What Do Italians Have for Breakfast?


I came from a country where rice and a viand (e.g. meat, fish or chicken) is usually eaten at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My favorite breakfast meal in the Philippines is called “tapsilog”, which consists of cured beef, fried egg, and fried rice. When my family came to Italy, we tried to copy what Italians typically eat primarily because we want to integrate into their society. One thing we eliminated from our diet was white rice, and I was surprised by how much weight we lost over the last couple of months because of this change.

I noticed that in Siena (a city in Tuscany), locals typically have a cup of coffee (usually a cappuccino or an espresso) and a sweet pastry (usually a “cornetto” or an Italian croissant) for breakfast (“colazione“).

I was generally confused by the many ways in which the locals consume their caffeine. An espresso is a small amount of very strong black coffee. A caffe doppio is the double amount of the normal espresso. A caffe lungo is a larger less concentrated amount of espresso. A caffe americano is a full cup of black coffee. A corretto is an espresso with a dash of grappa (or some other spirit). A macchiatto is an espresso with a small amount of milk. Latte macchiato is milk with a spot of coffee. Cappuccino is an espresso topped with hot, frothy milk. By the way, Italians do not drink cappuccino (coffee with frothy milk) in the afternoon or evening.

Buon giorno! 🌏🌍🌏 #uncaffe #nocciola #italyblogger

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In the Philippines, breakfast bread is usually eaten with cheese. In Italy, however, cheese is eaten during lunch and dinner. Breakfast has to be sweet in Italy.

You can eat breakfast at a “bar” (coffee shop). Usually, if you’re just getting coffee, you drink it while standing up. Typically, a cappuccino would cost 1.50 euros, and a pastry would cost around 1 euro.

To order in Italian, you can say simply say “un caffè per favore” if you’re ordering an espresso or “un cappuccino per favore” if you specifically want a cappuccino. Pastries on display usually come with labels, so I would simply point to what I want and read its name.

Dan’s blog at can tell you more about the different types of Italian pastries you can order. My personal favorite is the nocciola (hazelnut-filled a.k.a. Nutella) because it goes so well with the cappuccino.

If you ever have a chance to visit Siena, it would be nice to have breakfast at the Caffe Nannini or Bar Siena (free Wifi), located at Piazza Gramsci, or at Cibiamo (free Wifi) at Galleria Portasiena.

Read Next: Walk Back In Time: Siena, Tuscany

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