Interested in authentic Italian cuisine, authentic Italian food, and the best authentic Italian recipes? Or for some Italian food ideas?
Italy’s cuisine is one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. And here is the ultimate list of traditional foods in Italy to whet your appetite on your trip to Italy and at home
I love Italy.
I have traveled to Italy numerous times. Far more than it’s written on this blog.
But, here you can find my Tuscany road trip in central Italy and my Puglia road trip in southern Italy (in my opinion, they are the must-take road trips in a lifetime!) or you can read about the famous Venice Carnival masks and the world-renowned Venetian Carnival in Italy.
Ok, I admit, it’s easy for me to go to Italy.
After all, I am from Croatia and Italy is just across the Adriatic Sea.
It is easy for me to talk about traditional Italian cuisine and food from Italy. The traditional cuisine of the Croatian coast is heavily influenced by Italian cuisine. Many of the dishes I have listed here are traditionally eaten in the coastal part of Croatia, called Dalmatia, too. The best gnocchi dumplings I have eaten ever in my life were the gnocchi made by my late grandmother in Croatia. Luckily I keep her gnocchi recipe!
If you ask me, hardly any food in the world can compare to Mediterranean food.
But, Italian cuisine and Italian food traditions have left a mark on the whole world. Italian food specialties are praised all over the world. Foods from Italy (like Italian pasta, pizza, gelato, or semifreddo to name a few) are widely appreciated.
However, if you are traveling to Italy and you are interested in traditional Italian cuisine and Italian food culture, here’s the ultimate Italian foods list covering traditional Italian food, classic Italian food, authentic Italian food, staple Italian food … the most famous Italian food, the most popular Italian food, the most delicious Italian food, fancy Italian food, classic Italian restaurant food … various types of Italian food (from various pasta, soups, pizza to desserts). In this post, you will find the best Italian meals that make the very best Italian food menus!
In short, the following Italian food list summarizes the best Italian foods you need to sample on your next trip to Italy.
And, yes, I have listed the original names of Italian food and Italian food descriptions (with many Italian food pictures and recipes of Italian dishes. Most notably, Italian classic recipes!)!
Italian traditional foods
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67 Most popular traditional foods in Italy
Selection of heavenly delicious food in Italy you should not miss out on your Italian vacation
67 most famous traditional Italian foods
Food of Italy:
1. Ragu alla Bolognese – The national dish of Italy
Ragu Alla Bolognese, or Bolognese sauce, is considered to be the national dish of Italy since it is used widely in Italian cuisine with many traditional Italian dishes and some of the best Italian dishes (spaghetti, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine…) across Italy.
Authentic Bolognese sauce is made from tomatoes, minced beef, garlic, wine, and herbs. Although Bolognese sauce originates from the city of Bologna, you can enjoy it throughout Italy.
WATCH : Ragu Alla Bolognese recipe -an authentic Italian recipe
Historic Bologna is a beautiful city with stunning Piazza Maggiore, amazing medieval and Renaissance architecture, lovely cafes, and world-class restaurants. Besides that, Bologna is one of the top foodie destinations in Italy.
Bologna is only 2 hours and 30 min by rain from Rome. Bologna is one of the best day trips from Rome.
So, don’t forget to add one of these awesome food tours in Bologna to your bucket list! Exploring the gastronomy of Bologna is one of the many amazing things to do in Bologna Italy!
2. Pizza – The most famous Italian dish and a must-try Italian food in Italy
Italian pizza is one of the most popular food in the world.
Unquestionably, pizza is one of the most famous Italian foods ever. In fact, pizza is the most famous Italian dish.
This traditional Italian food is made of flattened round dough topped with cheese, and tomatoes, and additionally garnished with basil, olives, and oregano. Pizza was invented in Naples, Italy. So, savoring authentic Naples-style pizza is among the best things to do in Naples, Italy.
Depending on the toppings, among the most famous types of traditional Italian pizza are Margherita all Napoletana (Naples-style pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil), Pizza Marinara (with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano), Pizza Quattro Stagioni (‘four seasons’ pizza with four sections of four different toppings), Pizza Quattro Formaggi (pizza with four different kinds of cheese), and Pizza Siciliana (Sicilian style pizza with tomatoes, cheese, onions, and anchovies).
There’s no question, that pizza is one of the top 5 Italian foods.
if you are traveling to Naples, the birthplace of pizza, check out my articles on Where to Stay in Naples, Italy, and One Day in Naples Itinerary.
WATCH: Napolitan pizza recipe
3. Focaccia – The famous Italian flatbread
Focaccia is a traditional Italian flatbread similar to pizza.
The most popular focaccia is Focaccia al Rosmarin (Foccacia garnished with rosemary). Focaccia is commonly served as a side bread with typical Italian dishes, as an appetizer, snack, and as sandwich bread.
There are two types of focaccia: savory and sweet. Savory focaccia (with rosemary, garlic, basil, or even prosciutto) and sweet focaccia (with honey, raisins, sugar, and similar sweet ingredients).
Focaccia is a typical Italian fast food. WATCH: Focaccia recipe
4. Spaghetti – The most famous Italian pasta
Talking about Italian staple foods, iconic Italian pasta is most likely the No 1. staple food in Italy.
Pasta is one of the top common Italian foods. And, the most popular Italian pasta is spaghetti.
This long and thin pasta is traditionally prepared with only garlic and olive oil (Spaghetti Aglio Olio), spaghetti with tomato sauce and basil (Spaghetti al Pomodoro e Basilico), spaghetti with minced meat sauce (Spaghetti Bolognese), spaghetti with cheese and pepper (Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe), with clams (Spaghetti Alle Vongole) or with bacon (Spaghetti Carbonara) and usually topped with grated hard Italian cheese like world-famous Parmigiano Reggiano or equally popular Grana Padano cheese.
Yet the preparation of spaghetti differs a lot from one Italian region to another region. Thus, if you want to try classic Italian dishes, you need to go for some classic spaghetti dishes.
