Italy's Cappuccino ArtItalians, so it appears, spend an enormous amount of time thinking about eating and drinking. Their propensity towards a pre-dinner drink, known as an aperitivo, is due to the fact that they believe a swig of Campari will “open their stomach.” If you dare to dine on your bruschetta, followed, by pasta, followed by meat or fish without first awakening your digestive tract, you’re simply asking for trouble.

In addition to the food faux-pas above, sipping a cappuccino after lunch is a major violation of the unwritten Italian Food Rule. Most Italians will attest that drinking one after 10 am unless you are having breakfast at this hour, will wreak havoc on your digestive system. Ordering a cappuccino after the witching hour is seen as suspect behavior worthy of frowns, looks of utter disbelief or actual ridicule. But first things first, let’s take a look at the history of cappuccino.

Origin of Cappuccino

Some Italians believe their beloved cappuccino is named after Capuchin monks (Cappuccini), who were founded in the early 16th century. In Italian, the word cappuccino means hood and the “ino” ending is a diminutive.
Again, Italians love adding this ending to words, so don’t be surprised when you hear it. You won’t find this term of endearment in Google translator, so don’t waste your time!

In all reality, cappuccino dates back to the early 20th century but was rightly named until just before 1950.

Italian breakfast Breakfast of Italians

For Italians, milk is considered a meal in itself, so having a quick cappuccino at the local bar on the way to work or school is considered a complete breakfast. They may eat a small pastry with it, but not always.

The Unspoken Food Rule

The real reason for this unspoken Food Rule is that Italians are convinced that drinking cappuccino after any meal will destroy their ability to digest their food. Having a cappuccino anytime after lunch or dinner is completely unthinkable. And many tourists are shocked when their waiter refuses to bring them one because it’s “bad for their health.

cappuccino making

Breaking the Rules

Who can resist the creamy, froth of an Italian cappuccino? Its decadence calls for a second round, which will also have people looking at you as if you have two heads! So, if you’re looking for the best places to get your cappuccino fix, look no further. Below a short list of places to drink your next cappuccino:

  • If you’re in Rome, head to Il Pappagallo on Via Anastasio II.
  • For a cafe cultural experience, use your GPS to find Cafe Giocosa on Via Tourboni. Said to the best in Florence, you will only know if you taste for yourself.
  • After snuggling with your love in a gondola in Venice, sip a delectable cappuccino at the Florian in Piazza San Marco. Word to the wise, don’t pass out when you see the bill!
Espresso creation

To avoid glare, stares and people muttering curse words at your in Italian, be sure to order an espresso after lunch or dinner. Thank goodness this rule doesn’t apply to panna cotta or post-dinner tiramisu!


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