ITALIAN STARTERS (ANTIPASTI)Starters are known as antipasto in Italy which is translated as meaning ' before the main course'. Antipasti usually come in three categories: meat, fish and vegetables. There are many varieties of cold meats, including ham, invariably sliced paper-thin. All varieties of fish are popular in Italy, including octopus and cuttlefish. Seafood is also highly prized, especially huge prawns (shrimp), mussels and fresh sardines. Numerous vegetables feature in Italian cuisine and are an important part of the daily diet. They are served as a starter, as an accompaniment to main dishes, or as a course on their own. In Italy, vegetables are cooked only until 'al dente' and still slightly crisp.This ensures that they retain more nutrients and the colours remain bright and appealing.