If you are traveling to Rome, please try Spaghetti Carbonara, a traditional spaghetti dish from Rome.
Roman Spaghetti Carbonara is one of the most delicious authentic Italian dishes.
WATCH: Spaghetti Carbonara recipe
5. Lasagna – The famous Italian layered pasta dish
Lasagna (sg.) is another famous Italian dish that has achieved worldwide recognition.
Classic Italian lasagne (pl.) are made of layers of flat and wide pasta with a sauce of meat, vegetables, and cheese. Lasagne originates from Naples, but today you can eat lasagne all over Italy.
Lasagne are some of those Italian traditional food all gourmands look forward to on their trip to Italy.
WATCH: Lasagne recipe
Authentic Italian pizza, classic Italian spaghetti, traditional Italian lasagne … sounds delicious?! Italy is one of the best countries for food travel! When in Italy, check out some of these amazing Italian food tours in Italy!
6. Gnocchi – The famous Italian dumplings
Gnocchi pasta is one of the most popular traditional foods in Italy.
Gnocchi dumplings refer to small and thick dumplings. But the Italian dumplings are traditionally homemade from potatoes and cheese.
But depending on the Italian region, they can be made from semolina, wheat flour, or breadcrumbs instead of potatoes. Gnocchi dumplings are prepared by boiling in salted water and served with a tasty sauce.
If you are traveling to Tuscany and Lombardy, please try Malfatti Gnocchi with ricotta cheese and spinach. But if you are going to Naples and the Campania region, taste Strangulaprievete Gnocchi (priest stranglers) with a fresh tomato sauce. Or when in Sardinia, opt for little Sardinian Malloreddus Gnocchi alla Campidanese with sausage sauce.
WATCH: Gnocchi Alla Sorentina recipe
Are you planning a trip to Italy last minute?
Are you interested in sampling traditional Italian food in Italy?
If you are traveling to Italy last minute, I prepared a short summary of the best food and drinks tours in Italy to make your trip absolutely delicious!
BEST FOOD TOURS IN ROME:
Rome: Street Food Tour with Local Guide(the most popular food tour in Rome)
Rome: 4-Hour Food Tour by Night (a top-seller food tour in Rome)
Rome: Traditional Food Tour and Wine Tasting (a popular food tour in Rome)
Rome: Pasta & Tiramisu Workshop with Dinner (the most popular cooking class in Rome)
Rome: 4-Hour Combo Pizza and Pasta Cooking Class(a top-seller cooking class in Rome)
BEST FOOD TOURS IN TUSCANY:
Florence: Chianti Wineries Tour with Food and Wine Tasting(the most popular food tour from Florence)
From Rome: Tuscany Day Trip with Lunch and Wine Tasting (the most popular food tour from Rome)
BEST FOOD TOURS IN SICILY:
Food and gourmand tours in Sicily
BEST FOOD TOURS IN VENICE:
Food and gourmand tours in Venice
7. Risotto – The famous Italian rice dish
Rice is a staple food of Italy, of course. And, risotto is one of the most famous traditional Italian dishes.
Even more, risotto is one of the top favorite Italian dishes ever. Authentic risotto originates from the Lombardy region. But over time it has become one of the most popular Italian dishes ever.
This classic Italian rice dish is prepared with various meat, fish, or vegetable broths with onion, olive oil or butter, or even lard, white wine, and Parmesan cheese.
All over Italy, you can indulge in various risotto dishes made traditionally of Arborio rice or Carnaroli rice. Arborio and Carnaroli rice are authentic Italian rice varieties. (Jasmine rice is a typical rice variety from Southern Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. For instance, many traditional Vietnamese dishes are made with Jasmine rice.)
Some of the most popular Italian rice dishes are chicken and pea risotto, mushroom risotto, seafood risotto, shrimp risotto, and beef mince risotto … But if you are visiting the city of Milan in Lombardy, don’t miss an opportunity to taste authentic saffron-flavored Risotto alla Milanese with beef stock, lard, and cheese.
Although my all-time favorite risotto is black risotto with cuttlefish. Risotto al Nero di seppia originates from the Veneto region!
Just to remind you, in case you are traveling to Croatia or Montenegro and you want to try black risotto, ask for ‘crni rižoto‘. And when in Spain, keep in mind that ‘el arroz negro‘ is popular Spanish food too.
WATCH: Risotto alla Milanese recipe
8. Ravioli – The famous square-shaped Italian pasta with a filling
Traditional Italian ravioli are square-shaped pasta with a filling.
Ravioli are eaten throughout Italy. But nevertheless, ravioli filling varies from one Italian region to another.
In Rome and the Lazio region, the filling is made with spinach, ricotta cheese, pepper, and nutmeg, while in Sardinia a mix of cheese and lemon rid is used for the filling.
WATCH: Ravioli recipe
9. Tagliatelle – The famous ribbon-shaped Italian pasta from Bologna
If you are traveling to the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Marche, go for tagliatelle pasta as this traditional Italian pasta in the shape of long and flat ribbons originates from there.
Tagliatelle pasta comes with many sauces, but if you happen to visit Bologna go for traditional Bolognese tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce.
WATCH: Tagliatelle recipe
10. Pappardelle – The popular Italian pasta from Tuscany
Pappardelle pasta noodles are broad, flat, and thick pasta noodles coming from Tuscany.
They are similar to tagliatelle from Bologna. Pappardelle pasta is typically eaten with chicken or beef sauce. Today pappardelle noodles are common pasta in Roman cuisine and Tuscan cuisine.
WATCH: Pappardelle recipe
When in Tuscany, do yourself a favor and check out some of these fantastic food tours in Tuscany! PS: You can thank me later!
11. Fettuccine – The famous ribbon-shaped Italian pasta from Rome and Tuscany
This is another type of pasta that is typical for Tuscan and Roman cuisine.
