Italians are picky about their food and they eat a lot. In Italy it is not unusual that a three course meal actually consists of seventeen different kinds of food. Every time you get offered a new plate, be aware that it’s probably not the last..
It starts out with an ‘Antipasto‘; small assorted dishes like mozzarella, cheese, ham, artichokes or other vegetables, sea fruits or olives. Then comes ‘Primo‘; pasta, risotto or soup. For ‘Secondo‘ you can choose between fish or meat.
For your fish and meat you’ll not get anything else on your plate, unless you request it. Side dishes like vegetables and potatoes are called ‘Contorni‘.
Coming from another country it might be difficult to distinguish a good restaurant in Italy from a less fortunate one. However, if it’s full of Italians, and you don’t see any foreigners, it’s probably a good choice.
Remember that Italians eat lunch at 13:00 and dinner at 20:00. All shops are therefore closed after 13:00. They reopen again at 17:00 and close normally at 20.00.
Pizza is not an ordinary lunch meal for Italians – however the pasta is indeed. A lot of people make their own pasta at home once in a while. I’ve never seen anyone use any fancy pasta machine, it’s all by hand.