How to Set Your Table (Like the Italians)

Visions of an apron-clad Nonna giving smothering hugs and encouraging “mangia!” come to mind when we think about the Italian table. We’ve had our cheek pinched many a time entering a gracious Italian home—and the price was worth it for what was to follow.

Italian homes are known for hospitality, the kitchen overflowing with heady aromas from lovingly prepared dishes. But the Italian table is more than just food. The Luigi Bormioli family is pleased to offer this guide you can use to bring a little Italy to your feast.

Set Your Table Like an Italian

  • Be prepared to linger—Sunday supper usually starts mid-afternoon and lasts, course after delicious course, until early evening. Courses could (and should!) include:
    • Antipasto
    • Soup
    • Pasta
    • Entrée
    • Salad (yes, after the main course!)
    • Cheese
    • Dessert (or, should we say desserts, plural!)
    • Fruit
    • Aperitif
    • Coffee (usually espresso)
  • Get out the iron because a crisply starched tablecloth is a must. And while it doesn’t seem to make sense with all the gravy (or sauce, for you newbie) that will be on that table, make it a pale color or white tablecloth.
  • Arrange each place setting with dessert fork and spoon above the plate, salad and entrée fork to the left of the plate, and knife and spoon to the right of the plate. Feel free to use a charger under your plates, but don’t stack them up awaiting each course; plates should come out with each course.

  • Scatter empty wine bottles around the table as vases. Just a few simple, seasonal flowers will do the trick.
  • Place several bread baskets on the table; you’ll want at least three to cover the middle and each end. Place containers of extra virgin olive oil (and butter for the uninitiated) nearby.
  • Set out a minimum of three glasses above and to the right of your plate: a water/all purpose glass, a white wine glass and a red wine glass. We recommend our classically elegant Palace collection. These gorgeous glasses boast two of our proprietary technologies: they’re TITANIUM reinforced for stem strength and durability and are kept flawlessly brilliant and strong thanks to SON.hyx. Like all Luigi Bormioli products made with SON.hyx, they carry a 25-Year Guarantee against chipping on the rim or foot. (Did we mention they’re lead-free, eco-friendly and dishwasher safe, too?)

Brush up on your etiquette for hosting an Italian-style meal:

  • More senior members of the family should enter the dining room and be seated first.
  • The person of honor (if it’s not a party, that’s the eldest) is seated in the middle of the table.
  • Children are last, and often sit at a “kids’ table” depending on the size of the party.
  • Pass food to the left.
  • For the real deal: never cut lettuce or pasta, feel free to soak up extra gravy with a hearty slice of bread and go for the EVOO over butter.

You’re ready! Relax into a lazy afternoon enjoying your family (everyone is family at an Italian table). Salute!



At Luigi Bormioli, we take pride in our Italian-crafted, superior quality glassware. Your glasses, created using our proprietary SON.hyx ultra-clear formula, will retain their brilliant and transparent appearance and are backed by our 25-year guarantee that guards against chipping on the rim or foot, as well as discoloration or cloudiness resulting from washing. You will enjoy their beauty, durability and strength for many years to come. We aim to enhance your tabletop lifestyle and entertaining experience with a glass for every occasion. When the moment matters, the glass matters.