A Culinary Journey through the Regions of Italy

Italian Cuisine by region
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Buongiorno, foodies! Did you know that Italian cuisine offers more than just pizza and pasta? As one of the world's most admired culinary destinations, Italy boasts a rich tapestry of mouth-watering dishes from various regions. Italy is often thought of as a mecca for foodies and they would be correct! This is a culinary journey through the regions of Italy.

However, each region has its own flavors and specialties that you need to try. One of the greatest things you can do while on vacation in Italy is take a food tour.

Check out each region below for some great foodie tours that will give you both an accurate and authentic taste of that region.

Abruzzo Cuisine

Italian Cuisine

To start our culinary journey through the regions of Italy, we have Abruzzo. This region is made up of nature reserves and national and regional parks. Common dishes found here are:

  • Scrippelle – these are little omelets/crepes with chili and smoked pancetta.
  • Minestrone delle Virtù – a soup that is made up of beans of all kinds, pork, and lard along with mint and marjoram.
  • Arrosticini Abruzzesi – these are barbeque like skewers made from sheep or lamb meat. This is a traditional dish in this region, and I recommend you try it.
  • Wine from Montepulciano is one of my favorites and you will find an abundance of it
Italian Cuisine Abruzzo

Abruzzo Restaurant Recommendations

Best Abruzzo Food Tour

Aosta Valley Cuisine

Italian Aosta Valley Cuisine

This is a tiny northwest region of Italy, bordering France which stretches its influence into the valley.

  • Polenta – ground cornmeal cooked with either broth or milk to create a creamy texture. Try the Polenta Concia, cornmeal cooked with melted fontina and served with a stew.
  • Fontina cheese – since it is made in this region you will find it everywhere. Try it in Fonduta Valdostana or Costoletta alla Valdostana which is a breaded veal cutlet topped with fontina cheese and ham.
  • Pasta is not as popular in this region. You will find more rice, polenta and soups.
Italian Cuisine Aosta Valley

Aosta Valley Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Stefenelli Desk, Via Claude d’Avise 14, 11100, Aosta Italy 
  2. La Bottegaccia, Via Sant’Anselmo 90, 11100, Aosta Italy
  3. Osteria La Vache Folle, Piazza Cavalieri di Vittorio Veneto 14, 11100, Aosta Italy
  4. Vecchio Ristoro – Ristorante in Aosta, Via Tourneuve 4, 11100, Aosta Italy

Best Aosta Valley Food Tour

Apulia Cuisine

Italian Apulia Cuisine

This region is located along the southeastern coast and known as Puglia.

  • Friselle – an Italian snack bread with tomato, oregano, and olive oil
  • Tielle of Puglia – an oven baked dish that uses potatoes, vegetables, and grated cheese.
  • Wine – try Castel del Monte white and red.
Italian Cuisine Apulia

Apulia Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Ristorante Grotta Palazzese Polignano, Via Narciso, 59, 70044 Polignano a mare BA, Italy
  2. Borgo Egnazia, Strada Comunale Egnazia 72015, Savelletri BR, Italy
  3. Masseria Moroseta, Contrada Lamacavallo, s/n, 72017 Ostuni BR, Italy
  4. Mint Cucina Fresca, Via S. Benedetto, 32, 70044 Polignano a mare BA, Italy. I ate dinner at this lovely little restaurant and have nothing but glowing things to say about it! 

Best Apulia Food Tour

Basilicata Cuisine

Italian Basilicata Cuisine

Continuing our culinary journey through the regions of Italy this southern region is filled with mountains and forests with coastlines on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionic Seas. Matera, Pollino National Park, Castelmezzano, and others are in this region.

