Dining tips while on a family holiday in Italy

Italy is famous for many things, but one thing will certainly be on your mind when you book a holiday here: the food.

Italians take their food very seriously, and children, no matter how young, are welcome at most places – which is great news for visitors. But there is far more to Italy than pizza and pasta, and it can be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the way the locals eat out to improve your dining experiences when you spend a week or two in the country.

Where to eat pizza
Pizza is important in Italy and it has a long history in the country. You will find excellent pizza served all over the place, from the largest cities to the smallest towns. The place to look out for is the “pizzeria”, and these are usually quite casual places to eat.

Every area has its own style of pizza. One of the most well-known is the “napolitana” from Naples, so make sure you try one if you plan to visit the city on your multi-centre holiday.

If you just want to sample a quick slice rather than a whole pizza, look out for “pizza a taglio”.

Ready-made food
For a quick ready-made bite to take away, look out for a “rosticceria”. You will usually spot these because they have chickens cooking on a spit in the window.

Alternatively, find a “tavola calda”, which will provide hot rustic meals to take away or eat in. If you do eat in, you will usually find it a very casual establishment.

Quick snacks in a bar
To save some money when you don't want to eat out, head to a bar instead. Bars serve food as well as drinks, and you can either sit at a table or stand at the bar. Standing is always the cheaper option, and it is perfect to grab a quick sandwich. 

Eating at standard restaurants
If you are looking for a restaurant, you will want to look for something called a “ristorante” or “trattoria”. These names used to mean different things, but now they mean the same. However, “trattoria” is more commonly used these days for more fancy restaurants.

When you head to any type of restaurant with waiter service, you will usually be charged a “pane e coperto”, which is the service charge. This includes the tip, but you can always leave a bit extra if you want to.

One of the easiest and most cost-effective options when you eat out at a restaurant is to choose the “menu turistico”. This is not available at all restaurants, but it is quite common in bigger restaurants and in the cities.

This is a set-price menu that includes everything, such as the cover, the wine, and the service charge. However, it does not always include the most tasty dishes so it is really just an option if you want to save a bit of money when eating out.

Enjoy one of life's great pleasures
Eating out in Italy is a true joy no matter where you go. Whether you want to enjoy the best pizza in the world, or you want to try out as many different meals as possible, keep these tips in mind during your trip and get the most from the experience of eating out.

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