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Is brunch a thing in Italy?

Brunch is a popular weekend tradition in many parts of the world, where people gather with their friends and family to enjoy a late morning meal that blends breakfast and lunch. But is brunch a thing in Italy, a country that is renowned for its food and dining culture? The answer is yes and no, depending on where you are in Italy and what your expectations are for this mid-morning meal. Let’s take a closer look at brunch in Italy and discover whether it has a place in the nation’s culinary traditions.

1. Traditional Italian Breakfast

Brunch, a combination of breakfast and lunch, is a popular mealtime in many countries, especially the United States and the United Kingdom. However, in Italy, breakfast (prima colazione) is a staple meal that is enjoyed typically between 7 am and 10 am. Italian breakfast typically consists of a cappuccino or a caffè latte with a croissant or a pastry. In Italy, breakfast is an essential part of everyday life, and it is rare to see people grabbing breakfast on the go.

Traditional Italian Breakfast

2. The Origin of Brunch

The concept of brunch originated in the late 19th century in England as a meal for the wealthy. It was not until the 1930s in the United States that brunch became more popular among the middle class. Brunch became a trendy meal for people to socialize and was usually served on Sundays or public holidays.

Brunch Origin

3. Brunch Culture in the US and UK

In the United States and the United Kingdom, brunch has become a popular meal for socializing, especially on weekends. Brunch menus typically consist of a combination of breakfast items like eggs, pancakes, waffles, and lunch items like sandwiches, salads, and soups.

Brunch Culture

4. Italian Influence on Brunch

Italy has a rich culinary tradition, and Italian cuisine has influenced many countries worldwide. In recent years, Italian-inspired brunch dishes like eggs Benedict with prosciutto, Caprese salad, and frittatas have become popular on brunch menus in the US.

Italian Influence on Brunch

5. The Italian Brunch Experience

While brunch may not be a traditional meal in Italy, some Italian restaurants and cafés have started offering brunch menus to cater to international tourists and locals. Italian-inspired brunch dishes like frittatas, crostini with smoked salmon, and eggs cooked in tomato sauce are popular items on these menus.

Italian Brunch Experience

6. Where to Find Brunch in Italy

If you are looking to try brunch in Italy, big cities like Milan and Rome have some restaurants that offer brunch menus. The best way to find brunch locations is by using online search engines or travel apps.

Where to Find Brunch in Italy

7. Italian Breakfast vs. Brunch

Italian breakfast and brunch may share some similarities in terms of food items, but there are some notable differences. The biggest difference is that an Italian breakfast is lighter than a typical brunch and is usually consumed early in the day. Brunch is a more substantial meal that is meant to be consumed as a combination of breakfast and lunch.

Italian Breakfast vs. Brunch

8. Brunch and Italian Culture

While brunch may not be a traditional meal in Italy, it is still possible to see traces of brunch culture in Italian cuisine. For example, many small villages and towns in Italy have a long-standing tradition of carrying out a mid-morning snack called merenda, which often includes a pastry or a sandwich.

Brunch and Italian Culture

9. Brunch and the Influence of Social Media

In recent years, social media has played a significant role in the rise of brunch culture worldwide. With its visually appealing dishes and chic interiors, brunch has become an Instagram-worthy experience for many people. This trend has also gained popularity in Italy, where restaurants and cafes are catering to the demand for aesthetically pleasing brunch experiences.

Brunch and Social Media

10. Conclusion

In conclusion, while breakfast is an important meal in Italian culture, brunch is not as popular. However, Italian-inspired brunch dishes have become a popular addition to brunch menus worldwide. If you are visiting Italy and looking to try brunch, some restaurants in big cities like Milan and Rome offer brunch menus. Brunch in Italy may not be traditional, but it can still be a unique experience.

The Italian Breakfast Culture

Italy is a country that is known for its rich culinary heritage. From its delectable pizzas and pastas to its world-renowned wines and gelato, Italian cuisine is something that can satisfy even the most discerning of palates. However, when it comes to the much talked about dining concept of brunch, Italy seems to be a bit different. In this section, we’ll explore the breakfast culture in Italy, and how it differs from the concept of brunch.

The Italian Breakfast

The traditional Italian breakfast is substantially different from the idea of brunch. It is a simple, light meal that is usually consumed in a hurry, on the go, and with a cup of strong espresso. A typical Italian breakfast consists of a brioche (sweet pastry) or a croissant filled with jam or Nutella, and accompanied by a cappuccino or espresso. While this might seem like an odd combination to many non-Italians, it is a staple in the local culture.

The Arrival of Brunch in Italy

Brunch has been gaining popularity across the world, and Italy is no exception. In recent years, brunch spots have emerged in major Italian cities like Milan, Rome, Turin, and Florence, but they remain largely geared towards the foreign and expat communities living in the country. The concept of brunch is still relatively new to the local population, and many Italians remain loyal to their traditional breakfast habits.