Fettuccine pasta is ribbon-style pasta. Traditional fettuccine pasta comes with chicken or beef sauce, but popular versions of fettuccine come also with tomatoes (Fettuccine al Pomodoro), creamy cheese (Fettuccine Alfredo), and seafood.
WATCH: Fettuccine Alfredo recipe
12. Linguine – the famous ribbon-shaped Italian pasta from Genoa
Linguine is an oval-shaped ribbon-style pasta similar to fettuccine. Linguine pasta is wider than spaghetti and more narrow than fettuccine.
This traditional Italian pasta originally comes from the city of Genoa and the region of Liguria. If you are taking a trip to Genoa, try authentic linguine pasta in Genova!
Traditional Italian pasta dishes are some of the most toothsome dishes in the world! What about taking a pasta cooking class in Italy? Check out these awesome pasta cooking classes in Italy!
13. Carpaccio – The famous thinly sliced raw fish or meat from Venice
Carpaccio is a traditional Italian appetizer made of finely sliced thin meat or fish.
The original carpaccio is beef carpaccio and it comes from Venice. Thus, when in Venice, please put carpaccio on your menu.
Magnificient Venice, La Serenissima …. when in Venice, make it even more magical and try out this yummy cooking class in Venice!
14. Bistecca alla Fiorentina – The famous veal steak from Florence
Florentine-style steak is a famous veal meat stake originating from the city of Florence in Italy.
Traditional Bistecca Alla Fiorentina is a T-bone veal steak prepared on glowing coal, light layers, and ashes in such a way to get the meat colored from the outside but juicy, soft, and red from the inside.
If you are traveling to Tuscany and Florence, be sure not to miss tasting authentic Florence Stake. The Florentine steak is one of the best food in Tuscany and the best food in Italy to treat yourself with.
15. Melanzane alla parmigana – The Italian-style aubergines with Parmesan cheese
Iconic Melanzane Alla Parmigiana is a traditional Italian dish made of deep-fried layers of eggplants with a sauce made of tomatoes and parmesan cheese and baked in an oven.
Although Melanzane Alla Parmigiana is a typical vegetarian Italian dish, sometimes it is made with meat too. Parmigiana originates from Sicily and Campania region and it is one of the most famous Italian dishes. If you are traveling to Naples and Parma, keep in mind to try authentic Melanzane Alla Parmigiana.
WATCH: Melanzane Alla Parmigana recipe
16. Bottarga – The popular Italian dried fish roe from Sicily and Sardinia
Italian bottarga refers to salted and cured fish roe (tuna or grey mullet).
Once “the poor man’s caviar”, in modern times bottarga is a delicacy often called the Gold of the Sea. Italian bottarga originates from Sardinia and Sicily. Smooth and silky in texture and salty in flavor, bottarga comes with many pasta dishes, salads, and vegetables.
If you are heading to Sardinia, choose Bottarga di Muggine (grey mullet bottarga). And if you are traveling to Sicily, try Bottarga di Tonno (tuna bottarga).
17. Ricci di mare – Sea urchins are a delicacy food in Italy
Let’s talk about Italian delicacies and exotic Italian food.
Ricci di mare, aka sea urchins, are food delicacies in Italy and beyond. Sea urchins are eaten in Italy from Naples to Sicily.
In Italy, sea urchins are consumed fresh and raw scooped out of the shells with squeezed lemon juice, or with pasta (pasta ai Ricci di mare). If you are after sampling seafood delicacies and some of the Italian best food on your trip to Italy, then sea urchins need to be on your list of Italian foods to try.
18. Bruschetta – The famous Italian finger food
Crispy bruschetta is a famous Italian appetizer, popularly known as Italian cheesy garlic bread.
Traditional Italian bruschetta is grilled bread scrubbed with garlic and garnished with olive oil and salt. Sometimes it comes topped with cheese, tomatoes, prosciutto, various salami, and various vegetables. The most popular Italian bruschetta comes with tomatoes and fresh basil.
Bruschetta originates from ancient Rome and today you can enjoy it throughout Italy.
Tiny and tasty bruschette are popular finger foods in Italy.
WATCH: Bruschetta recipe
19. Grissini – The popular Italian breadsticks from Turin
Crusty grissini are traditional Italian breadsticks.
These crispy, long and uneven breadsticks are typical Italian snacks and appetizers. They originate from the city of Turin.
20. Taralli – The traditional crackers from southern Italy
Taralli are traditional snacks from Puglia, Campania, Molise, and Basilicata regions in southern Italy.
These crunchy southern Italian pretzels are made with flour, extra virgin olive oil, and white wine and shaped into rings.
There are big taralli and small taralli (called tarallini). And they can be sweet or savory. Sweet taralii typically have a sugar gaze. Savory taralli are traditionally seasoned with herbs and spices (like rosemary, fennel, anise, and chili).
If you are planning a trip to southern Italy, taralli pretzels need to be on your must-try Italian food bucket list!
21. Polenta – The traditional Italian cornmeal
Polenta is a traditional Italian dish made of boiled cornmeal, originating from central and northern Italy.
This simple poor man meal is commonly served instead of potatoes, rice, or pasta.
Polenta has crossed the borders of Italy, and it is enjoyed in neighboring countries like Switzerland, Slovenia, and Croatia. Today polenta is not only one of the top staple foods of Italy. But also Swiss, Slovenian, and Croatian staple food.
22. Pasta e fagioli – The thick Italian soup with pasta and beans
Pasta with beans is a thick traditional Italian soup coming from the Italian regions of Emilia-Romania and Campania.
Ingredients of Pasta E Fagioli may vary from one region to another, but the main ingredients always remain tiny pasta, beans, olive oil, onion, garlic, and tomato paste.
WATCH: Pasta E Fagioli recipe
23. Pasta e ceci – The Italian pasta dish with chickpeas
Pasta with chickpeas is a similar soup to Pasta e Fagioli.
Pasta e Ceci is one of the most common Italian foods and one of those authentic Italian dishes you need to try in Italy.
