Italy’s food culture is world famous and rightly so. Food is at the centre of most Italians family and social life, hardly surprising given that meals are traditionally four courses.
Expect to settle in for several hours… no wonder siestas are still so popular!
Pasta, cheese and wine are the foundations of the foodie scene, but there’s plenty more to discover. Feast your eyes on Italy’s famous foods here.
Head to Naples for Pizza
One experience that every travelling gourmand has to try is an authentic pizza, eaten in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius in Napoli’s historic streets.
Purists should head to Da Michele in Forcella, a 150-year-old slice of pizza history which still only serves margarita or marinara.
The well-heeled Vomero neighbourhood has several local institutions, while Secondigliano has plenty of neighbourhood gems and is so close to the airport you could even get a pizza
on your layover.
Find Italy’s best pasta
Think of Italian food and freshly-rolled pasta is probably one of the first things that springs to mind. Each region has its signature dish (and they all think theirs is the best, naturally!), so finding Italy’s best pasta is a great focus for your trip.
There’s crespelle alla Fiorentina (soft folds stuffed with real ricotta) in Florence and spaghetti alle vongole (with clams), best enjoyed on a romantic clifftop in Campania. Pesto
from Genoa and black truffle stringozzi from Umbria.
And where do the Romans go for their pasta? Find out here with our insider’s guide to Rome.
Italy’s best gelato
One scoop of soft, smooth Italian gelato and you’ll be off bog-standard ice cream for good.
Luckily it’s hard to walk down any street in Italy without passing a gelataria.
The pistachio flavour from Spoleto’s Gelateria Crispini in Bologna has been named the best in the world, although locals claim ice cream was actually invented in the Valle di Cadore, among the snowy peaks of the Dolomite Mountains.
In Sicily, Gelati DiVini is known for pioneering flavours such as olive oil, muscat and ricotta. However, no place is more well known and respected than Cafe Sicilia in Noto, Sicily.
Italy’s best wine tours
What better way to explore the Amalfi Coast than with a glass of wine in hand? A mouth-watering culinary tour with celebrity chef Amanda Tabberer is the perfect way to experience the area’s excellent wines, alongside the fresh shellfish and enormous lemons for which it is famous.
Alternatively, make your own tour of Italy’s best free wine producers… all you have to do is hire a car and call up your favourite wine maker to say that you’re in the area.
Chef Enrico Paradiso particularly rates those near the Slovenian border and you can find his recommendations here.
If you like your reds big and boisterous, a wine tour through Chianti or Piemonte is in order, while prosecco lovers should head to the Treviso province in northern Italy.