A foodies guide through Italy’s 20 culinary regions
More than pizza, pasta and gelato: Italian cuisine offers a great variety of authentic dishes influenced by history, culture, climate and geography. Join us for a culinary journey through the twenty regions of Italy!
Italian cuisine couldn’t be more diverse – from mountains and bordering countries such as Austria, France and Switzerland in the North, to the fantastic coastline and Arab, Greek and Catalan influences in the South. Every single of its twenty regions offers great local products and typical specialities. We picked one regional speciality each region – but of course there is much more than that!
Once in the region of Abbruzzo, a very tasty dish is “maccheroni alle chitarra”(guitar maccheroni) with lamb ragout. The name comes from the tool that is used to get the particular shape of the maccheroni: a wooden frame with thin strings – like a guitar.
Basilicata is the home of la Salsiccia, the typical Italian sausage. Highly recommended for barbecues!
A typcial, Arab-inspired Calabrian dish is “Pasta ccu ri sarde”– a sweet and salty pasta dish made of fresh sardines, onion, raisins, pine nuts and breadcrumbs.
The home of Pizza Napoletana– a flat but thick-rimmed pizza from a wood-burning oven – is famous for it’s traditional Pizza Margherita. Representing the colours Italian flag (red, white and green), it consists of tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil.
The region of Emilia-Romagna is famous for its Tagliatelle Bolognese. Be aware thatSpaghetti Bologneseis a no go for locals!
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Once in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, try “Cjarsons”– sweet and salty ravioli made of potatoes and filled with a mixtures of ricotta, cinnamon, cocoa, raisins and wild herbs. It’s served with melted butter and grated smoked ricotta on top.
If you travel to Lazio, a must eat is definitely Bucatini all’amatriciana– a certain kind of pasta served in a sauce of pancettaand tomatoes.
The region of Le Marche if famous for its high variety of fish. Enjoy Brodetto– a rich fish soup made of many different kinds of fishes, loads of garlic, onion and tomatoes.
Liguria is all about basil: if you are keen to learn how to make the real Pesto alla Genovese, attending a cooking class with a local chef is a must do.
Once in Lombardy, you should try the famous Cotoletta alla Milanese– a fried breaded cutlet. For vegetarians we highly recommend Risotto alla Milanese– rice with butter, saffron and cheese.
The region of Molise if famous for its Baccalà con le patate– roasted codfish with potatoes.
Piedmont is all about truffles: Go for Linguine al tartufo – truffle pasta.
Once in Puglia Orecchiette con cimi di rape is a must! The little pasta “ears” (orecchiette) are made by hand are typically served with broccoli rabe – a bitter green.
A typical Sardinian dish with rich flavours is Malloreddus– a pasta dish with tomato sauce, onion, saffron, Salsicce (sausages) and Pecorino cheese.
If you go to Sicily, try Arancini– deep fried rice balls with bread crumbs. There is a surprise in the middle: Arancini are typically stuffed with mozzarella and bolognese sauce. However, you find lots of variety, such as aubergines or pistacchio.
The North of Italy is influenced by its bordering countries. Canederli– dumplings basically made of bread, eggs, milk, parsley with cheese, spinach or Speck – and Strudel– traditionally with apples – represent the Austrian accent of the regional cuisine of Trentino-Alto Adige.
If you are a meatlover and in Florence, you should try the famous Bistecca Fiorentina– a huge high quality veal steak. However, the Tuscan cuisine is caracterized by simple but extremely rich dishes, such as Ribollita– a vegetable soup.
Once in Umbria try a very delicious speciality: Pappardelle al Cinghiale– wild boar sauce with Pappardelle pasta.
A typical dish of the hearty Alpine cuisine of Valle d’Aosta is Carbonade– a beef stewed in wine with polenta.
The Venetian cuisine is rooted in the cucina povera (peasant kitchen). A typical dish with rich flavours is Risi e Bisi– a rice and peas.