Pasta e Ceci Alla Romana is a famous dish originating from Rome. Roman pasta e ceci typically comes with anchovies.
Pasta e Ceci is also a typical soup in the regions of Sicily, Campania, and Puglia.
Cicceri e Tria is a famous pasta dish from Puglia. The dish is made with local pasta called tria and chickpeas, or ciceri in Latin.
WATCH: Pasta E Ceci recipe
24. Minestrone soup – The famous Italian soup with seasonal vegetables and pasta
Popular Minestrone soup is one of the most common foods in Italy.
Minestrone is a thick vegetable soup made with pasta and rice and a tomato-based broth. Minestrone is typically made with seasonal hearty vegetables like beans, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, and carrots.
Actually, there is no strict recipe for Minestrone soup since it’s commonly made with leftover vegetables and it might include meat, but not necessarily. Classic Italian Minestrone soup is a brothy and hearty soup similar to the above-mentioned Pasta e Fagioli and Pasta e Ceci Alla Romana.
WATCH: Minestrone soup recipe
25. Tortellini – The button-shaped Italian pasta from Emilia-Romagna
Tortellini are popular button-shaped pasta filled with meat, cheese, nutmeg, and egg, cooked in water, stir-fried with sage and butter, and served with broth.
This famous pasta originates from the Emilia Romagna region. If you are traveling to Modena or Bologna, please try authentic tortellini in Bologna and Modena.
26. Polpette – The traditional Italian meatballs
Polpette meatballs are traditional Italian meatballs made of minced meat, eggs, parsley, and Parmigiano cheese.
Meat lovers argue that Italian meatballs are some of the most delicious authentic Italian foods overall.
Italian polpette are typically made of veal or beef meat. But when they are made of fish, they are called crochette (crocchette al pesce). Most commonly they come as a snack or second course. In southern Italy, they come as a main course served in a tomato sauce though.
27. Arancini – The Italian rice balls from Sicily
Arancini are traditional Italian stuffed and deep-fried rice balls originally coming from Sicily.
Looking like oranges, they are typically filled with minced meat, mozzarella cheese, béchamel sauce, ham, and peas. Today arancini are popular finger food in modern Italian cuisine.
28. Rise e bisi – The classic Italian soup with rice and beans from Venice
‘Rice and peas’ is one of the most common traditional Italian dishes.
Contrary to common belief outside of Italy, risi e bisi is a thick soup, not a risotto. It originates from Venice where typically it is flavored with pancetta (pork belly salumi).
So, if you are traveling to Venice and want to eat local Venice food, take ‘Risi e bisi’.
WATCH: Risi E Bisi recipe
29. Carciofi alla Giudia – The famous Jewish-style fried artichokes dish from Rome
Carciofi alla Giudia or Jewish-style fried artichokes have been a popular dish in Italy for centuries tracing back to the Jewish ghetto in Rome in 1555.
Typically they are served as a first course (primo platto). When in Rome, try fried artichokes in the Jewish Quarter of Rome.
WATCH: Carciofi alla Giudia recipe
30. Vitello tonnato – The famous Italian veal dish in creamy tuna sauce from Piedmont
Vitello tonnato is a famous Italian dish served as a cold appetizer (antipasto).
It originates from the Piedmont region. This classic Italian dish is made from meat (veal) and fish (tuna). In fact, ‘vitello tonnato‘ literally means ‘veal tuna‘. The dish is made of sliced veal covered with creamy tuna sauce seasoned with capers, anchovies, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Vitello tonnato is a traditional Italain Christmas food. Vitello Tonato is a typical Christmas dish in Italy, but nowadays it’s also served as a cold summer dish.
WATCH: Vitello tonnato recipe
31. Parmigiano Reggiano – The famous Italian hard cheese from Parma
Parmesan cheese is world-famous Italian hard cheese coming from the province of Parma in the Emilia Romagna region.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard cow’s milk cheese, nicknamed ‘King of Cheeses’. Commonly Parmesan cheese is grated over pasta, risotto, and salads but it is also eaten alone.
If you are traveling to Parma in Italy, tasting slices of authentic Parmesan Reggiano should not be missed out.
32. Grana Padano – The popular Italian hard cheese from Lombardy
Grana Padano is another famous Italian cheese that comes from the region of Lombardy and the Po River valley.
Grana Padano is a hard cheese of grainy texture, very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano. If you are travailing to Milan or Lake Como, go for authentic Grana Padano cheese.
33. Mozzarella – The famous Italian semi-soft cheese from Lazio
White mozzarella cheese is a popular Italian cheese made from Italian water buffalo’s milk.
Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese very mild in taste. Although there are different types of mozzarella cheese (made from buffalo’s milk, cow’s milk, goats’ milk, and sheep’s milk), authentic mozzarella from southern Italy is always buffalo mozzarella (Mozzarella di Bufala Campana).
Classic mozzarella comes from the Lazio and Campana regions. Traditionally mozzarella is an ingredient in various pasta dishes, popular Caprese salad, and different kinds of pizza.
34. Gorgonzola – The famous Italian blue cheese from Gorgonzola
To talk about the most popular Italian cheese and not to mention gorgonzola would be unfair.
Gorgonzola is the most famous Italian blue cheese. To tell the truth, this veined blue cheese is a top staple food from Italy, as it can be consumed in many ways (like a pizza topping, in a dish as an ingredient, in a sauce, as a side dish…).
Gorgonzola cheese comes from the town of Gorgonzola near Milan in northern Italy.
35. Insalata Caprese – The famous Italian salad with cheese, tomatoes, and basil
Caprese salad is a famous Italian salad made of fresh sliced tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese, garnished with olive oil, Aceto balsamico (Italian vinegar), and fresh basil leaves.
Caprese salad is traditionally an appetizer in Italy (not a side dish).
36. Prosciutto – The famous Italian dry-cured ham
Prosciutto is famous Italian air-cured ham. Italian prosciutto typically refers to raw ham (prosciutto crudo) and rarely to cooked ham (prosciutto cotto).
