Shopping and meals in Italy

Most shops in Italy are open from 9:00 to 1:00 and from 3:30 or 4 to 7:30. The prices displayed include taxes. Many of the better places for lunch don’t open until 12:30 or 1:00PM and it is often difficult to find a good restaurant that opens for the evening meal before 7:30 or 8:00PM. Note that most eating places display a menu outside and many of them show a pane e coperta--bread and cover charge--per person. Sometimes service, servizio, is included in the prices and any added tip would be nominal. Pizzarias usually offer the lowest priced meals. Trattorias include more choices and Ristorantes the higher prices. Most places serve your meal in courses. Soft drinks are quite expensive. Bottled waters are more reasonable, especially if sharing a liter with the table. For some reason Italian eateries resist separate tickets at the table. You can always ask for separate tickets, but be prepared to split the bill among yourselves if you are eating out in groups. There are many opportunities on the street for great, inexpensive fast food snacks or meals, tasty sandwiches, and remarkable pizza by the slice. One of our favorites is potato pizza. We do recommend poking around in an Alimentari or a Supermercato (grocery store) for cultural and culinary enrichment. You can find good prices there for chocolates, spice mixes, and pastas to bring home for gifts.

Italy is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and Rome gets a major share. Flexibility and pazienze are required. We hope you will understand if conditions on the ground cause us to alter plans and substitute sights on this tour. The hospitable Italians make the visit fun—they are a population of actors and most of them are so very good.