ROME: Italian Table Manners

On our way to an organic farm last week, we received a crash course on Italian dining before we enjoyed a delicious four course meal. Surprisingly, Italian etiquette contradicts the typical American dining experience.

Here is a list of differences:

1. Italians eat with their hands on the table. Sitting with your hands on your lap indicates you are either holding a gun or fondling the person you are with under the table.

2. The men pour the drinks for the table.

3. The water glass is the big goblet while the wine glass is the small goblet.

Italians do not drink to get drunk. They drink around two glasses of wine at lunch and dinner with their food but have no intentions of reaching inebriation.

4. You are supposed to leave a little wine at the bottom of your goblet. If not, you are perceived to be an aggressive drinker and implies your desire to get drunk.

5. The bill (or il conto) is split evenly among the diners, regardless if you had just a salad or all four courses.