"Loro sono a pranzo."
Translation:They are at lunch.
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No, you can't. Only if it is for example al pranzo di famiglia (at the family lunch), so you're specifying it. Anyway, it might seem random but Italian articles'randomness is no different than English's. Indeed, let me point out that here English doesn't put "the", either if you say "to have lunch" or "to be at lunch".
The sentence says, "They are at lunch," not "They are at the lunch." Knowing this information, let's look at this: a=at (or to) il=the (if it was a feminine word like "cinema" then it would be "la", not "il")
now we combine the two words to create "al", so: a+il=al now we can assume: a=at il=the al=at the
So if you understand that, then you'll understand this: They are AT lunch=loro sono A pranzo (a=to)
So the word "al" would be if the sentence was: They are AT THE lunch=loro sono AL pranzo
I hope this wasn't confusing. Good luck :D