Discover the culinary wonders of Italy as we guide you through the best dining spots, from hidden gems to iconic trattorias, ensuring an unforgettable gastronomic journey.
As well as its picturesque coastline, its romantic cities – imbued with ancient history and architecture – and charming local people, Italy is famously loved for its cuisine. In fact, it’s one of the main draws to Italy, and it’s been recorded that over 60 million tourists visit every year. Most of us are aware of all of Italy’s most-loved dishes. In fact, I’m sure we all have pasta and pizza on a regular basis – but I’m confident it is nothing in comparison to how the Italian’s cook. Whether you are visiting the north or south of Italy – or both – you will be able to sample some of Italy’s most loved dishes.
Before you embark on your luxury Italy trip, we have put together a few of the best dishes and places to eat to whet your appetite (literally)!
- Pizza Naplotana
This is one of the most famous pizzas in Italy, and you’ll likely find it on every menu across the country. Named after its birthplace of Naples, this pizza has very strict methods of cooking, with a dough base that must be 3mm thick. Recommended pizza spots in Naples: Ristorante Mattozzi, Sorbillo, La Masardona
- Pizza alla Pala
This pizz comes from Italy’s capital city, Rome. This pizza is much denser than other pizzas, and was originally made in Roman bakeries using all the leftover dough from pizzas. Another pizza from Rome is the pizza tonda Romana. This is a very thin and flat pizza, and much lighter than the pizza alla pala. Recommended pizza spots in Rome: La Gatta Mangiona, Sbanco, Emma
- Pizza Siciliana
This is a Sicilian-style pizza so if you are heading to Sicily and southern Italy, you will be sure to find this on the menu. The pizza is a rectangular shape, which is very recognizable to the circular pizzas we are used to. Recommended pizza spots in Sicily: Il Baro Pizza, Tredicisette, La Braciera
- Spaghetti Carbonara
One of the favorites among locals and tourists alike, spaghetti carbonara is a creamy dish, infused with delicious bacon, egg and black pepper. You’ll see spaghetti carbonara on most menus across Italy.
- Ziti Alla Genovese
Although this is a traditional recipe from Naples (a misconception that it is from Genoa), you’ll find this offered across Italy. This is a dish with strong flavors of onion and beef broth-based sauce – perfect for a hearty evening meal.
- Penne Arrabbiata
This delicious pasta dish is a combination of spicy garlic, tomato and red chilli peppers – all infused with locally-made olive oil. The sauce and pasta dish comes from the Lazio region in central Italy.
It’s hard to find bad coffee in Italy, but here are some local tips about coffee. The first is never order a cappuccino after midday. Italians have a thing about drinking cappuccinos after noon so you’ll stick out like a sore thumb from the locals if you do.
Most Italians order espressos in the morning, and drink them at the coffee bar. There is no ‘messing about’ when it comes to an espresso in the morning for Italians. You’ll often see locals come into a coffee shop in their work clothes, shot back an espresso, leave a euro or two on the side, and walk out.
Most of us have heard of americanos, cappuccinos, and espressos, but there are so many local types of coffee in Italy. Macchiatos, caffe d’orzo and caffe corretto are ones, among others, to try during your Italian adventure.
While you can enjoy a delicious bottle of wine in every part of Italy, Tuscany is particularly known for its wine and wine-making. Most of the wine across the country (and internationally) will come from here. Whether you enjoy a refreshing glass of red, wine or rose, we have put together a list of some of our favorite vineyards in Tuscany. Visit the full list here.
Some of our favorite vineyards in Tuscany including the Castello di Nipozzano Estate, Capezzana, Antinori, Castello di Ama, Le Macchiole, Prima Peitra, and Monteverro.
It’s true – you will be able to find gelato on almost every street in Italy. Saying that, we’ve asked some of our Italian specialists, and have put together a couple of the best spots for gelato:
- Come Il Latte in the Sallustiano quarter, Rome
- Gelateria Del Borgo, Bellagio, Lake Como
- Bar Vivoli, Florence
- FataMorgana, Rome
- Gelateria dei Gracchi in the Vatican region, Rome
- Il Massimo del Gelato, Milan
- Gelato Giusto, Milan
- Gelatomania, Sicily
- Gelateria Dondoli, Tuscany
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