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Dining in Italy is a celebration. The dishes are prepared and served fresh along with the appropriate wines, leaving plenty of time between courses to visit, joke, laugh, and have a great time. Between dishes is a time used to get up and move around the table and get to know other guests. Being social and active is part of the celebrated experience. Rushing is not allowed, so be prepared for an experience that will last throughout the evening. After the coffee, when you have a look at your watch, you may be surprised that your dinner lasted four or more hours. Viva Italia!
The meal consists of five essential courses:
Appetizer or Antipasto
First Course or Primo
Second Course or Secondo
Side Dish or Contorno
Dessert or Dolce
In addition to the essentials, an Aperitivo is the celebratory beginning of most Italian meals. It’s also not unusual to find a salad and cheese dish added. And to round out the event, espresso and after dinner drinks always make up the grand finale.