It originates from the Po River Valley, but is it eaten across Italy as an appetizer. Sometimes prosciutto is also called Parma ham as the most appreciated prosciutto in Italy is Prosciutto di Parma from Parma province in the Emilia Romagna region in Po River Valley.
37. Prosciutto e melone – Ham with melon is a famous appetizer in Italy
Prosciutto e Melone is a famous Italian dish made with cured ham and cantaloupe.
Dry and salty ham with sweet and juicy cantaloupe has been a favorite Italian starter dish on hot summer days for centuries.
If you’re traveling to Italy in summer, don’t forget to order this iconic Italian antipasto dish.
38. Salami – The traditional Italian sausages
Salami sausages are some of the most popular traditional foods in Italy.
Salami is traditional Italian sausages (dry-cured and fresh) made of typically pork meat mixed with high-quality pork fat and spiced with pepper, salt, garlic, wine, fennel, and sometimes even cinnamon.
Sometimes Italian salami sausages are made with some other meats as well like: beef or rabbit meat. But nevertheless, all salami are red from the inside with white fat.
Sausages are among the most common Italian foods.
Depending on your Italian itinerary and Italian destinations, think of trying chicken or rabbit based Cacciatore sausage from Calabria, or Soppressata di Calabria, Salame di Felino from Parma, pork and fennel based finocchiona sausage (Salame Finocchiona) or Soppressata Toscana from Tuscany, Salame Napoletano with peperoncino, Genovese pork-based salami, Ciauscolo salami with pork meat, white wine, garlic and black pepper from Marche region.
39. Mortadella – The famous Italian pork sausage
Probably the most famous Italian sausage (salume) is Mortadella di Bologna.
This traditional Italian pork-based sausage is made with black pepper, pistachios, and myrtle berries.
Although you can eat different variations of mortadella in Italy such as Prato mortadella with garlic and ‘alchermes‘ liquor from Tuscany or smoked Amatrice mortadella, authentic Mortadella di Bologna in Bologna is famed as the best mortadella.
40. Pesto alla Genovese – The iconic Italian sauce from Genoa
Genoa sauce is a world-renewed Italian sauce made from fresh basil leaves, smashed garlic, pine nuts, and hard cheese blended with extra virgin olive oil.
Original pesto comes from the city of Genoa. Pest Genovese is named after the city. Pesto typically comes with various pasta dishes. Thus, when in Genova don’t miss out on Pesto Genovese.
Pesto Genovese is one of the top must-try traditional foods in Italy.
WATCH: Pesto Genovese recipe – one of the best Italian authentic recipes
41. Tartufo – The famous Italian delicacy
Italian Tartufo (truffle) is a highly prized gourmet delicacy, especially Tartufo Bianco (white truffle) from the Piedmont region. Aromatic truffles are upscale Italian food.
White truffles reach regularly the price of several thousand dollars per kilo on the market. Fresh truffles are used over pasta, risotto, eggs, and salads in Italy. The city of Alba in the Piedmont region is nicknamed the White Truffle Capital of the World.
If you are traveling to the city of Alba in Italy from September to December when the truffles season is, try a local food delicacy called Carne Cruda all’ Albese. Black truffles are also a delicacy food but less aromatic and less praised than white truffles.
Umbria in central Italy is famous for black truffles. If you traveling to the city of Assisi and in the Umbria region, be sure to try the Asissi omelet with truffles. Tasting traditional Umbrian dishes with local black truffles is among the best things to do in Umbria, Italy.
If you are a foodie and you want a unique souvenir from your trip to Italy, Italian olive oil with truffles could be your thing.
42. Olio d’oliva – The traditional Italian olive oil
Italy is the second producer of olive oil in the World, following only Spain by production.
Olive oil is one of the most common traditional foods in Italy. Olive oil is produced in Italy from the north to the south, from Lombardy to Calabria, Sicily, and Sardinia.
But, some of the best Italian olive oils come from Tuscany, the Lake Garda area, Lazio Region, and Sardinia.
Depending on where you are heading to on your Italy vacations, you could indulge in peppery flavored olive oil from Tuscany, herbal-flavored olive oil from Liguria, delicate and rare olive oil from Lake Garda, tomato-like flavored olive oil from the Lazio region, and artichoke, and cardoon-like flavored olive oil from Sardinia.
43. Aceto Balsamico – The famous Italian vinegar from Modena
Balsamic vinegar from Modena and Reggio Emilia is world-famous Italian vinegar made from grape must.
Traditionally Aceto balsamico is used with pasta dishes and risotto dishes, and some seafood like shrimps and scallops, but also with grilled fish, eggs, and fresh fruits. If you are heading to Modena or Reggio Emilia region, don’t miss sampling first-class Italian balsamic vinegar.
Aceto balsamico is absolutely one of the most famous Italian foods ever.
44. Campari – The famous Italian liqueur
Italian liquors are among the top popular Italian foods.
Iconic campari liquor is the most popular Italian liquor sold today in more than 190 countries worldwide.
This aromatic dark red, and bitter-sweet in-taste Italian drink is commonly used in various cocktails. The city of Novara in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy is the hometown of this world-famous liquor made from aromatic herbs, plants, and fruits.
45. Limoncello – The popular Italian lemon liqueur from southern Italy
Limoncello is a world-renewed Italian lemon-flavored liquor originating from southern Italy, more precisely from the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the Sorrento Peninsula.
This classic sweet and citrusy Italian drink is made by soaking lemon zests in neutral grain alcohol for months. Traditionally it is served chilled after dinner as a digestive. If you are planning your next vacation on the Amalfi Coast, you don’t want to miss out on sampling authentic limoncello for sure.
46. Aperol spritz – The iconic Italian drink from Padua
Aperol Spritz is among the most popular drinks in Italy.