Differences Between Brunch and Italian Breakfast

While the concept of brunch may seem similar to the Italian breakfast, it is actually quite different. Brunch is a leisurely meal that is typically served from late morning to early afternoon, and is often accompanied by an alcoholic beverage like a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. In contrast, the Italian breakfast is a quick and simple meal that is typically consumed on the go.

The Role of Socializing in Italian Culture

Italians are known to value socializing, but breakfast in Italy is not a social meal. It is meant to be eaten quickly and without too much fuss. In contrast, brunch is a meal that is typically enjoyed with friends or family, and is used as an opportunity to catch up and spend quality time together.

The Weekend Culture in Italy

In Italy, the weekends are reserved for spending time with friends and family, exploring the city, and indulging in good food and wine. The idea of brunch, therefore, seems like a natural fit with the Italian weekend culture. However, many Italians prefer to stick to their traditional breakfast habits, and view brunch as a foreign concept that doesn’t quite fit into their culinary traditions.

The Regional Differences in Breakfast

As with all things culinary in Italy, there are regional differences when it comes to breakfast. In some regions, for example, breakfast might consist of a slice of toast with butter and jam, while in others, it might be a substantial meal of eggs, bacon, and sausage. The local culture and traditions play a big role in determining what people eat for breakfast.

The Role of Tradition

Tradition is a big part of Italian culture, and this extends to the culinary habits as well. Many Italians are fiercely proud of their culinary heritage, and prefer to stick to their traditional ways of eating. This is why the concept of brunch has not yet caught on as much as it has in other parts of the world.

The Emergence of Brunch Culture in Italy

Despite the slow uptake, there has been a marked increase in brunch culture in Italy over the past few years. Many young Italians, in particular, are warming up to the idea of brunch, and are seeking out new brunch spots in their cities. This trend is likely to continue, especially as more tourists and expats make their way to Italy, bringing with them their own brunch culture.


So, is brunch a thing in Italy? The answer is yes and no. While brunch has started to become more popular in Italy, it remains a relatively new concept that has yet to catch on with the local population. The Italian breakfast culture is deeply ingrained and influenced by centuries of culinary tradition, and it will take time before brunch becomes as ubiquitous as it is in other parts of the world. However, for those seeking out new culinary experiences in Italy, brunch spots are beginning to pop up in the major cities, offering a taste of something familiar in a new and exciting setting.

Italian breakfast culture

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Brunch Culture in Italy

While brunch may not be a traditional meal time in Italy, the concept of combining breakfast and lunch is not entirely foreign to the Italian culture. Italians are known for their love of long, leisurely meals with family and friends, often lasting for hours. As such, a mid-morning meal that combines breakfast and lunch is not entirely uncommon in Italy, especially on weekends or holidays.

The Italian Breakfast

Before we dive deeper into the brunch culture in Italy, it’s important to understand what a typical Italian breakfast looks like. Unlike a hearty brunch, Italian breakfasts are typically light and simple. A typical breakfast in Italy consists of a coffee and a pastry or a slice of bread with jam or Nutella. Some may add a fresh juice or yogurt to their morning meal, but it’s not as common as in other countries.

Weekend Brunch Spots in Italy

While brunch culture may not be as widespread in Italy as it is in other countries, you can certainly find some great brunch spots in major cities like Rome and Milan. These spots cater to the international crowd and offer eggs, pancakes, and avocado toast, as well as Italian breakfast staples with a twist. Here are some of the top brunch spots in Italy:

Brunch Spot Location Specialty
Café Trussardi Milan Pancakes and smoked salmon
Barnum Café Rome Eggs Benedict and waffles
La Zanzara Florence Avocado toast and fresh juices

Regional Variations

Just like any other meal in Italy, the cuisine and dining culture vary by region. While brunch may not be a widespread concept in Italy, some regions have their own version of a mid-morning meal that combines breakfast and lunch. For example, in Emilia-Romagna, you can find piadina, a flatbread sandwich filled with cold cuts, cheese, and vegetables that is often enjoyed for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. In Naples, a pastry called sfogliatella is often paired with an espresso for a quick breakfast on-the-go.


While brunch may not be a traditional meal in Italy, the concept of combining breakfast and lunch is not entirely foreign to the culture. You can find some great brunch spots in major cities that cater to the international crowd, as well as regional variations of a mid-morning meal. So if you’re craving pancakes or avocado toast during your visit to Italy, don’t worry, you won’t have to look too hard to find a place that serves it.

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That’s the Brunch in Italy

Thanks for reading this article and discovering whether brunch is a thing in Italy. As you can see, it’s not a traditional meal in Italian culture, but it’s starting to become more popular in some cities. If you happen to be in Italy and feel like enjoying a late breakfast, you can always try and find out if your local restaurant serves brunch. And if you’re not in Italy yet, make sure to visit the country to taste all the other authentic Italian dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. See you soon!

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