2. Croissant and cappuccino

cappuccio e brioche
A classic croissant and cappuccino at the bar

The breakfast in Italy:

In Italy you can joke about everything with the exception of three things: the mother, the favorite sport team and cooking. The Italian cuisine is loved and envied around the world, but considering pasta and pizza many people underestimate an essential and distinctive Italian meal that distinguishes them: the breakfast. It’s a crucial moment because it’s the first food intake following an overnight fast and then has to provide quick energy to face the new day. In contrast to the breakfast of northern Europe (so called “international“) which presents very high calorie and salty foods like eggs, cheese, ham and butter accompanied by tea or a fruit juice, in Italy (and France) the “continentalsweet breakfast dominates: croissants, bread and jam / chocolate, biscuits, pastries and cakes, together with coffee, white coffee or tea are the protagonists of laid tables of houses throughout Italy. However if you want to enjoy breakfast at its highest level there are exceptional places where to go: bars.

SICILY, showcase full of pastries in a pastry-bar

The ritual of breakfast at the bar:

The bar is the heart of every Italian town: there is no place where – besides the church and the main square -there is no bar.  Here every day from 6:00 am to 10:00 am people of all ages begin a whirling dance in and out of its doors to have breakfast. In fact, if someone allows himself to eat breakfast at the bar only in days off, there are many people that every single day are at the lunch counter. It’s a kind of daily ritual: same time, same identical order, exactly the same table; it often happens that’s a meeting place with partner or friends: “See you at the bar” is the beginning of every nice day. The absolute protagonist is the frothy cappuccino, sometimes decorated like a work of milk art, probably invented in Vienna but that during the twentieth century has become an emblem of Italianity; to accompany it can not miss a croissant (in Italy also called “cornetto” or brioche depending by latitude) with distinctive crescent-shape, or even better pastries (or “paste” as they are called in Southern Italy). Colorful and delicious, hand-made in a thousand of different forms, the pastries are a pleasure for the palate and specialties and tastes change depending on the Italian regions: sometimes cream and chocolate prevail, sometimes ricotta or mascarpone… However, their sweetness is overwhelming!

roma bar a trastevere2
ROMA, an open air bar in Trastevere

The best way to feel Italian:

Sitting at a table of a bar or simply leaning on the counter, you can appreciate and experience the real Italian life, especially in a small town. You can attend what looks like a movie scene: hearing small talk of the people coming in and out, their problems and their joys, shrill voices of children or slow proverbial words of the elderly, interspersed by moments of silence when they relish a cappuccino or taste a croissant. Replicating all this personally – with the greatest calm – is the best way to feel Italian, even better if at the bar Giolitti in Rome,  at the historic Caffé Florian or at Harry’s Bar in Venice, at Camparino in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, or in a small town of Tuscany or Southern Italy. Spending time talking to a waitress – if possible – to ask questions, any must-see destinations or restaurants, will make it even more pleasant.

In short, breakfast of your hotel may be more comfortable and plentiful, but there is no better way to feel like Italian and breathe the life of a town or an Italian city than getting in touch with their citizens. Undoubtedly having breakfast at the bar is the easiest way to do this.