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La Bella Vita: Italian eating habits and the best cultural events this spring

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected] • 12 Mar, 2023 Updated Sun 12 Mar 2023 11:00 CEST
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Planning to eat at an Italian restaurant? Make sure you're not too early for dinner. Photo by Stefano Vigorelli on Unsplash

From making the most of travel in Italy this spring to eating on an Italian schedule, weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.


La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in 'My Account' or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

Spring is in the air already, at least here in my corner of southern Italy. The coming warm (but not yet scorching hot) months are the ideal time to travel, whether you’re a regular visitor or have lived here for many years. I don't know about you, but I always think it would take a couple of lifetimes to fully explore this incredibly diverse country.


There’s clearly no shortage of places to go - the question is, where first? If you're looking for Italian travel inspiration, you could do worse than timing a trip to coincide with one of the cultural or sporting events coming up around Italy: from Sicily to the Dolomites, we've put together a selection of some of the most interesting fairs and festivals this spring:

Italy’s best events to catch in spring 2023

If you are travelling soon, don’t forget your umbrella as many parts of Italy can expect plenty of rain in the coming weeks. Milan in particular is known for being wet, but the positive side of this is that the city is well prepared for it and offers plenty of interesting things to do, whatever the weather. From sampling local delicacies at the Mercato Centrale to settling in with a good book at your new favourite caffè letterario, The Local's reporter in Milan has put together a guide to making the most of a rainy day in the city: 

Seven things to do in Milan on a rainy day

What time is dinner time in Italy? If you’ve spent many summer evenings here, you’ll probably say “very late”. But like so many other things about Italian life, it really depends: on factors including which part of the country you’re in and even the time of year. If you're planning to book a restaurant or want to invite your Italian friends or neighbours over for dinner, here's what you can expect:

What time do people eat dinner in Italy?

An Italian family enjoying an outdoor meal. Eating habits vary around the country, but Italian mealtimes are sacred. Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash


One thing we can be sure about is that, whatever time each family decides on, mealtimes in Italy tend to be fixed - and meals are never to be skipped or eaten on the go. From the right places and times to eat, to the types of food that should be eaten, habits in Italy tend to be almost regimented in a way that outsiders often find surprising. Our writer Silvia Marchetti explains the logic behind Italians' famously particular eating habits in her latest article below:

Three meals a day on schedule: Why do Italians have such fixed eating habits?

For language learners: once you've got some basic Italian phrases under your belt, what's next? No doubt you've dutifully studied your lists of nouns and verb conjugations, but the words I found most helpful in everyday life when I first moved to Italy were of a different sort. Here's a list of just 12 of the most useful little words that go a long way, especially if you're not (yet) fluent.

12 of the most useful Italian words you need to know

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Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you'd like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]



Clare Speak 2023/03/12 11:00

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