Similar to Campari, but with less alcohol and with much less bitter in taste comes orange-colored Aperol, another classic Italian drink. While Campari is digestive, Aperol is an aperitif.
In Italy, extremely popular is the Aperol spritz, a cocktail made of Aperol, soda water, Prosecco wine, and a slice of orange.
Aperol and Aperol Spritz originate from Padua, but they are widely consumed throughout Italy, especially during hot summer days.
47. Prosecco – The famous Italian sparkling wine from Prosecco village
Authentic Italian wines are some of the most famous foods from Italy.
Prosecco is a famous Italian sparkling wine named after the village where it comes from – Prosecco village, close to Treviso and Venice.
These days Prosecco is produced in a larger area of northeast Italy. In 2019 Prosecco hills received world heritage status from UNESCO. There are three types of Prosecco: Prosecco Spumante (sparkling), Prosecco Frizzante (semi-sparkling), and Prosecco Tranquillo.
Prosecco is characterized by its fruity and flowery aroma and it matches greatly cured meats, fruits-based appetizers (like prosciutto-wrapped melon), or crostini.
Remember, France has Champagne, but Italy has Prosecco.
The Prosecco region is near Venice. If you are traveling to Venice, check out this Prosecco Wine Tasting Day Tour from Venice.
48. Amaretto – The famous Italian almond liquer
Amaretto is a popular Italian liquor made of bitter almonds but surprisingly it is very sweet in taste.
Originally it was produced from almond stones, but later the amaretto production of peach stones and apricot stones started also.
Italian Amaretto is consumed alone or added to some dishes, especially desserts like tiramisu. But, amaretto comes in many popular cocktails too.
49. Negroni – The famous Italian drink with Campari, gin, vermouth, and orange peel
Negroni is one of the most famous Italian cocktails.
The main ingredients are gin, Campari, vermouth, and a fresh orange peel.
Negroni was named after Count Camillo Negroni who asked to put gin instead of soda water into his glass of Americano cocktail. The legend says the event took place in Caffe Casoni in Florence in 1919. Therefore, Florence is accredited as the birthplace of the Negroni cocktail.
But if you are heading to Treviso, please visit the Negroni Distillery in Treviso founded by Count Camillo in 1919 where bottles of legendary Antico Negroni have been produced.
50. Vin santo – The traditional Italian dessert wine
What Sherry is to Spain, Vin Santo is to Italy. Vin Santo is a classic Italian sweet dessert wine.
Although it originates from Tuscany, today Vin Santo is produced throughout Italy. Thus, the color and sweetness of Vinsanto depend on the region and the method of production.
As a dessert wine, Vin Santo is traditionally served with biscuits. If you are traveling to Tuscany and you have a sweet tooth, please put Vin Santo and biscotti on your bucket list of traditional foods in Italy.
51. Chinati vino – The famous Italian red wine from Tuscany
Chianti wine is probably the most famous Italian red wine.
It is produced in the Chianti region between Florence and Siena in central Tuscany. The best known among Chianti wines is Chianti Classico.
The symbol of Chianti wine is a black rooster seal that adorns every bottle of Chianti wine. This first-class dry wine is a great fit for all tomato-based dishes (pasta dishes, meatballs ..).
No trip to Tuscany is complete without sampling authentic Chianti wine.
52. Espresso – The most famous Italian beverage
I believe Italian espresso doesn’t need any special introduction.
In a certain way, espresso coffee is a synonym for Italy and the Italian way of life or ‘la dolce vita’ (the sweet life). When someone mentions Italian foods, the first thoughts on everyone’s mind are most likely pizza, pasta, gelato, and espresso coffee.
Espresso is one of the most iconic Italian foods. Inarguably, Italian espresso belongs among the best coffees in the world worth traveling for.
A visit to Italy is not complete without a cup of espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, latte, or cortado.
53. Affogato – The popular Italian ice cream and coffee dessert
When talking about espresso, I need to mention affogato too.
Affogato is a popular coffee-based Italian dessert made of a scoop of vanilla gelato and a shot of espresso. Quite often some berries, honey, and other gelato flavors are added. Essentially, affogato is something between a dessert and a beverage.
Italian affogato is one of the best Italian desserts if you ask coffee geeks.
No matter how you want to define it (as a dessert or a beverage), for all coffee aficionados affogato is highly on the list of Italian foods to enjoy in Italy!
54. Tiramisu – The famous Italian coffee-flavored dessert
Italian cakes are some of the most popular foods in Italy.
And, tiramisu is one of the most famous Italian cakes. Tiramisu is a famous coffee-flavored Italian dessert.
This rather simple Italian dessert is made of sweet ‘savoiardi’ biscuits soaked in coffee and sweet cream made of mascarpone cheese, eggs and sugar, and sometimes liqueur.
The birthtown of tiramisu is Treviso, but over time tiramisu has become one of the most popular desserts throughout Italy.
55. Panna cotta – The famous Italian ‘cooked cream’
Panna Cotta is another world-famous dessert coming from Italy.
Panna cotta in Italian literally means ‘cooked cream‘. But panna cotta is much more than simple cooked cream.
It is a par excellence dessert made of flavored cream (often with coffee, rum, or vanilla) and served with berries, chocolate, or caramel sauce. Additionally, it can be garnished with some liquors and fruits.
56. Zabaione – The popular Italian liquid egg custard with wine
Zabaglione, or also Zabaione, is a custard-like Italian dessert.
This yummy dessert is made with egg yolks, sugar, and marsala wine from Sicily (but sometimes also vin santo or passito). Zabaglione can be made as a beverage or dessert.
Traditionally it’s enjoyed at Christmastime with some fruits and cookies.
Unquestionably, this famous Italian Christmas dessert is among the best Italian foods.
57. Cornetto – The traditional Italian croissant
Cornetto (also called brioche in northern Italy) is an Italian pastry similar to a French croissant.
Italian cornetti are less buttery and softer than French croissants. Typical Italian cornetto can be empty or filled with custard, vanilla, chocolate, or apricot jam.