  • Scardetta – pastry filled with ricotta cheese and hard-boiled eggs usually eaten at Easter with the person that gets the piece with the egg having luck for the next year.
  • Lagane – a wide flat pasta
  • Beans – the following are treasured legumes in this region: broad beans of Lavello and Potenza lentils.
  • Wine – if you like strong wines then try the red Aglianico or the whites Malvasia, Moscato, and Asprinio
Italian Cuisine Basilicata

Basilicata Restaurant Recommendations

  1. L’Abbondanza Lucana, Via Bruno Buozzi, 11, 75100 Matera MT, Italy
  2. Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, Via Civita, 28, 75100 Matera MT, Italy
  3. Taverna Rovita, Via Rovita 13, 85046 Maratea
  4. Ristorante Pizzeria, Via Santa Cesarea, 67/69, 75100 Matera MT, Italy

Best Basilicata Food Tour

Calabria Cuisine

Italian Calabria Cuisine

This is the toe of the boot at the very bottom. This region has some very distinct dishes and is known for its buffalo mozzarella and limoncello.

  • ‘Nduja – this looks gross, I won’t lie, but it is a very tasty, spicy, and spreadable pork sausage.
  • Soffritto di maiale – if you are feeling adventurous try this dish that mixes liver, tripe, pork, tomato, and chili in a rich stew. It is usually served with fresh crusty bread.
  • Sarde a Scapece – these are crunchy fried sardines dusted with breadcrumbs and served with mint, vinegar, and olive oil. Americans are used to eating things whole with head and tail, but I would encourage you to give these little guys a shot.
  • Wine – Calabria is known for its white, red, and rose Ciro.
Italian Cuisine Calabria

Calabria Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Baylik, Vico Leone n ° 1/3/5 – Reggio Calabria, Italy
  2. L’A Gournet L’Accademia, Via Largo Cristoforo Colombo, 6 – Reggio Calabria, Italy
  3. Ruris, Località Mazzotta – Isola Di Capo Rizzuto, Italy

Best Calabria Tour

Campania Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Campania

This is the Italian food that you are probably most familiar with. Naples is the home of pizza and the landscapes around the region offer a lot of diversity in the cuisine offered. Other cities you will find in this area are Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, and the islands of Capri and Ischia.

  • Pizza – This is not Pizza Hut or Papa Johns; this is real Italian pizza. Try it everywhere and see what you like the best, just make sure you visit the restaurants outside the tourist area for the best options.
  • Spaghetti aglio e olio – this is pasta with chili, garlic, and olive oil.
  • Spaghetti alla puttanesca – spaghetti with tomato, capers, anchovies, basil, chili, and basil sauce.
  • Wine – Try the Falanghina, Lacryma Christi del vesuvio and of course Limoncello
Italian Campania Cuisine

Campania Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Da Teresa, Via Santa Croce, 1, 84011 Amalfi, SA 
  2. La Tonnarella O’Bacchiss, Via Marina di Conca, 5, 84010, SA
  3. Da Ciccio, Via Luigi Mazzella, 32, 80077 Ischia, NA
  4. Chez Black, Parco Regionale dei Monti Lattari, Via del Brigantino, 84017 Positano SA

Best Campania Food Tour

Emilia-Romagna Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Emilia Romagna

This is where you will find the city of Bologna and some of the best lasagna in Italy.

  • Prosciutto di Parma – this decadent meat is cured and held in high esteem in this region. Try it, you will love it!
  • Parmigiano Reggiano – yep this is where you will find the salty nutty cheese in abundance.
  • Mortadella – basically Italian bologna but better, get it sliced thin and put it on a sandwich or with a charcuterie board.
  • Lasagna Bolognese – it all started in this region. You must try it in this area, you will not be disappointed.
  • Wines – if you like lighter wines then this region will be your friend.
Italian Cuisine Emilia Romagna

Emilia-Romagna Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Osteria Francescana, Via Stella, 22 41121 Modena MO, Italy 
  2. Franceschetta58, Via Vignolese, 58 Modena 41124, Italy
  3. Antica Moka, Via Emilia Est, 1496, 41126  Modena

Best Emilia-Romagna Food Tour

Friuli-Venezia Giulia Cuisine

Friuli-Venezia Giulia Cuisine

This is the mountainous region in the northeast corner of Italy with access to the Adriatic Sea. It also borders Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia and has been influenced by all. Cities include Verona, Udine, Trieste, Ampezzo, and Monfalcone.

