A few rules you don't want to break while in Italy and in Rome.
1. There is no such thing as "The Spanish Steps"!!! What Americans call the Spanish Steps are actually "The Scalini della Trinita del Monte" Or The Steps of the Trinity Del Monte. They terminate in the"Piazza di Spagna" and hence the confusion. It is appalling to Romans that tourists would not take the time to know the names of these very beautiful and popular attractions.
2. Cappuccino is a breakfast drink, if your desire is to appear uncouth have one after 11am or better yet, after dinner.
3. Dunking! Never in a restaurant, ok at home. Non faccia la Scarpetta, or dunking is considered Morta di Fame (dying of hunger) and is reserved for beggars. As a waiter once told me regarding a reques t by my nephew to switch a pasta shape for another in a different sauce, "Perhaps no one will see him" DOn't dunk!
3. Bread and a plate of Olive Oil! Horrors! I once asked Giuliano Bugiali, Italian food historian and cook book author in what part of Italy this practice originated. He told me "In America at the Olive Garden Restaurant"Sure you'll see it in Italy, particularly in heavily touristed areas but keep in mind Italians want you to be happy, happy people spend more money, trust that they are talking about you in the kitchen!
4. Cheese on seafood! Never , ever do this, I don't care if your Nonna from New Jersey did it, it is just not done, strong flavors of seafoods mixed with that of cheese is a big NO NO! If you want to look like a real Caffone go ahead, this is beyond looking unsophisticated it is the essence of being unsophisticated!
5. Coke or Fanta with dinner, if you're going to be a slob may as well go all the way, for Italians, it's only water or wine with dinner, nothing else! Nothing!
6. Chicken in Pasta-Never not done, don't ask unless you're at Bucca de Beppo in Phoenix. Chicken is served as a Secondo not a a topping and for the record pasta is never served on a plate like a potato! Pasta always gets it's own plate, it is a course not a potato.
7. Spaghetti and Meatballs does not exist in Italy, period. You may get and pasta dish as a primo and meatballs as a secondo and dump them in the same bowl if you want to look like a barbarian but please don't. Outside of tourist traps most Italians do not know what Fettucini Alfredo is, it wa likely also develop at Olive Garden.
8. Well done Bistecca Florentina, the famous Florentine porterhouse steak from the white Chianina Bull of Tuscany is only prepared medium rare to rare, ask for it any other way and they won't serve it to you unless you are in a tourist trap and then it is likely not the Chianina Bull, the worlds tallest and heaviest bull raised for it's meat and as a draught animal.
9. Olive Oil in it's original bottle - Italian restaurants are not allowed to transfer olive oil from one container to a serving bottle. The Italian government want you to know what it is and where it came from. In rural areas you may see this because the exception is their own production can be decanted. It is likely in places like Rome and Florence this is not the case but in Napoli it is likely a restauranteur has a family production.
10. No Doggie Bags - Please don't ask for a doggie bag, are you really going to eat your left over carbonara? Where will you keep it? Italians just don't take left over food home from a restaurant, especially back to their rooms. Leave the bad behavior for the Germans, they have enough bad habits for everyone!
More Crazy food rules later