Starting Your Day the Italian Way

 

Adjust to the abroad life by fitting these places into your morning routine. 

by CATHY DOHERTY    ★    APR. 24, 2017 

If you are abroad and staying with an Italian host family, do not expect to wake up to the smell of bacon and eggs. Unlike the U.S., Italy’s most important meal of the day is not breakfast. With that being said, Italian breakfasts are something to get used to.

Typically, the table will be set with pre-packaged pastries or store-bought toast with butter, honey and jam.

Italian pasticcerias, shops that sell pastries and bread, have a variety of sweet treats to choose from. When you think of bars in Italy, you do not think of the typical American bar scene with bottles popping and music blasting. Rather, Italian bars are small cafes that serve croissants and brioches stuffed with crema, riso, cioccolato or marmellata, which are exactly what they sound like in English: cream, sweet rice, chocolate or marmalade.

Say goodbye to your beloved Starbucks venti, iced-caramel macchiato with extra caramel and a double shot of espresso, and hello to authentic Italian cappuccinos, regular caffè, caffè lattes and latte macchiatos. They are usually no more than two Euros, perfect for a college budget.

 
 

Unlike in the States, where we never go anywhere without a Starbucks drink in hand, in Italy it is a true crime to take your coffee to-go. Coffees are downed in about four gulps accompanied by a few bites of a pastry in a bar, and then you are on your way. But if you are in a hurry, practice your Italian and ask for: Un cappucino da portare via, per favore.

Pro tip: Never, ever order a cappuccino after 11 a.m. It is simply not the Italian thing to do. For midday pick-me-ups, order a caffè instead.

 
 

To start your mornings right, head over to Gran Caffè San Marco. As one of the biggest bars in Florence, Gran Caffè has a diverse menu ranging from pastries to tarts to paninos. The atmosphere is very elegant with marble countertops and a quaint French touch. Take caution when choosing to sit at a table because if you do, you may get charged a little extra for what you order.

 
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If you are looking for a quiet study space, the cafe at Biblioteca Delle Oblate is the perfect place. Even though the cafe is located in a library, the quality of its coffee is the same as any other bar. You will not be disappointed. Not to mention, it has a pretty sweet view of the Duomo.

Although it’s usually packed with Italian students, Biblioteca Delle Oblata should not intimidate you. In fact, studying here is a great way to meet people from the area.

During colder months, order the cioccolato caldo, a hot chocolate made of melted chocolate. Instead of drinking it, you can eat it with a spoon. This cafe also serves specialty drinks that are worth a try!

 
 

 On the weekends you are not traveling and want brunch with your girlfriends, try Le Vespe. This casual, easy going, Canadian-inspired café serves a few big American-style dishes like pancakes, french toast and bacon. Finally...American food!

For a mouthwatering meal that hits the spot try The Logan: a breakfast burrito with sausage, eggs, potatoes, avocado and mexican sauce for a little kick. Another noteworthy dish is The Yonge: a bagel with cream cheese and house-cured salmon. Pair it with an iced Moroccan mint tea and you are set!


Italians pride themselves in their culture, and especially their coffees. Drinking caffè is truly a spiritual experience. Paired with a fresh, flaky pastry, the combination is unbeatable. It is okay to miss Starbucks every once and awhile, but you will soon fall in love with everything Italy has to offer!

 
Tayler Bradford