I had no idea about such a huge difference between Northern and Southern Italy! Interesting stuff!
I live in the North and have also noticed it depends on the family or the circumstances.
I see the restaurants or fast food joints packed with people, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. It’s like “the” time frame when everyone eats dinner!
When we eat out, my friends and I usually book a table for 9 p.m., but if it wasn’t for our jobs, we’d probably eat earlier.
On the other had, there were times when I was ‘forced’ to eat dinner at 5 p.m, because I would start work later on and wouldn’t have had the time to eat.