The traditional ordering of courses for a classic Italian meal, says Robert Lauriston, is as follows:
Antipasto (‘pasto’ means meal, so antipasto means before the meal, i.e., appetizer)
Primo (first course, usually pasta or soup)
Secondo (entree), with contorni (vegetables on the side)
Dolce (dessert, often fresh seasonal fruit)
A salad course may be slipped in between entree and dessert, or a more substantial salad, such as Caprese (tomato and mozarella), can be served as a first course.
Board Links: Antipasto/Antapasti