  • Prosciutto di San Daniele – this is considered the best ham in Italy, and it is a-mazing
  • Montasio cheese – originated in the 13th century at the Moggio Udinese Abbey
  • Roasted fish and shellfish are usually on menus in this area as well.
  • Wine – Try it all, sometimes you will find local wines, others are from the neighboring countries.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italian Cuisine

Friuli-Venezia Giulia Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Agli Amici, 250 Via Liguria, Godia, Udine, 33100 
  2. La Subida, 52 Via Subida, Cormons, 34071
  3. L’Argine a Vencó, Località Vencò, Dolegna del Collio, Gorizia, 34070

Best Friuli-Venezia Giulia Tours

Lazio Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Lazio

Rome is included in this region – be careful where you decide to dine. A lot of the cuisine has been watered down to suit American tastebuds and it is not good. However, Lazio is famous for both fresh and dried pasta along with artichokes and zucchini.

  • Carbonara – this is one of my favorites if done properly and Rome is the home of its inception. Pasta mixed with egg yolk, parmesan, and guanciale (think, bacon) make this a tasty and fulling meal.
  • Amatriciana – Guanicale cooked with onion chili, and tomato sauce.
  • Cacio e pepe – translated as cheese and pepper, grated pecorino cheese and fresh ground black pepper make this one of the most ordered dishes.
  • Wine – This region is known for wines such as Trebbiano and Malvasia. You will also find Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot.
Italian Lazio Cuisine

Lazio Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Bono Bottega Nostrana, San Pietro, Via di Porta Cavalleggeri 109/111, 00165
  2. Bufalero, Via Passo del Turchino 18, 00139 Rome Italy Rome Italy
  3. L’Acqua Salata Restaurant, Piazza Aurelio Saffi 24 Centro Storico, 00053, Civitavecchia Italy
  4. Ristorante Evan’s dal 1960, Via Gari 1/3, 03043, Cassino Italy

Best Lazio / Rome Food Tours

Liguria Cuisine

Italian Liguria Cuisine

This is the narrow and long stretch of coastline that includes the Italian Riviera. You will find Genoa and Cinque Terre (five lands) in this region.

  • Seafood – in all ways, everywhere. In Cinque Terre you will find fritto misto di mare in paper cones served with a slice of juicy lemon. Grab one, it is awesome, especially on a hot day.
  • Coniglio alla Ligure – this dish is made with rabbit, pine nuts, olives, and white wine. Chef’s kiss **
  • Focaccia Ligure – bread that is usually served as a light meal, an appetizer, or a snack. It is made with local olive oil and onion or can be filled with cheese.
  • Wines – grab whites such as Vermentino and Pigato. If you are wanting a red, Rossese is the one you want to try.
Italian Cuisine Liguria

Liguria Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Millelire, Via XXV Aprile,153, 16039, Sestri Levante Italy
  2. Maxinin, Via Roma 31/R, 17052 Borghetto Santo Spirito Italy
  3. ARAGOSTA D’ORO, Via Palestro 4, 16039, Sestri Levante Italy
  4. Le Rune, alita Inferiore di Sant’Anna 13r Near Piazza Portello, 16125, Genoa Italy

Best Liguria Tours

Lombardy Cuisine

Italian Lombardy Cuisine

This is the area that encompasses Milan, Lake Como, and Lake Garda. It is the largest region by inhabitants.

