Living in Italy has been a dream, but I won’t lie and tell you that I have been caught off guard or confused by a number of things. While at first something was a bit difficult and frustrating, I have now learned to love and appreciate the customs behind them. Rome is a city full of culture and tradition, and I am just grateful to be able to experience it.
This one I find quite funny. The first time My roommates and I went out to eat at a restaurant we were kindly greeted by a waiter asking if we wanted water. With the temperature outside being extremely hot, we all quickly said yes. The waiter brought out the first glass bottle of water. Fancy, we thought. We soon drank the bottle and proceeded to ask for another. Soon enough, we each drank a Liter glass bottle of water. When we received the check we then realized the water wasn’t free. Let’s just say, that was the last time we all treated ourselves to that much water at dinner.
However, what is funny is the fact that all throughout the city of Rome, water is free! Throughout the city, there are fountains that continuously pour cold fresh spring water. These are called Nasone. Nasoni began somewhere in the late 1800s. They were installed in order to provide the city with a freshwater supply. To this day, the nasoni are enjoyed by everyone all throughout Rome.
At first, it seemed silly to me that restaurants would charge for water when the city was flowing with water all around, but I suppose that is simply that I should accompany my dinner with a nice glass of wine.
I didn’t realize how much of an occasion dinner actually was. I had heard that Italians had long dinners, however, i didn’t realize they were this long, and this late! It seemed odd that the most popular restaurant in town was empty at 7:00 pm, or even that the local pizza places did not open until 6:30 pm. However, at 9:00 pm it was practically impossible to find a place to sit.
I won’t lie, it was a hard adjustment. By 6:00 our tummies were grumbling, but we soon were able to adjust to the culture and enjoy late dinners.
In America, we are used to going to any restaurant and having the opportunity to eat just about any type of food you are craving. At Red Robin, you can find salads and chicken tenders. Even at coffee shops such as Starbucks, you can find pastries and even sandwiches!
However, in Rome, there aren’t many options. You get to choose between 5 different kinds of pasta and 5 different pizzas.
However since the menu is so small, whatever you order is sure to be delicious!
Coffee: a sensitive topic. While there are a lot of rules to coffee, I find them quite charming. Cappuccinos after 11:00am are a big no, no. Italian breakfast tends to be small and sweet. Usually a pastry or a cookie. When ordering a Cappuccino, the milk in the drink is what balances out the lightest of the breakfast and makes it a heavier breakfast, In comparison to an espresso which does not fill. Therefore cappuccinos are strictly for breakfast.
If it’s after 11 and you are craving coffee, there are espressos. Espresso Macchiatos are espresso shots with a few drops of milk. Keep in mind, it is a shot. Not a full-size “venti” drink. While I sometimes do miss my liter of coffee in the morning, I also have learned to love and appreciate the art of Italian Coffee. Pope Clement VIII Blessed the coffee for everyone to drink in the 1600s after he declared that the black satanic drink was delicious and everyone had to try it! Therefore, in honor of Pope Clement VIII, I shall drink my daily cappuccino.
Yazka is a fall 2021 Rome student from Belmont University.