The first course (literally 'before the meal'), antipasti are more about sharp flavours to whet the appetite rather than large quantities. They can be hot, warm or cold, as simple as a bowl of olives or involve seafood, salume, salads, sott'aceti (pickles), and sott'oli, cheeses, crostini or bruschette, stuzzichini or rustici. And the inevitable bread sticks, or grissini, which at a fancy bar in Turin will be homemade, and perhaps come wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto with white truffle butter.
A snack is a spuntino, which of course can be just about anything. Italians, not surprisingly, make some classics, including street food favourites focaccia, pizza al taglio, supplì, and arancini, to more elegant nibbles served as antipasti or with wines in the enoteche (wine bars) such as Orvieto's lumachelle, Liguria's pizzaladiera, or the tigelle of Modena.
As many classic Italian snacks also appear as antipasti, we've put them in the same category.
Images by: Eric Ogen