When it comes to eating and drinking, we've a lot to thank the Italians for. Pasta, pizza and the Italian coffee culture are adored around the world. Wherever you go, you'll be guaranteed to find a pizzeria and coffee bar nearby.
So when visiting Italy, you'd expect to find your favourite pizza, pasta dish or flavoured frappuccino easily, right?
Italians are rigidly traditional when it comes to what, when and how to eat and drink. And surprisingly, some of the most popular worldwide 'Italian' food and beverages won't be found anywhere on a menu in Italy.
So if you want to eat and drink like the locals, here are eight things you should never order in Italy.
1. Spaghetti Bolognese
Italians are very particular about serving the right pasta with the right sauce. Traditional Bolognese sauce ( or Ragù alla Bolognese as it's known in Italy) is served with tagliatelle, not spaghetti. You can also find it commonly served with shorter penne pasta in most Italian restaurants.
2. Hawaiian Pizza
In Italy, the concept of putting pineapple on a pizza is unheard of. Try ordering a Hawaiian pizza and you'll be greeted with a look of sheer horror by a flabbergasted waiter.
Take care when ordering a pepperoni pizza too. You may end up with capsicum peppers (peperoni) instead of salami.
3. Garlic Bread
Crusty bread topped with an oozy layer of melted butter, garlic and parsley may be a popular side dish around the world, but it doesn't originate from Italy. The nearest you'll get is Fettunta: simply grilled slices of bread, rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzled in extra virgin olive oil. Definitely give Fettunta a try; it's lighter, tastes delicious and is better for the waistline!
All restaurants serve fresh bread, but don't expect butter. Italians only use butter as a cooking ingredient. Bread is either eaten on its own or drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.
4. A Choice of Salad Dressings
Ranch? Caesar? Bleu Cheese? Forget the typical thick, heavy salad dressings, Italians like to keep it simple. Extra virgin olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt is all that's added to salads.
5. A 'well done' Steak
Italians like their steak rare, so it can be a problem if you like your meat well done. Ask for bencotto and you'll get the equivalent of a medium steak in the UK: pink in the middle, accompanied by a pained look from the waiter. If you can't stand the sight of blood, order fish instead.
Italians don't use the term 'espresso' they simply say, 'caffè'. And don't expect table service in bars. Coffee in Italy is meant to be drunk quickly, while standing at the counter. The good news is, it's cheaper that way. The average cost of an espresso in Italy is only €1.
7. A Flavoured Frappuccino
Italians have serious respect for their coffee, and they don't like to mess around with it. The only exceptions to the rule are caffè corretto: an espresso with a shot of grappa, and a marocchino: an espresso served in a small glass, topped with cocoa powder and milk froth.
Traditional Italian bars like to keep things simple. Ask for an iced coffee and that's exactly what you'll get: a small glass of cold espresso served with an ice cube.
8. A Cappuccino After Your Meal
Most Italians wouldn't dream of drinking a milky drink on a full stomach. A cappuccino is traditionally drunk in the mornings at breakfast time with a sweet 'cornetto' pastry.
Italians may be sticklers for tradition, but with fabulous ingredients, age old recipes and the best coffee on earth, who can blame them?Suggest a correction