Food is a hugely important aspect of Italian culture, and eating in the bel paese has its own set of customs. Deviate, if you dare, but you risk being called out online or accosted by a wildly gesturing torch and pitchfork bearing mob (okay, maybe not quite, but you’ll probably be judged, teased, or even refused by your server).
If you come from a country where anything goes, these customs can be a bit puzzling, but in Italy, milk is for breakfast and babies, pineapple is for dessert (not pizza), and pasta shapes are deliberately paired with certain sauces—and that’s just three rules of many! If you want to eat like a local on your trip to Italy—or simply avoid rejection and ridicule—read on.
The town of Collodi, Italy, about 45 miles west of Florence, is set on a slope behind a fabulous 17th-century villa. The garden, built as a kind of fantasy pleasure park for the Garzoni family and their noble guests, offers terraces, flower beds, grand staircases, splashing fountains and antique marble statues surrounding the Baroque villa.
Walk through the tunnel under the villa and follow the path up the hill, and the stone houses of Collodi speak to a very different reality.
Ascending its precipitously steep cobblestone main street, you come to a small piazza with communal sinks for laundry. The town is older than the villa and was probably originally built on the hilltop for purposes of strategic defense. It is where the working-class people lived, the ones who tended the nobility’s villa and gardens. It’s hard to know what these laborers were thinking as they trudged back up the hill after a long day of working at the villa. It is probably fair to say they were tired.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…