Classic Italian breakfast includes coffee (espresso, latte, macchiato, cappuccino) and a cornetto.
58. Panettone – The traditional Italian Christmas bread
Panettone is sweet Italian bread traditionally prepared for Christmas.
Panettone originates from the city of Milan in Italy, but over time it has become one of the most famous Christmas breads in the World.
This cupola-shaped bread is flavored with candied oranges, citrons, lemon zest, raisins, and sometimes chocolate. Sweet panettone matches well sweet dessert wines and liquors.
59. Colmba di Pasqua – The traditional Italian Easter bread in Italy
While Panettone is sweet Italian Christmas bread, Colomba di Pasqua is sweet Italian Easter bread.
Delicious Easter Dove, or Colomba di Pasqua in Italian, is a traditional Italian Easter food. Colomba di Pasque tastes similar to Panettone. The dough is made pretty much the same. But unlike Panettone, Colomba di Pasqua is made without raisins, and the dough is traditionally covered with almonds and nib sugar.
Colomba di Pasqua originates from Milan, the same as Panettone.
60. Crostata – The popular Italian baked tart
Crostata is a famous Italian pie or baked tart with inconsistent thick fillings.
Depending on the fillings, there are sweet and savory crostata pies. Sweet crostata pie comes with sweet fruits, most commonly cherries, apricots, and peaches, while savory crostata is filled with vegetables, cheese, meat, seafood, and fish.
One of the most popular crostata pies is ricotta and lemon zest-based crostata called crostata di ricotta from central Italy.
61. Cannoli – The iconic tube-shaped Italian pastry from Sicily
Talking about authentic Italian foods means talking about traditional Italian pastries.
Cannoli are famous Italian pastries. Sweet cannoli are tube-shaped and finger-sized pastries filled with sweet cream which quite often contains ricotta cheese. Cannoli originate from Sicily, or more precisely Palermo and Messina.
Authentic Sicilian cannoli are filled with ricotta cheese, Sicilian Marsala wine, white vinegar, chocolate chips, and optionally chopped pistachios. This iconic Italian dessert is today well-known around the world.
62. Torrone – The popular Italian nut and nougat confection
Spain has turron, but Portugal and Italy have torrone.
In each case, it is a confection made of egg whites, sugar, honey, and toasted nuts (most frequently almonds, but also whole hazelnuts and pistachios) in a most commonly rectangular shape.
Torrone is traditionally a Christmas dessert in Italy. Torrone nougats are traditional Italian foods for Christmas.
Rome is one of the best Christmas destinations in Europe. If you are traveling to Rome for Christmas, try authentic torrone in Rome!
63. Galani – The traditional Venetian crostoli
If you are going to Venice for the carnival, make sure to try a traditional Italian carnival pastry called galani.
Galani (pl.) are fried sweet and thin pastry strips sold in every bakery and pastry shop in Venice. If you are visiting Venice Carnival, try out delicious and crispy galani.
64. Biscotti cantuccini – The traditional Italian almond cookies
Biscotti or cantuccini are traditional Italian almond biscuits originating from Tuscany, or more specifically from the city of Prato in Tuscany.
Original cantuccini from Prato are called biscotti di Prato. These oblong-shaped crispy cookies are traditionally consumed with sweet dessert wine, i.e above mentioned vin santo.
If you are taking a trip to Tuscany, try Tuscany biscotti or biscotti di Prato!
WATCH: Cantuccini recipe
65. Frittelle – The traditional Italian doughnuts from Venice
Frittelle are classic Italian doughnuts prepared traditionally in Carnival time and originally coming from Venice and the Veneto region.
These round-shaped traditional Carnival confections are filled with raisins and sometimes pine nuts. They are also known in Venice as Fritelle Veneziane.
While Frittelle Veneziane are typically filled with raisins and pine nuts, Frittelle con cioccolata doughnuts are filled with chocolate, Frittelle con zabaione are filled with Marsala wine, Frittelle con crema chantilly are filled with vanilla.
66. Gelato – The iconic Italian ice cream
Probably the most popular frozen dessert in the world is Italian gelato.
Authentic Italian gelato is a creamy custard made of whole milk and eggs traditionally flavored with chocolate, vanilla, stracciatella, hazelnut, and pistachio. Modern gelato is flavored with some fruity flavors.
No visit to Italy is complete without a scoop of Italian gelato, agree?!
67. Semifreddo – The famous Italian frozen dessert
Worldwide known Semifreddo is one of the most popular desserts from Italy.
This ‘half mousse – half ice cream’ dessert is typically made with egg yolks, sugar and cream. Some of the most popular semifreddos are chocolate semifreddo, lemon semifreddo, nougat semifreddo, pistachio semifredo, berry semifreddo, tiramisu semifreddo…
MAIN INGREDIENTS OF TRADITIONAL ITALIAN COOKING AND TRADITIONAL ITALIAN FOOD
Italian staple food
- Italian extra virgin olive oil (olivo d’oliva, in Italian) – Traditional Italian food is predominately made with extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is an essential ingredient of Mediterranean cuisine, including traditional Italian cuisine.
- Garlic (aglio, in Italian) – Garlic is one of the most favorite Italian cooking ingredients. Authentic Italian cooking uses garlic along with olive oil as a cooking base. It is especially used in the cuisine of southern Italy.
- Persley (prezzemolo, in Italian)- Persley is one of the most common ingredients of traditional Italian cuisine. There’s a famous Italian saying ‘Sei come il prezzemolo, sei dappertutto‘, which means ‘You’re like parsley, you’re everywhere.’ Parsely is used in the preparation of many traditional Italian stews, soups, and sauces.
- Italian balsamic vinegar (aceto balsamico, in Italian) – Balsamic vinegar is the most used vinegar in authentic Italian cuisine. Balsamic vinegar of Modena is the most famous Italian balsamic vinegar
- Basil (basilico, in Italian) – Basil is one of the favorite flavoring ingredients of traditional Italian meals. Basil and parsley are the main herbs of traditional Italian cooking.
