Travel Series: ANDIAMO IN ITALIA
Ah summer in Italy, the land of enchantment. And those fun loving Italians, so welcoming, so tolerant, so accommodating.
And they are very hospitable. They love visitors and are determined to show off their beautiful cities, their enchanting landscape, and their incomparable cuisine. But, although you will rarely hear about it from them, there are unspoken rules in Italy, a secret Italian code of conduct that you breach at your peril. Well out of earshot, Italians are frequently known to comment on foreigners who fanno una bella figura - "make a good impression" and those who, in the eyes of gli italiani, fanno una brutta figura. If you stray far enough from the boundaries of good behavior, you will almost certainly be corrected by an embarrassed waiter or concierge. Here are the rules:
- Milk in coffee only before lunch, or in the form of caffè machiato, literally coffee with a "spot" of foam milk. – Un cappuccino should never be ordered after pranzo (lunch) or cena (dinner). It is primarily considered a drink for colazione (breakfast) and, if you must, you could have one at tea time (around 4pm for a little pick-me-up when the shops open up after siesta). But that's it! The Italian caffè (espresso) is really out of this world but, if you can't drink coffee without milk and you are outside of approved cappuccino times, order a machiato. And, BTW, if you take your coffee at the bar of un bar (café), you generally need to pay first and it will be cheaper than if you sit at a table.
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