  • CHEESE! You will find fresh Grana Padano, Robiola, Taleggio, Gorgonzola, and Tipico Lodigiano here. Don’t visit this area if you are on a diet, they like their butter and cream!
  • Risotto alla Milanese – risotto cooked in saffron stock and usually topped with bone marrow.
  • Ossobuco – crosscut veal shanks braised for hours in white wine and broth and served with vegetables, risotto, or polenta.
  • Bresaola della Valtellina – salted beef filet aged for several months.
  • Panettone – this famous cake is a sweet bread that is sent all over the world especially at Christmas.
  • Wines – try the Lugana, Bonarda, Malvasia, Lambrusco and the Italian version of champagne, Franciacorta.
Italian Cuisine Lombardy

Lombardy Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Al Donizetti, Via Gombito 17/a Bergamo, Lombardy  24129, Italy 
  2. Due Colombe Ristorante Al Borgo Antico, Via Foresti 13, Borgonato, Lombardy  25046, Italy
  3. Eta Beta, Via Disciplini 14 Riva del Garda, Trentino-Alto Adige  38066, Italy
  4. Feel Como, Via Generale Armando Diaz 54 Como, Lombardy  22100, Italy

Best Lombardy Food Tours

Marche Cuisine

Italian Marche Cuisine

This region is located to the east of Tuscany and combine limestone cliffs, medieval villages, and large valleys. Cities in this region are Ancona, Pesaro, Fano, Macerata, and Recanati.

  • Brodetto di Pesce di Ancona – fish and seafood soup with tomato sauce
  • Vincigrassi – a thin square pasta that is layered with chicken, mushrooms, white sauces, and truffles.
  • Olive all’ascolana – large olives filled with pork then breaded and fried.
  • Wines – Vedicchio di Jesi, red and white Piceno, and Vernaccia
Italian Cuisine Marche

Marche Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Filodivino, Via Serra, 46 San Marcello, Italy
  2. Ginestra in Fiore, Via Monte Conero, 14 – 60020 Sirolo, Italy
  3. Andreina, Via Buffolareccia 14, 60025 Loreto, Italy
  4. La Torre, Via della Torre, 1, 60026 Numana AN, Italy 

Best Marche Food Tours

Molise Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Molise

This is one of the smallest regions in Italy and is located north of Naples and to the east of Rome. It is a mountainous region with a small stretch of coastline along the Adriatic Sea.

  • Creoli – spaghetti type pasta cut with a metal tool that resembles a guitar.
  • Cavatelli – small cubes of pasta shells in the shape of tiny hot dog buns.
  • Pezzata – a stew of grilled lamb and sheep that has been slow cooked in tomato sauce with parsley, rosemary, onions, chili and oil.
  • Wines – red and white Ramitello, white, red or rose L’Aglianico and Moli
Italian Cuisine Molise

Molise Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Taberna Agricola, Contrada Cellarelle 25 Fossalto, 86020, Campobasso Italy 
  2. Don Giovanni, Via Sannitica 20/B Di fronte al municipio, 86039 Termoli Italy
  3. Ristorante Svevia, Via Giudicato Vecchio, 24, 86039 Termoli CB, Italy

Piedmont Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Piedmont

This region borders both France and Switzerland and thus combines its influence into their cuisine. You will find the ancient city of Turin in this area.

  • Ravioli, Agnolotti, and Taglierini – try all of these, especially pumpkin ravioli.
  • Finanziera – a rich stew made with offal and entrails of different animals. This isn’t something most Americans want to try but “when in Rome…”
  • Bollito misto – stew made from chicken, beef, pork, and sausage served with either a green or red sauce.
  • Polenta biscuits – this is used in both savory and sweet dishes.
  • Wines – reds are Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Barolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Brachetto, and Grignolino. Regional whites are Cortese, Gavi, Moscato, and Asti Spumante. The last two are sweet and bubbly.
Italian Cuisine Piedmont

Piedmont Restaurant Recommendations

  1. All’Enoteca, Via Roma, 57, 12043 Canale CN, Italy 
  2. Osteria da Gemma, Roddino, Via Guglielmo Marconi, 6, 12050 Roddino CN, Italy
  3. Il Centro, Via Umberto I°, 5, 12040 Priocca CN, Italy
  4. Osteria Delle Aie, Via Roma, 29, 12050 Castellinaldo d’Alba CN, Italy

Best Piedmont Food Tours

Sardinia Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Sardinia

This island is considered to be a micro-continent because of its ecosystem variety. It has mountains, sandy beaches, woodlands, green hills, and large vast uninhabited areas in between.

