What Italy Eats for Breakfast

Unlike most of the world, breakfast is definitely not considered as the most important meal of the day in Italy. However, the first meal of the day in Italy, la prima colazione, can be considered the most functional meal of the day, with just enough food to get you going. When looking for breakfast near you, you’d expect to see eggs – one of the most popular breakfast ingredients around the world. But as it turns out, eggs are a big no in Italian breakfasts. Colazione is kept simple with just a warm beverage and a single accompaniment of choice, sweet or savory. Here’s what Italy eats for breakfast:


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Coffee is the most favored choice of beverage for colazione. It could be a strong shot of espresso, the classic cappuccino or a cup of cafe latte for those who prefer it milkier. It is generally served with a biscotti or a cookie on the side. Espressos are usually taken standing up at the ‘bar’ (coffee shops are referred to as coffee bars in Italy), as it’s not a drink that is to be sipped upon and is cheaper compared to sitting at a table.


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As the Italians like to keep their breakfast light, they don’t go for any complex recipes or anything that requires too much cooking. A serving of baked goods works perfectly as an accompaniment to their coffee. Plain breads and rolls, or croissants with butter and jams are found commonly on breakfast tables in Italy.

Savoury Option

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Starting off the day with just a coffee and a biscuit might not be everyone’s preference. For those who want something savoury and slightly on the heavier side, opt for a simple Italian panini. These sandwiches will usually have some fresh veggies, leaves and cured meat slices served in between freshly baked Italian breads.

Yogurt and Fruit

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While not really authentically Italian, yogurt, cereal and fruits are being consumed for breakfast in increasing number of Italian households. These are usually sweet based, as most Italians consume maximum sweetness during the first meal, and not much through rest of the day.
If you’re wondering what then is the most important meal in an Italian household? Well, it’s none other than le cena or the dinner. Dinners in Italy are often an elaborate affair, that take time in both preparation and consumption. It is considered as an opportunity to catch up and connect with family & friends. Dinners are also taken at a late hour compared to western countries, which perhaps explains why Italians aren’t very hungry for breakfast. Check out our post about what a traditional 7 course Italian dinner looks like.