Buon Appetito!

So, you arrived in Italy yesterday, have rested well at your hotel and today you have begun exploring one of the most wonderful countries in the world...and now you are hungry! When looking for food, you could not be in a better place.

From simple restaurants along the usual touristic routes (fig. 1) to the ubiquitous paninoteca (fig. 2) where sandwiches and soft drinks can be purchased and eaten on-the-go, the choices and prices are so numerous indeed. However, if you observe the Italians, you will likely see them looking for a small, quaint tavern (fig. 3) or a friendly Osteria (fig. 4), commonly found around small towns and villages. Of course, more elegant and trendy restaurants (fig. 5) are available to the well-informed visitor, whereas the young crowds are often found in McDonalds (fig. 6) or other local fast food restaurants. Pizzerias (fig. 7) are everywhere and most Italians have their favorite spot in town, where they enjoy cultivating their friendships with their trusted pizzaiolo. Wine bars offering scrumptious local cheeses, fruits and crusty breads (fig. 8) are now fairly popular, but pasta prepared with local recipes (fig. 9) remains the most popular food. Grilled meats and seafood (figs. 10, 11) are always on demand, despite diets and changing trends. Restaurants offering fresh fish (fig. 12) can be found around sea towns throughout Italy, often offering their diners their choice of fish for dinner... as long as one is willing to wait!

This trattoria in Trastevere, one of the most authentic sections of Rome, had a beautiful sidewalk display (fig. 13) of their dishes; so difficult to resist. In fact, we had a great pranzo, which lasted almost three hours. The espresso and a perfect gelato at the end (fig. 14) were an unmatched conclusion to a glorious Italian meal!

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