This year I was lucky enough to spend my spring break traversing the streets and restaurants of Florence and Rome like a true Italian. My mom and I ate everything that was put in front of us, amounting approximately to our own body weights in pasta and bread.

Throughout this amazing week, while disappointed about the sudden absence of gelato in my life, I learned that there are a number of cues we should all be taking from the Italians when it comes to preparing and eating our own meals. Read on for some more guidelines and see if you can apply them to your daily lives.

1. It's Never a Bad Time to Order a Cappuccino

Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or anytime in between, a cappuccino is always a good option. If it's not already your go to order at breakfast, I highly suggest you give it a try, if only so you can ask yourself how they possibly make a heart come to life inside your cup. 

2. Simplicity is Key

One of the best dishes I had in Italy was the utterly simplistic and basic meals we've all known since childhood, spaghetti and tomato sauce. While it definitely wasn't the same as throwing Ragu on top of boxed pasta, there's something to be said for sticking with basic ingredients and not going overboard with additions. 

3. Wine Is Essential to Every Meal

Some of the wine lists that got dropped on our table were longer than the magazines I picked up to read on the plane. To understand all the categories and subcategories that make up these lists is a true art, I can finally understand why some people are so incredibly invested in learning about different wines. 

4. Ambiance Makes or Breaks Your Meal (& Your Experience)

A rooftop, sculpture garden, wine cellar and flower store are just a few of the places I ate during my trip. These restaurants, in addition to having incredible food, were made all the better by the experience of simply sitting and eating in such incredible spaces.

5. Don't Rush

Gretchen McCarthy

An Italian waiter will never rush you out or bring you the check before you ask, this gives you the rare opportunity to sit and enjoy your food, your company and your view for as long as you want. Taking proper advantage of this time can give you a real period to unwind and relax, all while enjoying a delicious meal.

6. Truffles Go With Anything

Italians do truffles right. With truffle honey, truffle butter, truffle cream and truffle olive oil you can add that incredible burst of flavor to whatever dish your heart desires. 

So if you're ever unsure if you should go for that late night gelato, or your third coffee or cappuccino of the day, follow the lead of our Italian friends and commit yourself to eating good, wholesome dishes, there's no way you'll regret it.