Food, especially Dinner


I came across an article called “The Daily Life of an Italian,” and food and drink seem to be at the epicenter of each day. I love food, so this sounds like my kind of place. Is it true that dinner time depends on where you are? This article suggests those in the North tend to eat earlier, around 7 PM, while those in Sicily don’t even become hungry until after 10 PM.

Articles are great, but I love hearing about personal experiences too!


It depends more on the family I think. Like I know my family in the states actually eats earlier on Sundays. We will eat dinner at 3PM. Same for holidays. All other days is 6PM. Sometimes I don’t eat dinner myself until 10PM because of work.


That difference between Northern and Southern Italy is very true. Southern Italians tend to eat later during the evening, especially in the summer months when it can be very hot.

In the south, three-hour lunch break, also known as siesta, hasn’t died yet. So, they return to work at 3:00 PM and still have another 4 hours of work to reach the 8 hours for the day. That means they’re done with work around 7:00 PM. Which automatically pushes dinner time later.


Wow that is late times to have dinner. I usually have snacks around those times and I eat my dinner way earlier say at 5 or 6pm. I don’t think I could wait so late to have dinner.


We too eat around 8-9PM, But me personally I eat after 10 as We Have lunch at around 2 pm and don’t really become hungry until work becomes stressful late in the night.


Thanks for the responses. I love the idea of the siesta. I wish we had better work/life balance like that. What a great way to recharge and be able to focus during the second half of the workday.


I didn’t know there was a difference between the north and south legitimately, that is pretty cool! Goes to show there can be some differences within one culture and why you can’t throw everyone into the same pot!


I personally think it depends on the family. Me for example we will eat dinner any time between 4 and 7pm, sometimes earlier on a weekend and we will have it for lunch so to speak rather than dinner however, my daughter has a friend and sometimes they do not eat their dinner time meal until around 10pm some nights.


Ahh, the Siesta! I thought that only the Spanish had those. It is nice to hear that they are utilized elsewhere too! Now I really want to go to Italy and eat myself into a stupor! Then I’ll just siesta it away! Sounds good to me!


This is an interesting fact. I always thought that the Italian language was a lot like Spanish but in reading this forum, some think they are more like the French. There are so many similar words like siesta, I have some ammo for my next debate!


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.


usually around 8/10 pm
weekend pizza is favourite one
during week steak / vegetables / noodles again :smiley:


While I was in Italy I found dinners were always around 8-8:30, and of course they were long meals :slight_smile:


This. My family various depending on how work is going for everyone. I find it’s usually 6-6:30pm for us.


Ah, yes. Italians do enjoy their meals and don’t mind taking their time to eat :slight_smile:

I’ve especially noticed this at events, many places serve 100 course meals. And when I say 100, I exaggerate, but the number’s close! Everyone eats a bit, talks, goes for a smoke, then eats some more, and so on. The longest dinner event I’ve attended was about 5 hours long :smile: Dinner started at 7 p.m. and everyone kept eating until almost midnight!


I spent a year in Italy and for 4 months of that with a local family. They had dinner really late but they also had a late lunch (around 2pm) so it felt right to have dinner later.


Wow that is interesting. I usually eat dinner around 6PM to 8PM but I’m not one to have a set time. It’d be pretty cool to have a 3-hour lunch break. Then again you do end up getting home later but still.


Getting home later in the evening is literally the biggest downside of having a job with “normal hours” during the day.

At some jobs though, you only have a 1 hour lunch break, which I find a lot better! I had this at my last job, I would work until noon, then go on a mandatory break until 1 p.m., and then finish work 4 hours later.

I say mandatory, because it’s the law! It sounds odd, but when I talked to my boss and asked if I could just work during my break, he said no. Or, better said, he said he cannot literally stop me, but I won’t get paid… So if I had to put in an extra hour or so to finish my work, I might as well stay after hours and get paid extra.


It really is more of a family sort of deal. Even where I live, it’s customary to eat around 7-8 but I usually have dinner around 10pm