Why Do Italian Homes Have 2 Kitchens? [Answered]

Do you ever wonder why Italian homes have two kitchens? It might seem strange, especially when most of us can barely manage with just one. However, there is a reason behind this interesting phenomenon that has been a part of Italian culture for generations. In this article, we will explore the history and culture behind the use of two kitchens in Italian homes.

The answer to why Italian homes have two kitchens is quite simple: one is used for daily cooking and the other for special occasions. The first kitchen called the “Cucina,” is where everyday meals are prepared and where the family gathers to eat. The second kitchen called the “taverna,” is often located in the basement and is used for large family gatherings or special events, such as weddings or holidays.

This tradition dates back to ancient times when Italian families lived in multi-generational homes. With many family members living under one roof, the need for more than one kitchen was necessary to accommodate everyone. Today, while many families still maintain this tradition, some modern Italian homes have merged the two kitchens into one larger space. However, the tradition still holds strong in many parts of the country.

Why Do Italian Homes Have 2 kitchens
Kitchen Picture

So, why do Italian homes have two kitchens? It’s a unique cultural practice that has been passed down through generations and is still very much a part of modern-day Italian life. To learn more about this fascinating cultural tradition, keep reading!

Why Do Italian Homes Have 2 Kitchens?

If you’ve ever visited an Italian home, you may have been surprised to see that many have two kitchens. This may seem unusual at first, but it’s actually a common practice in Italy that has been around for centuries. The two kitchens in Italian homes have been a point of fascination for many visitors to Italy. Some may wonder if it’s a sign of extravagance or simply a cultural quirk. The truth is that Italian homes have had two kitchens for centuries, and it’s rooted in the country’s rich history and way of life.

The History of Italian Kitchens

In order to understand why Italian homes have two kitchens, it’s important to look back at the history of Italian kitchens. Italian cuisine is world-renowned, and its origins date back to ancient Rome. In fact, the concept of the modern kitchen can be traced back to the ancient Roman villa.

During the Middle Ages, Italian kitchens began to evolve into separate spaces from the rest of the house. This was due to the increasing importance of cooking and food in Italian culture. The kitchen became a central hub for family life and a place for the family to gather, cook, and eat together.

The Two Kitchens of Italian Homes

So why do Italian homes have two kitchens? The answer is simple: one kitchen is for cooking, and the other is for entertaining. The “Cucina” is the main kitchen, where the family cooks and prepares meals. This is typically a smaller, more utilitarian space that is not meant for socializing.

The “taverna” is the second kitchen, and it’s usually located in the basement or a separate room. This is where the family entertains guests, hosts dinner parties, and socializes. The taverna is typically a larger space that is designed for comfort and relaxation, with a dining table, seating area, and often a fireplace.

The Benefits of Having Two Kitchens

There are several benefits to having two kitchens in an Italian home. The first is that it allows for more efficient meal preparation. The main kitchen can be used for cooking and meal prep, while the taverna can be used for setting the table, serving food, and cleaning up.

The second benefit is that it keeps the mess and smells of cooking away from the entertaining space. This ensures that guests are not overwhelmed by the smell of food, and it makes it easier for the host to entertain without worrying about cleaning up a messy kitchen.

Finally, having two kitchens allows for more flexibility when it comes to entertaining. The taverna can be used for formal dinner parties, while the main kitchen can be used for more casual meals with family and friends.


In conclusion, the two kitchens of Italian homes are not just a cultural quirk, but a practical design that has evolved over centuries. The “Cucina” and the “taverna” serve different purposes, and they allow for more efficient meal preparation, better entertainment, and more flexibility in hosting guests.


Q1: Do all Italian homes have two kitchens?

A: No, not all Italian homes have two kitchens. It’s more common in older homes and in the south of Italy.

Q2: What is the difference between the main kitchen and the taverna?

The main kitchen is primarily used for cooking and meal preparation, while the taverna is designed for entertaining guests and socializing.

Q3: Why do some Italian homes have a kitchen on each floor?

A: Some larger Italian homes may have a kitchen on each floor to accommodate multiple families living together or to make it easier to prepare and serve food to guests on different levels of the house.

Q4: What kind of meals are typically prepared in the main kitchen versus the taverna?

A: The main kitchen is used for preparing everyday meals for the family, while the taverna is typically used for more formal occasions or special events.

Q5: Can visitors to Italy expect to see two kitchens in every home?

A: No, not every home in Italy has two kitchens, but it is a common feature in many older homes and in the south of Italy.

If you’re planning a trip to Italy or just curious about the country’s unique cultural traditions, understanding the two kitchens of Italian homes is a fascinating insight. While the practice may seem unusual to outsiders, it’s a practical design that has stood the test of time and has become an integral part of Italian family life.

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