  • Fiore Sardo – a Sardinian pecorino cheese made with sheep’s milk.
  • Porcheduu – probably the most well-known dish of Sardinia is a roast suckling pig that has been slow cooked over aromatic wood on a spit with myrtle leaves.
  • Pane Carasau – typical flatbread
  • Wines – Try the excellent white wine of Nuragus, Vermentino, Torbato, Vernaccia, and Malvasia. The reds are equally as wonderful with the Cannonau di Sardegna being the most unique to the island.
Italian Cuisine Sardinia

Sardinia Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Somu Ristorante, Piazza Ventaglio, 07021 Baja Sardinia SS, Italy 
  2. Sa Mandra, Strada Provinciale 44, 1, 07041 Alghero SS, Italy
  3. Roberto Murgia Dolci in Corso, 07041 SS, Via Guglielmo Marconi, 11, 07041 Alghero SS, Italy
  4. Il Rifugio, Via Antonio Mereu, 28, 08100 Nuoro NU, Italy

Best Sardinia Tours

Sicily Cuisine

Italian Sicily Cuisine

This is the biggest island in the Mediterranean and has been invaded many times throughout history. This has made their cuisine very special with a lot of outside influences playing a role in its flavors.

  • Durum wheat pasta is found in almost every dish and worth trying.
  • Pasta alla Norma – tomato, fried aubergines basil, and oven baked ricotta, while you can find this dish all over Italy, it originated here.
  • Pasta ‘ncasciata – a pasta-bake with various ingredients and lots and lots of cheese.
  • Arancini – one of my favorite things to eat in Italy – deep fried rice balls with cheese or meat in the middle. I like the cheese ones the best.
  • Wines – Marsala wine is the most famous of all Sicilian wines but also try Zibibbo, Grillo, Nero d’Avola, Primitivo, Malvasia, Cataratto, Frappato, and Grecanico
Italian Cuisine Sicily

Sicily Restaurant Recommendations

  1. La Galleria, Salita Ramirez, 2, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy 
  2. Calarittu, Via Michele Rapisardi 6 Accanto piazza teatro massimo, 95131 Catania, Sicily Italy
  3. Capricci in Tavola (Casimiro), Corso Italia 57/59 Vicino Il Tribunale, 91100, Trapani, Sicily Italy
  4. Porta Terra Ristorante, Piazza Garibaldi, 5, 90015, Cefalu, Sicily Italy

Best Sicily Tours

Trentino-South Tyrol Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Trentino

This is the home of the Dolomites and Trentino. This is one of my favorite regions with unsurpassed beauty and extreme landscapes. The cuisine is heavily influenced by neighboring Austria and Germany,

  • Smoked everything – literally everything from pork, veal, beef, sausages, cavallo (horse) and donkey meat.
  • Speck – literally drooling as I write this, this is a peppered smoked pork belly that is usually served with bread or on a charcuterie board.
  • Strangolapreti – potato-spinach gnocchi from Trentino served from parmesan cheese and melted butter.
  • Wines – omg where do I start… the most popular whites are Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and the sweeter Riesling and Moscato. The reds are Lagrein, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Schiava, and Teroldego.

Trentino-South Tyrol Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Kürbishof, Frazione Guggal 23, 39040 Guggal BZ, Italy 
  2. Gasthaus Lamm, Via del Villaggio 36, 39010 San Martino In Passiria BZ, Italy
  3. Pretzhof, Frazione Tulve 259, 39049 Prati BZ, Italy
  4. Locanda Margon, Via Margone 15, 38123, Trento Italy

Best Trentino-South Tyrol Tours

Tuscany Cuisine

Italian Tuscany Cuisine

This is one of the most well-known regions, not a town, but a region of Italy. Cities such as Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Montepulciano are all located in this area, It is also known for some of the finest olive oils, sheep cheese and meat dishes in Italy.