- Rosemary (rosmarino, in Italian) – Rosemary is used for preparing many types of meat and seafood Italian dishes.
- Bay leaves (foglie di alloro, in Italian) – Aromatic bay leaves are used for flavoring traditional Italian dishes: from Italian traditional soups, and stews to sauces.
- Oregano (origano, in Italian)- Oregano is one of the favorite flavoring herbs of Italian cuisine. This aromatic herb is used for flavoring pizzas, pasta dishes, and sauces.
- Sage (la salvia, in Italian)- sage is an important ingredient of a plethora of traditional Italian dishes: from gnocchi and risotto dishes to pasta dishes and bean soups
- Organic tomato (pomodoro, in Italian) – Delicious organic tomatoes are some of the most important ingredients of traditional Italian cuisine as well. Actually, tomato is a star ingredient of Italian authentic cuisine. Roma Pomodoro, Cuore di Bue, Pachino, San Marzano, Piennolo, and Pisanello are the most used tomato varieties in Italian traditional cooking.
- Capers (capperi, in Italian)- Capers are used in many traditional Italian pasta dishes, pizzas, meat dishes, and especially, seafood dishes and sauces. The Sicilian island of Salina is known for the best capers in the world.
- Lemons (limoni, in Italian) – Refreshing lemon is a major ingredient of traditional Italian cooking. The Amalfi region in Italy is famous for flavorful lemons. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is used in salads, for making marinades and pasta dishes in Italy.
- Pasta – The most famous Italian dishes are pasta dishes. There are about 350 pasta varieties in Italy and countless pasta dishes. Pasta is popular cultural food in Italy.
- Cheese (formaggio, in Italian) – Cheese is a staple food in Italy. Parmigiano-Reggiano, mozzarella, ricotta, gorgonzola, pecorino romano, mascarpone are the most famous chesees from Italy.
- Rice (riso, in Italian)- Rice is a popular food in Italy. Italy is the largest rice producer in Europe. Arborio rice and Carnaroli rice are the most famous varieties of authentic Italian rice. Rice is used for soups, stews, risottos, and desserts in Italy.
- Wine (vino, in Italian)- Classic Italian dishes often use wine as an ingredient. besides that, a glass of wine with a meal is an important part of the Italian eating experience.
Travel Guide to Tuscany Italy
Amazing villas in Tuscany to Rent
20 Most Popular Italian Drinks
Traditional Italian Desserts
Must-Try Food in Tuscany
Amazing Tuscany Road Trip
Spectacular Venetian Carnival Masks
ITALIAN FOOD GIFTS
RECOMMENDED READ – ITALIAN FOOD COOKBOOKS
What are the traditional foods of Italy?
Traditional foods of Italy are: ragu alla Bolognese, pizza, focaccia, spaghetti, lasagne, gnocchi, risotto, ravioli, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, linguine, carpaccio, bistecca alla Fiorentina, melanzane alla parmigiana, bottarga, ricci di mare, bruschetta, grissini, polenta, pasta e fagioli, pasta e cecci, tortellini, polpette, arancini …
What do Italians eat?
Italians traditionally eat: pizza, bistecca alla Fiorentina, carpaccio, spaghetti, bruschetta, lasagne, gnocchi, risotto, ravioli, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, linguine, focaccia, grissini, polenta, parmigiano reggiano, grana padano, mozarella, pasta e fagioli, pasta e cecci, tortellini, polpette, arancini, risi e bisi, carciofi alla giudea, ragu alla bolognese …
What is the national dish of Italy?
The national dish of Italy is ragu alla bolognese (bolognese sauce). The bolognese sauce is used a lot in Italian cuisine throughout Italy with many traditional Italian pasta dishes such as spaghetti, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine …
What to eat in Italy?
If you want to sample authentic foods from Italy, you must eat in Italy: authentic Italian pizza, authentic Italian gelato, spaghetti, bruschetta, lasagne, gnocchi, risotto, ravioli, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuccine, linguine, focaccia, ragu alla bolognese, some authentic Italian cheese (like parmigiano reggiano, grana padano, mozarella ..), authentic Caprese salad …
What are some common foods in Italy?
Common foods in Italy are: pizza, carpaccio, spaghetti, gnocchi, risotto, bruschetta, lasagne, ravioli, tagliatelle, parmegiano reggiano, grana padano, mozarella, prosciutto, salami, pesto genovese, olio d’oliva, aceto balsamico, gelato …
What food is Italy known for?
Italy is known for traditional Italian foods: pizza, spaghetti, prosciutto, lasagne, gnocchi, ravioli, risotto, bruschetta, parmigiano reggiano, mozarella, grana padano, insalata caprese, gelato, tiramisu …
What is the most famous Italian food?
The most famous Italian food is definitely pizza, various types of pasta (among which spaghetti are probably the most popular), prosciutto (dry-cured Italian ham), gnocchi (famous Italian dumplings), famous Italian cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano, mozzarella, Grana Padano), gelato (famous Italian dessert) …
What are some traditional dishes in Italy?
Traditional dishes in Italy are pizza, lasagne, risotto, pasta e fagioli, pasta e cecci, bistecca alla Fiorentina, melanzane alla parmigiana, carciofi alla Giudea, vitello tonnato…
What food Italy is famous for?
Italy is famous for pizza, spaghetti, risotto, prosciutto, lasagne, gnocchi, ravioli, bruschetta, parmigiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese, grana padano cheese, insalata caprese, gelato, tiramisu cake …
Name a food Italy is famous for
The most famous food of Italy are pizza, pasta, gelato, prosciutto, and famous Italian cheeese (Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mozarella)
What are authentic Italian foods?
Top 10 authentic Italian foods are: pizza, pasta, risotto, lasagna, foccacia, gnocchi, prosciutto, ragù alla bolognese, bruschetta and gelato.
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