Here is a guide as to what you can expect in a Ristorante:
The menu, la lista, has many courses but you do not have to order them all. Listed below are the names of each course and an idea of what you might order.
Antipasti (appetizers) might be bruschetta (grilled garlic bread with chopped tomato) or fresh mozzarella with melon.
Primo Piatto (the first plate) is most often pasta but could easily be a bowl of soup. If you ordered antipasti, you may decide to order this course as your main dish, or skip it and move on.
Secondo Piatto (the second plate) is a main dish such as meat or fish; this is often the most expensive part of the meal and is usually served a la carte. Sometimes a vegetable is served with this dish but more often than not you must order side dishes separately.
Dolce (desert) is very rich in Italy. Tiramisu, gelati (ice-cream) or crème brule are typical deserts. Italian ice-cream is famous all over the world. The ice-cream tastes more like a frozen sherbet than ice cream. The real difference is that it is made with milk instead of cream. Gelaterias are open all day and late into the evening, and in the good weather you will often see the locals out for a nice stroll after their meal with a gelato in hand.