
Be prepared for lots of food in several courses.
  • First, the antipasto........ it can range from a specific order (e.g. seasoned cheese and such) to a large selection of various cold cuts (prociutto, salame, etc.), fresh cheeses, etc. We have seen various tourists "diving in" the great appetizers (antipasto) without realizing that the meal had
    just started......

  • And then il "primo" (i.e. the first course) arrives. Il primo usually consists of pasta, risotto or soup. The serving tends to be smaller than a serving in NA.

  • Il primo is followed by "il secondo", that is the second course (i.e. a meat or fish course), followed by un contorno, i.e. side dish, usually vegetables, potatoes etc. and, possibly a dessert.....
As you look at the menu, you are not expected to order all the courses, rather you can pick and choose as you like.

Wine
If you want to enjoy a glass of wine, consider getting the "house wine". You will be surprised by the quality. While there is nothing wrong in ordering a bottle of wine from the wine list, the house wine will surpass the quality of some of the wine that you buy at home and it will cost a fraction.
TIP: If you are uncertain about the value of a restaurant or trattoria, and whether it caters to tourists or locals, check the menu posted outside the premises for the cost of the house wine..... If they don't have "house wine", the odds are the establishment caters to tourists and you will be paying top money for just a half a bottle of wine.

A "light lunch" meal
If at lunch you do not feel sitting at a restaurant/trattoria or osteria, but you'd rather walk and tour, you may want to consider
buying a snack in deli stores (called "pizzicheria" or "tavola calda"). There you can have a slice of pizza (called "Pizza al taglio", or other traditional italian deli like croquettes, suppli's etc. ).