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Italians are very proud of their cuisine and rightly so, for their food is renowned throughout the world. Italian cooking is still very regional with the different towns and regions having their own traditions and specialities.
You should take the time to travel and discover their origins and taste the different dishes and delicacies in the many restaurants and taverns all around Italy.
You will discover a much wider variety of food compared to the dishes often offered in Italian restaurants abroad.
At home Italians do not usually have a very elaborate breakfast.
It is often nothing more than a cup of coffee with something sweet to eat.
Many Italians have breakfast on their way to work, stopping off in their favourite bar for an espresso or a cappuccino with a cornetto (sweet pastry often filled with jam, cream or chocolate).
Having a cup of coffee at the bar is a daily Italian ritual, at breakfast, mid-morning or after lunch.
Whether it is an espresso coffee, a cappuccino or one of the many other versions of coffee in Italy, it is generally consumed standing at the bar rather than sitting down at a table.
Lunch is typically the main meal of the day with Italians often returning home to have a meal with the family.
The first course (primo) is normally pasta in one version or another and cooked in different ways with a variety of sauces. In the North of Italy rice in the form of risotto is also a common alternative to pasta, although even the choice of pasta follows regional variations!
The main course (secondo) usually features meat or fish with vegetables or salad. This is often followed by fresh fruit or perhaps a dessert at the weekend.
Italy offers a great range of wines famous all over the world and many people will still enjoy a glass of wine with their meal although there is a tendency to drink wine only on special occasions rather than as an everyday drink.
The evening meal is typically lighter (soups, salad, cold meats, cheeses, vegetables and fruit) but in the larger cities many people are not able to return home for lunch and may now have their main meal in the evening when the whole family can gather round the table and discuss the days events.