Ordering coffee in Italy
by Susan Patella

What kind of coffee should you order in a caffè?  The possibilities can be daunting.  Below is a list of the most popular caffeine-laden drinks.  Keep in mind too, Italians generally don't drink coffee with any meal except breakfast.  Coffee is often ordered after a meal, and - che vergogna! - only the unwitting tourist will order a cappuccino in a restaurant after lunch or dinner.  When ordering an after-dinner coffee, do not ask for an espresso, ask for "un caffè, per favore."

Here's what you need to know:

caffè (espresso) - a small cup of very strong coffee, i.e., espresso
caffè americano - American style coffee, but stronger; weaker than espresso and served in a large cup
caffè doppio - double espresso
caffè freddo - iced coffee
caffè Hag - decaffeinated coffee
caffè latte - hot milk mixed with coffee and served in a glass for breakfast; if you order this, you will usually receive a small pot of hot milk and a small pot of strong coffee
caffè macchiato - espresso "strained" with a drop of steamed milk; small version of a cappuccino
caffè stretto - espresso with less water; rocket fuel!
cappuccino - espresso infused with steamed milk and drunk in the morning, but never after lunch or dinner; most like a Starbuck's "latte"


RESTAURANTS IN ITALY... and useful phrases
by Susan Patella

Restaurants in Italy include the autogrill, or roadside snack bar; the osteria, an informal place; the trattoria, which is a medium-priced, often family-run eating establishment; and the paninoteca, a place where sandwiches and salads are often available. A rosticceria has mostly roast chicken, and then there's the pizzeria, of course.  These last two are mainly take-out.  You can also get snacks at the bar where you normally go to get caffe'.  You only need to make reservations if you are planning to go to one of the more expensive restaurants.

Also, just in time for Valentine's Day, you can practice your Italian:

Come sei bella (bello)!" - How beautiful (handsome) you are!

"Tu sei una stella...la mia stella" - You are a star...my star.
"Cara mia (caro mio), ti voglio bene." - My darling, I love you.

"Ti penso sempre." - I always think of you.


For more travel tips,
try the website of the American Catholic Church in Rome, Santa Susanna, http://www.santasusanna.org/visitorInfo/tips.html