28. Where can we get a snack?

To answer this question, it is important to understand the nature of the Italian bar, which is not a bar as Americans usually think of them.  In Italy, a bar is where you go to have your morning coffee with a bit of pastry, or your mid-morning coffee with a little sandwich, or a mid-day sandwich, or an after-work aperitif, or an after-dinner cognac or gelato.  You can also get an aspirin, a pack of gum, chocolates, or some breath mints.

In sum, it’s a 16-hour establishment, with most offering at least one specialty – baked goods or gelato being two of the most popular.  Many Italians are very loyal to one particular bar, so if you want to find, say, Giovanni after work you might want to look for him at “his” bar where he may be found playing cards or talking politics with his cronies, or both.

You might also keep an eye out for an enoteca.  Many are more than wine stores and also offer a simple lunch of sandwiches and a glass of wine.  We like a croissant with tuna, artichoke hearts, and a touch of mayonnaise – a specialty of the Perugia area. As for the wine, perhaps a hearty red in the winter, a chilled glass of white in the summer. Or even a glass of prosecco to celebrate la dolce vita.

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