ELECTRIC CURRENT: Italy is in the process of standardizing its current. Large areas already have 110-120 volts, a.c., others have 150-155 volts or some other current. However, American-made electric appliances are very popular in Italy, and everywhere one is able to purchase small transformers or rectifiers good for the local type of current. Plugs have prongs that are round, not flat. Therefore a converter plug is needed.
FOOD: Pasta, of course, is the national staple; and this means not only spaghetti and ravioli but pasta of all sorts in an amazing variety of sizes and shapes. Despite everything youâ€™ve heard, you wonâ€™t find much garlic in typical Italian food. There are innumerable risotto, or rice, dishes mixed with peppers, chicken, meat, fish, onions and spices. Pizza, of course, is famous. This is a baked cheese and tomato open-faced pie. Antipasto, the Italian hors dâ€™oeuvres, is much the same in Rome as at home. Veal is a favorite meat and scaloppine is familiar to everyone. The fruits, vegetables and salads are excellent. Beef is generally good. Polenta, a favorite in northern Italy, is worth trying. This is a porridgey dish of corn meal served most in native restaurants in the country. The northern Italians cook in butter. In the south they prefer oil. Italian cooking is rich, saucy and spicy and infinitely varied, so take it easy the first few days. Romans eat far more than Americans, especially at lunch.
Caffe espresso is the bitter, strong coffee especially brewed in espresso machines, Rube Goldberg contraptions which use forced, compressed steam to make the coffee. Milk is available in any milk shop, hotel, restaurant.
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