15 Best Foods to Try in Italy


Having incorporated the best a Mediterranean country can offer, sun-kissed Italy doesn't concede to any world's state in terms of cuisine either. In fact, the only disappointing thing about Italian food is the fact that you simply can't try everything during only one or two visits to Italy. A myriad of mouth-watering Italian specialties and drinks greatly reflects the distinguishing Italian passion and love for tasty yet simple delicacies. In this overview, we've put together the most popular Italian dishes and beverages we think everyone should taste at least once during Italy travel.


What to Eat & Drink in Italy

1. Italian Pizza
Neapolitan pizza

Very few people would question the fact that iconic pizza is the mother of Italian cuisine. Originated in the sun-kissed Italian south in Naples, pizza comes in many types and sizes but is always irresistibly delicious. Famous Napoletana, tasty Margherita, juicy Marinara, and hearty Romana are only the beginning of the huge list of Italian pizzas worth a degustation. In fact, you'll come across pizzerias on every corner of the Italian cities as pizza is quite a popular street food in Italy. Thus, you may pop into any of them, and definitely won't be disappointed.

2. Italian Pasta

One more Italian invention which has won millions of hearts around the globe is Italian pasta. Naturally, the types of pasta greatly vary depending on the Italian region you travel to, and probably even Italians themselves can't count the exact number of pasta recipes. Spaghetti, cannelloni, rigatoni, and pappardelle do not only sound but also taste fantastic. Italian pasta comes in dozens of shapes and is cooked with all imaginable ingredients from meat and seafood to various vegetables and mushrooms. In other words, it's a huge field for gastronomic discoveries!

3. Lasagna

The Italian pasta dish which deserves a separate mention is, of course, juicy lasagna! Being the favorite food of the famous animated cat Garfield, traditional lasagna is made with flat pasta noodles, meat, tomatoes, cheese, and bechamel sauce. Lasagna origins, like most Italian dishes, are passionately contested but the unspoken leader for the title of the Lasagna Motherland is the region of Emilia-Romagna, so once you happen to visit this area, lasagna tasting is an absolute must!

4. Florentine Steak
Florentine T-bone Steak

All gourmets from around the world would appreciate this Italian specialty as the Florentine T-bone steak is definitely a mouth-watering delicacy. Being one of the most iconic dishes of the Tuscany cuisine, Florentine steak is made from veal or heifer and implies specific preparation, previously aged in cold rooms for 2 weeks. In fact, Florentine steak is the dish to try exclusively in Tuscany, so in case you are a meat-eater, this is one more reason to put Florence onto your bucket list.

5. Italian Risotto

Classic creamy risotto is one more Italian calling card. Though Italians are not great rice eaters (which is not surprising taking into consideration all the dough dishes they cook), risotto has been loved by many generations of Italians. Considered a northern Italian dish, nowadays risotto has lots of recipes. The most common ingredients, apart from rice, include onion, parmesan cheese, butter, sometimes white wine. Different risotto variations may also be complemented with meat, chicken, mushrooms, seafood, and vegetables.

6. Italian Ravioli

Just like Russians are proud of their famous dumplings, Italians make no disguise of their pride regarding their famous ravioli. And this pasta-based dish is, indeed, worth all the compliments. Traditionally, ravioli are cooked at home. The most widespread ravioli fillings include ricotta cheese, spinach, and spices. As a rule, this hearty dish is served with broth or some sauce. You'll have no difficulty to find ravioli in any local Italian restaurant, and we bet that these small golden squares won't leave you indifferent!

7. Prosciutto

One of the Italian favorites, delicate prosciutto, is a dry-cured ham that is loved and eaten by locals throughout the country. Served uncooked and cut in thin slices, prosciutto is a light and airy appetizer, perfect to eat on its own with a glass of fine wine. However, inventive Italians like to play with different flavors which resulted in serving salty prosciutto with sweet fruit like melons. Moreover, prosciutto is also extremely delicious being wrapped around fresh vegetables and cheese or served as topping for pizza.

