Taste delicious Italian cuisine with a wonderful view

Taste delicious Italian cuisine with a wonderful view

Nicola Kopij Zanin Nicola Kopij Zanin

Nicola Kopij Zanin

Mediterranean cuisine is art meets science, and that’s certainly true for the Italian one. Many of us have made – or at least tried to – a delicious dish of pasta, pizza, or gnocchi. However, there is much more to discover. Did you know that a traditional Italian meal consists of 10 courses? Although this full-course structure is usually only served on special occasions, you can surprise your family or enhance your Viewnary experience by making (or ordering) one yourself. As the Italian saying goes, “L’appetito vien mangiando” – or “the appetite comes while you are eating”.


The aperitivo is served first. This course isn’t a dish, but rather a combination of a (bubbly) beverage with some small appetizers. Think prosecco, spumante, or wine together with olives, nuts, or cheeses. The next time you’re in Rome, pair an exclusive aperitivo with an amazing view over the famous Spanish Steps


An antipasti is a slightly heavier course which often consists of a charcuterie platter with salame, prosciutto, or mortadella, together with breads and cheeses. Typical breads include ciabatta and focaccia. You can also throw in a bruschetta and cold salmon or tuna.

Italian aperitivo on a table overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome


This course is where the hot “real food” comes into play. In fact, some of the most mainstream dishes known around the world belong to the primi. Dishes like pasta, risotto and gnocchi will be served here. In addition, premium ingredients like truffle may be used. Meat is usually not served with the primi. If you want to indulge in an unforgettable primi, request an authentic culinary experience at this majestic Venetian palace overlooking the Grand Canal. 


To the meat-lovers: this course will be your favorite. The secondi includes various meats and seafood dishes which often differ by region. You will find everything from lamb, beef, pork and chicken to a grilled meat or roast. In the coastal places, there’s a good chance you will find seafood options as well. Popular dishes will include different types of fish, shrimp and lobster. The secondi is sometimes split into two dishes, in which case you may get a sorbet palate cleanser. Examples of popular secondi dishes are Saltimbocca alla Romana, Steak Tartare and variations of calamari.


Served alongside secondi are the contorni dishes. To compliment the meat and seafood, contorni dishes are vegetable-based and served on different plates in order to avoid mixing flavors. Popular items include Ciammotta, Aubergine Parmigiana, and Cipolle al forno.


Insalata is a salad dish like Insalata Caprese and Insalata di riso. If the contorni dishes have many vegetables in them, the insalata may not even be served.

Italian dishes on a white table


Now that the heavier courses are out of the way, the meal tapers down to smaller bites again. Here, the focus is on cheeses and fruits. Depending on which region of Italy you’re in, you will be served local cheeses with seasonal fruits. If you’re in Venice, you will often find variations of Asiago. In Rome, you will be treated to the ancient Pecorino Romano cheese, which was once served in rations to Roman soldiers.


With dolce come the famous desserts. There are plenty of options; you can go for a classic tiramisu, panna cotta, or even a gelato. Regional specialties also exist, such as Sicilian Cannoli or Zeppole from Rome and Naples.


As the name suggests, the caffe is the post-food coffee. An authentic one is a strong, hot espresso without any milk or sugar. Are you planning a visit to Milan? Escape the hustle and bustle and sip a real Italian espresso while overlooking Milan’s urban skyline view. 


To top off a delicious full-course meal, Italians will often finish with a digestive alcoholic drink. You can take your pick between a wide selection including amaro, limoncello, or grappa. Try one at one of the best rooftop bars in Venice.

Buon appetito!

Italian tiramisu and coffee can on a brown table

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