What to Eat Where: 12 Delicious Regions of Italy
Every region of Italy has its unique character and history, so it’s no surprise each has its own iconic dishes. If you love Italian food, why not start eating by the map and explore the specialties of each region?
- AbruzzoThis area is famous for its rugged landscape, which lends itself well to sheep farming. Sheep’s milk cheese and lamb are traditional foods in Abruzzo. Since this area is in the center of Italy, it has been less influenced by outside cultures. In addition, it has been the home of many famous chefs since the 1600s. A classic dish from this region is Maccheroni all chitarra, an egg pasta dish served with meat sauce and sometimes with a bean soup.
- BasilicataSimple foods made with olive oil, chickpeas and just a few flavors are traditional in this southern part of Italy. One dish special to this region is pupazzella, which are hot peppers filled with parsley and anchovies and soaked in vinegar. Another popular option here is calzone di verdura, a crescent of pizza dough filled with raisins, chard and peppers.
- CalabriaLocated in the south, Calabria is known for spiciness, ricotta (a pressed sheep’s milk cheese) and eggplant.
- CampaniaThis is the area where Naples is located, and, of course, Naples is famous for its pizza. Pizza Napoletana is simpler than the North American version. It tends to be thinner, with a thicker rim. It is traditionally cooked in a very hot wood-fired oven for just a few minutes and is topped with only a few ingredients. Most often, Pizza Napoletana is topped with tomato, mozzarella and basil, representing the colors of the flag. However, meat and a few other ingredients can be added.
- Emilia-RomagnaEmilia-Romagna, home of Bologna, is the home of the classic Italian pasta beloved all over the world. This is where lasagna, tortellini and other classics originate from.
- PugliaThis area of Italy has some of the most fertile and flattest land, and it is where most of the country’s wheat and olives are grown. Vegetarian dishes rich in olive oil and bread are very popular here.
- SicilyThe Sicilian area has plenty of seafood, so expect crispy sardines and other fish here. This region has also been invaded many times, so you can see the influence of Spanish, Arabic and other cultures. Pasta with fennel, saffron and raisins is popular in this region.
- UmbriaThe many forests of this region have made game, black truffles and mushrooms a central part of the area’s most-loved dishes.
- Friuli Venezia GiuliaFriuli Venezia Giulia is close to the Alps, the sea and other cultures. As a result, it is famous for seafood and foods influenced by Germanic and Slavic people. This region is also famous for its delicious white wine.
- LazioHome of both Rome and various rural areas, Lazio has high-end restaurants as well as popular street food stalls.
- LiguriaHome of Genoa, Liguria is famous for seafood and for a thin flatbread known as farinata. This flatbread is made from chickpea flour and is topped with rosemary, salt or pepper. It is traditionally cut into wedges before serving.
- LombardyThe flat land between Turin and Milan is known for its rice paddies and the Carnaroli and Arborio rice famous in Italian cooking. Lombardy is famous for its risottos, too.
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Category: Food Stories