8. Italian Cheese
Italian Cheese

It goes without saying that Italian cheese is recognized worldwide for its high quality, exceptional taste, and unique traditions of production. In case you are one of the cheese gourmets, Italy is a perfect country for a cheese gastro tour. Creamy Ricotta, milky Mozzarella, blue Gorgonzola, savory Parmesan, and nutty Fontina only open the list of famous cheeses in Italy. With more than 2 thousand traditional cheese varieties, Italy has become the third-largest cheese producer in Europe! Ready to select your favorite?

9. Focaccia

Crispy outside and delightedly soft inside, the authentic Italian bread "focaccia" is always a good idea! Being served as an appetizer, table bread or a simple snack item, focaccia is reminiscent of classic pizza dough by its consistency. This oven-backed flatbread is usually cooked with rosemary or other herbs and eaten with a bit of olive oil. Focaccia originates from the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and has been cooked since the antique times. So don't miss the chance to treat yourself with this irresistible Italian delicacy!

10. Gelato

Speaking about the best Italian desserts to treat yourself during the trip, smooth and creamy gelato holds its honored #1 place in this food parade. In fact, the reputation of gelato speaks for itself. This outstanding frozen dessert is generally lower in fat and sugar than regular ice-cream, yet much higher in density. Gelato comes in dozens of flavors, from widespread vanilla and chocolate to various fruit, berries, and even alcoholic types. Iconic gelato is eaten by people of any age all year round. Are you ready to lead the hunt for the most delicious Italian gelato?

11. Tiramisu

Once you made up your mind regarding your favorite gelato flavor, it is high time to continue your immersion into the world of mouth-watering Italian delights. Italians, famous for their excellent cheese, don't waste the chance to add it even to desserts. Thus, the next one on our agenda is creamy tiramisu based on light mascarpone. Other ingredients of this sweet treat include ladyfingers, eggs, a bit of sugar, and cocoa, making this dessert extremely airy and tasty. Be sure, the real dolce vita is waiting for you in every slab!

12. Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta

Translated as "cooked cream" from Italian, simple yet delicious panna cotta will become a nice finale of a light meal. This basic pudding is believed to have originated from the northern region of Piedmont at the end of the 19th century. Being a mixture of cream, sugar, and vanilla, all thickened with gelatin, panna cotta is often served with raspberry sauce. However, since the recipe has developed a lot, today you can find different varieties of panna cotta, aromatized with coffee, chocolate, fruit, berries. Some restaurants may even offer to try lavender panna cotta!

13. Limoncello

When thinking of traditional Italian drinks, the most obvious thing that usually comes to mind is bright-yellow Limoncello. Being the signature drink of the genuine Amalfi Coast and Sorrento, which is the main lemon supplier in the country, the lemon liqueur Limoncello is a famous Italian digestif, drunk after a meal as to not feel so "full" (which is quite a challenge considering the richness of the Italian cuisine). Limoncello is served chilled, in small glasses. Plus, it is a popular ingredient for various cocktails, pastries, and even ice-cream.

14. Aperol

One more Italian invention which has gained wide popularity and become an essential part of summer parties around the globe is inimitable Aperol. Originated as a classic bitter Italian aperitif, Aperol includes such herbs as gentian and cinchona among other ingredients. Often drunk separately, Aperol is also used as a basis for the popular refreshing cocktail Aperol Spritz, having a perfect balance of sweet and bitter due to orange notes. Anyway, sipping a glass of Aperol Spritz in a tiny outdoor cafe is a must-do experience while in Italy.

15. Italian Wines
Italian wines

Compiling this rating, we couldn't omit iconic Italian wines as wine-drinking is a mighty part of Italian culture. No matter what part of Italy you are planning to add to your itinerary, you'll definitely have a chance for a wine degustation. Probably the most renowned Italian wine region is Tuscany, able to delight you with saturated red wines as Tignanello and Brunello di Montalcino, while Lombardy gives a chance to try authentic Lambrusco. The choice is so overwhelming that it's better making use of sommelier service to define your favorite!