A BEDANDBROS’S GUIDE – FOOD EDITION-
There's breakfast and then there's sicilian breakfast
IT'S MORNING TIME IN SICILY
and you are probably looking for a place where to have breakfast. A cozy bar with a view, under the morning sun where to have bacon, scrambled eggs, toast with butter or jam, baked beans, an omelette… but, WAIT!
A thought cross your mind: “What’s the typical sicilian breakfast?”
FOR SURE, IT'S A SWEET ONE
English/Continental breakfast may be for you the most important meal of the day, but you’ll NEVER find an English breakfast in Sicily in a bar unless you beg someone to cook you one.
In Sicily it’s perfectly acceptable to have granita and brioche or ice-cream first thing in the morning. And not just plain ice-cream, but a generous, or even two, scoops of gelato or granita between a sweet brioche-like bun.
The BRIOCHE COL TUPPO or BRIOCHE CU TUPPO
BREAKFAST IN SICILY IS PART OF SICILIAN TRADITION, HISTORY AND CULTURE
When Arabs began their conquest of Sicily (660’s AD), they brought Sarbut (sherbert/sorbetto) with them and to keep it cold they used snow from Mount Etna. Sicilians carried on this method putting the ice into containers and flavoured it with lemons. That is how the granita was born.
CORNETTO AND CAPPUCCINO
Another favourite pastry you can have for breakfast is the CORNETTO or CROISSANT which you can order plain or filled with chocolate, pistachio cream (give it a try!) or marmelade. Here the combo is made with a CAPPUCCINO or a CAFFE’. And if you don’t want to behave too much as tourists, be sure to order a Cappuccino only in the morning! It is only drunk at breakfast in Italy 😉
BEST TO KNOW
Brioche, cornetto and croissant are not the same thing but there are places and regions where these differences are not taken into consideration! In fact, they have different names according to the italian region you’re visiting.
The BRIOCHE CU TUPPO does NOT exist in northern Italy!
OUR FAVORITE GRANITA AND BRIOCHE IN ORTIGIA?
BAR VIOLA – CORSO MATTEOTTI
MIX THE PISTACHIO AND ALMOND GRANITA AND DON’T FORGET THE BRIOCHE 😉
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A BEDANDBROS’S GUIDE – DRIVERS EDITION-
THE DREADED ZTL
The biggest chance of getting a fine in Italy is because of the Zona a Traffico Limitato (limited traffic area). If your destination is going to take you through or close to an old town or city centre, then it’s likely that there will be ZTL. But what does it mean in practical terms?
THE ZTL CAN BE TRICKY, SO TAKE NOTES 🙂
The ZTL sign is a circle with a blank white centre and red outline. Normally it comes together with a traffic light and/or a LED display. A ZTL can be made for averyone, for non-residents only or active according to specific timetables. It can be that traffic rules and detailed info are written in italian only. So, how to be sure you can drive through or not? Don’t panic 😉
- IF A TRAFFIC LIGHT IS AVAILABLE: RED MEANS “NO ENTER”. GREEN? GO (this was easy).
- IF YOU FIND THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE CLOSE TO THE SIGN ” eccetto residenti”, IT MEANS YOU CAN NOT ACCESS UNLESS YOU ARE A RESIDENT, SO STAY AWAY.
BEST TO KNOW
Don’t rely on your GPS to point out a ZTL because thet are not set up for that!
Always look for the ZTL sign, a special traffic light or a LED display to be sure you’re not crossing a ZTL area.
Otherwise, ask locals 😉 Sicilian people are always happy to help…but be prepared to a lot of hand gesture 😉 No matter what language is spoken here, italian hand gesture will explain everything
ADDITIONAL TIP 😉
IF A LED DISPLAY SHOWS THIS
VARCO ATTIVO/VARCO CHIUSO means the cameras are activated and you cannot pass through the ZTL.
VARCO NON ATTIVO/VARCO APERTO means you can pass through.
ZTL IN ORTIGIA
Yes, Ortigia island is a ZTL area. Only residents are free to drive in and out with no restrictions and park along the streets.
But the ZTL is not active 24h!
Timetables change depending on the time of the year and can be checked on the Siracusa municipality website.
Normally the floowing times apply:
DURING THE WEEK: active (no enter) from 7pm to 2 at night.
ON SATURDAY: active from 4pm to 7am on the following day.
ON SUNDAY AND PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: active from 11 am to 7 am on the floowing day.
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A BEDANDBROS’S GUIDE – RESTAURANT EDITION-
COPERTO AND TIPPING IN ITALY
WHAT IS THE COPERTO??
You had a great lunch or dinner in a cozy italian reastaurant. Amazing food, nice view, good service…so far so good! Ok, it’s time to go and to pay the bill. And..surprise! 🙁 A mysterious COPERTO line item appear on your bill and you really can’t understand what’s that.
A Tax? A Tip? A Scam?
LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG
The coperto is not a scam or a tip – it is a standard practice at most restaurants in Italy, and every first timer gets confused when it first arrives. You cannot bargain it down, nor can you refuse to pay it. The coperto is essentially a flat, fixed cover charge for service, table linen, tableware, and bread.
Legally, the coperto MUST be printed on the menu, is between 1 and 3 Euro per person and is charged for adults and children alike.
However, there is no legal limit to the coperto, so it’s best to know how much is that before sitting down to eat, especially if you’re in a particularly touristy area.
Take a look to the menu first
TIP (LA MANCIA)
Italians don’t tip as standard. Tipping at restaurants in Italy is absolutely not like in the USA.
You are not obligated to leave a tip, but in the case of exceptional service, you could leave a couple of Euro in coins 😊
DON'T GET CONFUSED
LA MANCIA (TIP) has nothing to do with the COPERTO. The coperto doesn’t go to the staff but to the restaurant owner!
ENJOY YOUR MEAL!
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