  • Bistecca alla Fiorentina – Fiorentina steak – this is the most popular dish in Tuscany, you must try.
  • Bruchetta – slice of Toscano bread grilled and rubbed with garlic before being topped with extra virgin olive oil and sometimes a mix of tomatoes and herbs.
  • Gnudi – a gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta and served with butter and sage.
  • Wines – this region is world-renown for its wines. The best is Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Vernaccia, and Vin Santo.
Italian Cuisine Tuscany

Tuscany Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Il Faconiere, Loc. San Martino a Bocena, 370 Cortona, Italy 
  2. Enoteca Pinchiorri, Via Ghibellina, 87 – 50122 Florence, Italy
  3. L’Imbuto, Piazza del Collegio, 7, 55100 Lucca, Italy
  4. Il Canto del Maggio, Loc, Via della Penna Alta, 30/d, 52028 Terranuova Bracciolini AR, Italy

Best Tuscany Food Tours

Umbria Cuisine

Italian Umbria Cuisine

this regions borderes Tuscany and Lazio and is known for black truffles, olive oil, and lentils from a small village in the Apennine Mountains known as Castelluccio di Norcia.

  • Porchetta – this pork roast is slow roasted on an open fire for at least 8 hours.
  • Mazzafegato – a dried-cured salami sausage made of pork liver, orange zest, pine nuts and sultanas (green grapes in a raisin style)
  • Trote alle nocciole – a pan-cooked river trout with white wine and hazelnuts.
  • Wines – this region produces Orvieto, Trebbiano, and the rare Montefranco Segrantino
Italian Umbria Cuisine

Umbria Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Ristorante Il Giurista, Via Bartolo 30 Nel Cuore Del Centro Storico Alle Spalle Del Duomo., 06122, Perugia Italy 
  2. La Bella Trattoria Degli Angeli, Via Los Angeles 47, 06081 Santa Maria degli Angeli, Assisi Italy
  3. Enoteca L’Alchimista, Piazza del Comune 14, 06036, Montefalco Italy
  4. Locanda de’ Senari, Via della Bufera, 06046 Castelluccio di Norcia Italy

Best Umbria Food Tours

Veneto Cuisine

Italian Cuisine Veneto

This region is most known for being home to Venice, however the area stretches from the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea. Also in the region are Verona, Padua, Cortina d’Ampezzo and Chioggia.

  • Risi e Bisi – thick soup made with rice and peas – it’s actually better than it sounds.
  • Risotto – I love this dish and will try it in every flavor and format it comes in.
  • Pasta e Fagioli – rich soup with pasta, beans, onions and herbs, usually topped with olive oil.
  • Tiramisu – this is where the famous dessert originated from, and you must try it at its birthplace.
  • Wines – this region is well-known for its wine production. You must try Valpollicella, Valpollicella Ripasso, Amarone, Reciotto, Soave, Bardolino, and Cabernet.
Italian Cuisine Veneto

Veneto Restaurant Recommendations

  1. Osteria Fanal Del Codega, Fondamenta del Forner San Polo 2924 Beside Fermata San Tomà, 30125 Venice Italy
  2. L’Evangelista Ristorante & Enoteca, Via Dietro Listone 19/D A 10 Metri da Piazza Bra, 37121, Verona Italy
  3. So’ Riva – Materie Prime, Passaggio Elena Lucrezia Corner Piscopia 20, 35137, Padua Italy
  4. Ristorante Al Camin, Via Alvera’ 99, 32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo Italy

Best Veneto Food Tours

Don’t miss out! Follow my gastronomic journey on social media and share your favorite Italian dish with me in the comments. Happy eating and “Mangia Bene!” 🍝

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