UW Rome Center


Your eating habits may change as you become accustomed to Italian eating and dining customs. Italians often have breakfast in a bar, ordering a cappuccino and a cornetto (croissant) or other pastry. Bars also have soft drinks, fruit juice, spremute (fresh squeezed fruit juice) and tramezzini or panini (sandwiches). Food and beverages served at a table cost twice as much as they do if you stand at the counter. If you’re not going to sit down, pay at the cash register first (tell the cashier what you will order). Take your scontrino (receipt) and place your order at the counter.

Italian lunches and dinners are often long, with several courses, sometimes antipasto (appetizer), primo piatto, (first course; usually soup, pasta or rice dish) and secondo, (meat or fish) with insalata (salad) or contorno (cooked vegetables) with the secondo. You are not required to order all courses, and some restaurants have economically-priced “tourist menus”. Many restaurants charge a coperto (cover charge)–usually between E.2-3 per person. Check menus for prices before sitting down.

For a quick lunch, pizza rustica shops (also called pizza al taglio – by the slice) sell a wide variety of kinds of pizza and charge by the weight of each slice.

There are many small supermarkets in Rome’s historic center that are open all day, every day including Sundays.  Open-air markets sell fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as some cheeses and meats and are generally open Monday through Saturday from 8:00am to about 2:00pm. You can also buy cheese, sandwich meat and other groceries in alimentari (small grocery stores) or in a supermarket (supermercato). Separate shops usually sell meat and fish. Alimentari are open in the morning until lunch time and in the afternoon, but are closed on Sunday. Bread and plain pizza (pizza bianca–“white”–with just olive oil & salt, or pizza rossa–red–with just tomato sauce) can be purchased at a forno (bakery). Fresh milk is sold in a latteria (dairy products shop), in some bars or alimentari, and in supermarkets. The drinking water in Rome is not only safe, but is also rich in minerals and tastes very good.