Italy is a country rich in history and culture, a place where tradition meets innovation. With a vibrant arts and cultural scene, a diverse population, and breathtaking landscapes, Italy is a great place to explore on a trip abroad.

Food & Drink

The Italians enjoy a rich and varied cuisine with a wide range of delicious dishes. They also have a strong passion for wine. A good meal in Italy includes a variety of appetizers, pasta, meat and fish entrees, side dishes, desserts and coffee or tea.

When visiting a restaurant in Italy, it’s important to understand the menu before you order. This way, you can avoid ordering something you won’t be able to eat or that isn’t available on the menu.

Antipasti (appetizers)

You’ll find a range of traditional antipasto items on the Italian menu including cheese, salami, prosciutto, and breads. Some restaurants even serve a special antipasto platter that includes the antipasti as well as other small dishes and snacks.

Primi and Secondi

The first course is typically soup, pasta, risotto or gnocchi with some sort of meat or fish entree. It’s served with a salad or vegetables as sides called contorni and is usually priced separately.

It is also common to order a side dish that isn’t included in the main course price, like polenta or potatoes, to accompany your pasta.


You can’t go wrong with a pizza in Italy! Choose from a huge selection of toppings, ranging from tomatoes and basil to sausage and olives. A pizza al taglio, or by the slice, is another popular choice.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, but don’t overdo it. Some pizzas have a lot of extra toppings that can overpower the flavor of the cheese and dough.

Other Italian dishes include grilled steak, calzones and pasta carbonara. If you have a preference, ask the waiter for recommendations before ordering.

Opera / Melodramma

The development of opera began in the 17th century in Italy and is today the world’s leading form of entertainment. Originally a luxury art for the upper classes, the popularity of the melodramma spread across Europe in the 18th century.

Painting and Other Arts

In the 1400s, Florence developed a strong art tradition. During this time, the guilds* of the city commissioned artists to create works that reflected their social and religious beliefs. These works were often in the classical* style, which reintroduced principles of proportion and balance. Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo and Botticelli, contributed to this artistic style.


In addition to sculptures in the public domain, many of Florence’s landmark buildings feature statues of local heroes and gods. For example, the Orsanmichele, the city’s granary, features statues of each guild’s patron saint. Throughout the city, you’ll see sculptures of David, the biblical hero who slew Goliath.

The most famous depiction of David is Michelangelo’s David (1504), which was modeled on ancient Greek sculpture. The city’s cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, also features a statue of the apostle John. Its dome still dominates the skyline.

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