Food in Italy

by Andrea Segura - Friday, March 3, 2017

Depending on where you are traveling, Italy offers delicious excursions for your taste buds, which vary by region. From Alpine traditional food, to seafood to haute cuisine, there will be something for everyone.

Breakfast

Italian hotels typically serve a traditional continental-style breakfast but many 3-4 star hotels are now serving buffet breakfasts. Most breakfasts now include ham, cheese, cereal (although sometimes the sweetened kind only) or muesli, toast and bread, milk, and sometimes yogurt. In some cases, you might find fresh fruit or fruit salad, along with more varieties of breakfast sweets. If you need a more satisfying fill you can buy grocery supplies at a grocery store (“Alimentari”) in the morning, usually after 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. You can also buy fresh fruit at a “frutta e verdura” store. Buy fresh bread and focaccia at a bakery or “forno.” The traditional breakfast for an Italian is a pastry and a cappuccino in a bar.

Lunch

For a quick lunch on the road, most bars will have ready-made sandwiches. You can also get drinks and ice cream too.

An alternative is to have a grocery store make you a sandwich. If they are not too busy they will gladly make a sandwich with cheese (formaggio) or ham (prosciutto). The other option, of course, is to buy your own bread, a hunk of cheese, some tomatoes, olives, fruit, etc., and put together your own picnic lunch. If you seek a more serious lunch of pasta or pasta and a main course, look for a “ristorante” or “trattoria” (those with half a dozen delivery or cargo trucks parked outside) between noon and 1:30 p.m. These are truckers’ restaurants and offer the best value in price and quality. Some restaurants have lunch menus that include a first course, second course and coffee and water.

Snacks

For snacks along the way, the following are easily found in bars or grocery stores: gelato (ice cream), cappuccino or coffee, pastries, focaccia, fruit, beer, juice, and water. Special treats may include a cool “lemonsoda” (carbonated lemonade) or home-made “gelato” at a “gelateria artigianale.”

Also, Tour Leaders with our van will be there to make sure you have snacks along your way.

Dinner

For dinners not included in the tour, we will provide suggestions during the trip. You can usually find a light dinner of pizza or soup and salad, or a full four-course meal (pasta, main course, vegetable, dessert, wine, and water).

Dietary preferences

Vegetarians can enjoy abundant grilled veggies, pasta and risotto dishes, as well as pizza. Pescatarians will be pleased with the amount of fresh seafood available. Folks who don’t eat dairy can also enjoy pasta and risotto dishes, but variety will be limited to mostly tomato, oil & garlic-based dishes or veggies of the season. Bean and lentil soups exist (especially in Tuscany) but are not always available, and may be made with beef or chicken stock. Soy milk is available in grocery stores and cafés.

Please make sure you’ve notified us of your dietary restrictions prior to your tour departure.

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