Some of the best meals we have had in Italy have been at the most casual places, which basically means a bar. Italian bars, however, are not like American bars. Instead, they are more like a snack bar in that they sell a variety of things: pannini, pasta, pasteries, coffee, gelato, and alcohol among other things. Not all of these bars have each of these things; for example, Nannini is somewhere that many of us go in the morning to get pasteries and coffee in Siena, but it is less known for its pasta. Other places we have gone, these bars are more well-known for their casual meals such as lunch because they have pasta for cheap prices (ranging from 5 to 8 euros). Although it is rather hard to find these places when you are a tourist, it is worth going out of your way and into the smaller more local streets because these bars have the best food for the best prices. This is especially good for college students, like us.
Mostly, however, the food that is sold here is rather standard. Most of the time, I get some sort of pasta with ragu and a coke. It’s simple and always delicious. However, the pasta offerings vary just as the food varies from region to region. For example, when we were in Cinque Terre, Amy ordered spaghetti alla vongole (clams). Whereas in Florence, Colin ordered lasagna.
Our favorite place to eat a good, hearty lunch after class is Bar Silvana. It is just a few blocks away from the IES Center and is always a dependable meal. Although I have very few pictures of it, it seems so normal to go there at this point that taking a picture would ruin the experience. The first time we went there, each of us got some form of a pannino or bruschetta. Those were wonderful, but when we kept on coming back, we discovered new things. Olivia and Colin are particularly obsessed with a type of cornetto that they sell there. A cornetto is similar to bruschetta in that it is a slice of bread with a sauce on it, but it differs widely from bruschetta in that the bread is not toasted and there are different ingredients involved. This particular cornetto has mayonaise with a garlicy pesto sauce (no cheese!) and a piece of a boiled egg. That is only the antipasto that most of us now get when we are there. It really is wonderful. Additionally, we now all order a pasta dish. At first, we were unaware that these existed at these such small shops. There is not much of a traditional “menu” to look over, but instead a small sign on the wall that has the daily specials. These are all some sort of pasta dish that change based on what the cooks want to make. They are all simple dishes such as ragu sauces, ravioli, or carbonara, but it feels more like a home-cooked meal than many other restaurants.
After having eaten here so many times, we have become accustomed to eating pasta at lunch–it isn’t quite as heavy as it used to feel…but I think we’re all gonna feel better when carbs are slightly less present in our diet soon (pasta, pizza, bread….it’s all so delicious!).
More Blogs From This Author
<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ciao!! I’m a rising senior from Bowdoin College in Maine studying Psychology and Education. Even though I go to school in a small town, I’m from the big city of Chicago, but I am ecstatic to explore yet another beautiful small town, Siena! Starting in high school and continuing onto college, I have blogged about the various delicious desserts that I have been lucky enough to enjoy. This has been my way of expressing my sweet tooth for all to see and try. It has also allowed me the privilege and opportunity to try things that I never would have otherwise, such as a wide range of cuisines in various “local” areas that I may never have ventured to. For me, trying a new dessert—or food in general—is not only about how it tastes but also who you are with, what the atmosphere is like, and how you feel about the food. I aim to convey these experiences to my readers through photographs and short descriptions. I am anxious and open to try all that Italy offers to add onto my delectable list!</span></p>