According to Ciao Florence, dinner is the most important meal of the day for Italian families because it is often when everyone comes together for a communal meal. Most everyone eats a full lunch as well, so breakfast is a little more relaxed in its approach. That is why Food & Wine says that, in the Mediterranean country, breakfast usually consists of coffee (a cappuccino is strictly a breakfast beverage) along with a sweet pastry like the maritozzo, sfogliatella, or brioche. One of the most popular breakfast pastries is the cornetto.
Like the croissant, the cornetto originated from the Austrian pastry kipferl. The cornetto “little horn” is laminated and shaped into a crescent moon but is often filled with some variation of jam, Nutella, honey, and even gelato (via The Roman Food Tour). The cornetto is much sweeter than the more savory croissant and pairs perfectly with the bitter bite of a coffee. It is traditional to start your day off sweet in Italy (though in the north, you might find things a little more on the savory side with a plate of cheese and meat), but don’t worry, the people aren’t gorging themselves on sweets every morning. Rossi Writes claims that portion sizes in Italy are very small and intended to give you a little burst of energy to start your day.