Many foreigners ask this question, and some ask themselves this very question when they visit one of our Italian beaches.
At every Italian beach in the summer, exactly around 12:30/13:30pm, it is possible to notice a certain buzz under the beach umbrellas and deck chairs of the bathhouse. At lunchtime many Italians decide to eat at the beach, let me explain further.
Many Italians like to spend their vacations at the beach, taking advantage of the beach to spend the whole day by the sea under an umbrella and lying on a sunbed or deckchair. At lunchtime, many decide not to go home but to eat on the spot. Therefore, it is easy to notice some Italians setting up a small picnic directly on the beach.
Many others, however, decide to eat at one of the many restaurants on the coast, many of which are just a few meters from the umbrellas on the beach.
But the thing that perhaps sparks the most curiosity is what kind of food the average Italian can take to the beach to eat.
So yes, Italians often eat pasta at the beach as well, several types of pasta actually, which are prepared the day before. But not only that, in fact, pasta is just one of the dishes that many Italians take with them for a beach picnic.
Eating at the beach is confirmed as a beloved ritual for Italians. But with the healthy turn 1 in 4 brings salads from home and says goodbye to pasta and lasagna.
Speaking of lasagne, did you know that the first pasta shape to be eaten looked like these? Read at the link.
What do Italians eat at the beach?
If you think that Italians, for convenience’s sake, just eat a simple panino (sandwich) at the beach, then you’ve never seen a classic Italian family at the beach. In fact, even if eating directly with your feet on the sand is not exactly convenient and functional, this does not stop people from bringing very complex dishes for lunch, obviously cooked the evening before.
I inquired and gathered some statistics, surveys show that Italians have been changing their beach menu lately, including more light and healthy dishes. More than one in four (27%) bring rice salad, pasta salad, chicken salad, or seafood from home, and just 5% the traditional lasagna.
Thus, at the top of preferences for lunchtime under the umbrella, there is the rice salad or chicken salad, or seafood salad, then, Caprese salad (19%) and fruit salad with 18%.
There is no shortage, however, of those who continue to put among their favorite dishes the most deeply rooted recipes of popular tradition such as the hypercaloric eggplant parmigiana, which is still a must for 6%, or the vegetable or pasta omelet that remains the first choice for 9% o Italians, while just 3% are fond of tasty meatballs.
MOST EATEN DISHES BY ITALIANS AT THE BEACH.
- 27% rice, pasta, chicken, or seafood salad
- 19% Caprese salad
- 18% fruit salad
- 9% vegetable omelet or pasta omelet
- 6% parmigiana eggplant
- 5% lasagna
- 3% meatballs
- 13% other or no answer
How do Italians eat at the beach?
Now that you understand that sand, sun, and wind don’t stop us Italians from bringing complex and not always easy-to-eat dishes to the beach, you may wonder how Italians equip themselves to eat at the beach.
Of course, when we eat at the beach, it is normal for some strict rules about manners to be completely forgotten.
So pasta and lasagna are carried and eaten directly in small food containers like Tupperware, always with a fork and knife, but certainly without a plate.
The table, if there is one under the umbrella is used for leaning on, but in most bathing establishments there are none, so one eats on one’s lap, sitting on a deck chair, or on sunbeds.
There is also no shortage of paper napkins, paper cups for drinking, and a cooler to keep drinks or fruit cold.
Yes, fruit is one of the foods that many Italians take to the beach, in particular, fruit salad is often eaten as a dessert of a classic beach lunch.
Yes, it is a consumer’s right to bring food to the beach even if they have to go through a private bathhouse with a restaurant to reach the shore. The beach establishment has a concession that applies to the space assigned to it but still does not have trust on catering. It is the citizen’s full right to introduce food and drink into the establishment, respecting the decorum of the beach.
Absolutely not, the possibility of eating on Italian beaches is limited to the consumption of food brought from home already cooked. For safety and decorum reasons you can’t cook or set up barbecues on beaches.
Dining under a sun umbrella near the sea is certainly a way to avoid crowds at the beach bar or restaurant, but it is also a great way to eat healthy (and save money) as food is prepared at home the night before.
Although it is not the most convenient form of pasta to eat under the umbrella, some Italians do not give up a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce. So you might see some people in Italy eating a plate of spaghetti under the sun umbrella at the beach.
Although lasagna is typically a warm, winter dish, it is so good that some people even eat it cold or lukewarm under an umbrella at the beach. Some buy it as a ready-made dish at some rotisserie and then eat it at the beach.
Ferragosto is a holiday of ancient Roman origin, now celebrated in Italy on August 15. The day of Ferragosto is traditionally dedicated to out-of-town trips and packed lunches at the beach, where people eat cereal and legume salads, cold pasta, and stuffed focaccia, ideal dishes to eat in a group especially when there are many people.