Italian food has taken over the world like a storm in full force, with clouds of parmesan and raindrops of prosciutto. Can you imagine a life without pizza night? Or lasagna? You can’t—and it’s much better that way.
If you’re planning at trip to Italy, you’ll want to experience all the Italian food your heart desires, from local favorites to your own. Follow my list of the 4 best places to visit in Italy for cuisine and navigate this beautiful country via your tastebuds.
The 4 Best Places to Visit in Italy for Cuisine
Sicily is an entire region and each part of it gives you the flavors you’re seeking alongside the crystal-clear waters and warmth you want no matter what season it is. Sicily, as a whole, tops our list of the best places to visit in Italy for cuisine because there’s just so much flavor here.
First is cannoli. We like to believe it’s called “cannoli” because you can never have just one. And cannolo doesn’t roll of the tongue quite as well. These sweet, creamy tubes of ricotta and chocolate or pistachios are good no matter what time of day it is. Have it for breakfast, a daytime snack, or desert. No matter which you choose, you’re going to love every bite.
Sicily is also the place to visit for arancini. Though arancini can be found across the entire country, Sicily is where it originates. Therefore, it’s 100% better here. Arancini are fried rice balls filled with cheese and tomato sauce. Basically, it’s handheld fried pasta.
Our Sicily discussion wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Granita di Mandorle. If you recall Italian Ice, then you’ll be oh so familiar with this treat—but don’t be confused. Granita di Mandorle is eaten for breakfast, and it is flavored with fruits and nuts.
You might be familiar with Verona from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Luckily for you, Verona is a real place that has, hands down, the best gnocchi in the country. Even if it’s just a small city, it deserves a full entry on our list of the best places to visit in Italy for cuisine.
Gnocchi wasn’t invented here, but it certainly found it’s home in Verona. There’s actually an entire festival dedicated to gnocchi here called the Venerdì Gnocolar Festival that’s been around for a few centuries now. If you plan your trip just right, you can visit during the festival and taste every type of gnocchi you can imagine.
What would Italy be without Naples, right? This is the birthplace of pizza and they get it right every time, between the fluffy flaky crust and toppings. In fact, wherever you go in Italy, if you get a pizza, make sure it’s Neapolitan-style. If pizza wasn’t enough, Naples has a couple of other delectables to mention, which is another reason why it makes our list of the best places to visit in Italy for cuisine.
Pizza is life here, and they like to keep it simple. Tomato, basil, and mozzarella are the three major ingredients, though you’ll definitely find a few variations. Honestly, just try them all and see which ones you like most because we can almost guarantee that you’ll enjoy every bite.
There’s a dish you have to try while you’re here called Sfogliatelle Riccia. It’s a pastry filled with ricotta that has either candied fruits or chocolate or almonds mixed in. It’s better than your typical cornetto and no one will bat and eye if you have more than one.
Bologna is a beautiful place, if not solely for its food. There truly wouldn’t be a proper tour of Italy without a stop in Bologna, or at the very least it’s region of Emilia Romagna. The tortellini, tagliatelle, and lasagna are exactly why it makes our number four spot on our list of places to visit in Italy for cuisine.
Tortellini are a staple, especially in the winter. It’s akin to good ol’ chicken noodle soup on a cold, snowy day. Maybe a bit more delicious, but it’s definitely a mood-setting dish. Small pasta stuffed with cheese or meat and served with a good steamy broth, topped with parmesan. Delicious!
Tagliatelle is one to try while you’re here. It’s egg pasta served with ragu and is essential for the locals here. You can even try a chocolate tagliatelle while you’re here, which may sound a bit adventurous, but it is oh so worth it. That ragu is also what makes their lasagna so good, so grab a slice while you’re at it.
Finally, we have to tell you that Emilia Romagna is truffle country. If you are a truffle lover, then Bologna is heaven. Pick any dish here and we can almost guarantee that it will come with the option for a topping of truffles.
Before we go, there are a few honorable mentions. The first is tiramisu in Venice—but let’s face it, you’re not coming to Venice just for the tiramisu. Another is Bistecca alla Fiorentina in Florence. And finally, some good roman Cacio e Pepe.
Do you have an Italian dish that wasn't mentioned? If so, comment below.
If you are ready to book a culinary vacation across Italy, please contact me. I would love to help you plan every aspect of your trip.