Visiting Italian Restaurants in Italy
Italy is a hidden gem when it comes to food and travel. If you’ve ever thought of visiting, you’ve also thought about the best cities in Italy for food. This is one place to plan an entire trip around food.
Although there’s good food all over Italy, this article highlights the very best cities in Italy for foodies. You won’t starve eating the finest of pasta, pizza, seafood, coffee, and wine. Let’s dive in.
Some of the Best Cities in Italy for Food
Prior to unification, when Italy had 20 independent nation-states, each city in Italy had its special kinds of pasta, bread, meats, and other foods. Others, like Rome’s Suppli, are more challenging, if not impossible, to locate outside their own cities or regions. Some, like Tiramisu, are well recognized throughout the world.
This circumstance is nothing short of an eye-opening challenge for food-focused food travelers like us. Every time you travel to Italy, you get an opportunity to sample delicious new delicacies in various regions.
When planning your next Italy food tour, be sure to include one or more of the following Italian restaurants in Italy if you’re up for a similar gastronomic challenge:
Bologna, also known as the food capital of Italy, is one of Italy’s top cities for cuisine. It takes pleasure in its nickname of La Grassa, or “The Fat One,” which the city acquired as a result of its passion for food.
If you are a food traveler, you will understand once you try out its pasta staples like Gramigna with Sausage, Tortellini in Brodo, and Lasagne Verdi al Forno.
We do not forget the city’s famous meat-filled ragù (Bolognese sauce), which has gained international acclaim. Nothing is better than a straightforward bowl of the region’s deep, thick, meaty sauce with soft ribbons of tagliatelle. When you visit Bologna, you should also try some gelato and pasta.
Take the time to engage in leisurely aperitivo sessions, which involve plates heaped with prosciutto, Mortadella, and cheese. Also, glasses brimming with Lambrusco wine which comes from this area.
Bologna, the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, whose proud producers of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Prosciutto di Parma. Must-try cuisines in Bologna include Lasagne Verde al Forno, Gramigna with Sausage, Tortellini in Brodo, Gelato, Prosciutto di Parma Tagliatelle al Ragù, and Mortadella.
If you travel primarily for cuisine and looking for good food in Italy, be sure that you probably won’t visit Bologna just once.
Most Italian cities are best for more than just one type of cuisine. Caiazzo, which is 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Naples, is an exception to this norm. Pizza is the only food that Caiazzo is best for.
Not just any pizza, though. At his eatery, Pepe in Grani, Franco Pepe provides what many people believe to be the best pizza in the world. You might be skeptical that you can find the best pizza in the world at such a place in a small town.
Pies made by Pepe are popular for their pillow-like crusts that have a slight crunch. Pepe also uses premium ingredients from his native Caserta areas, such as mozzarella di bufala made just a few miles from the restaurant and locally grown tomatoes. Must-try cuisine in Caiazzo is the world’s best pizza.
Since Florence was the renaissance’s cradle, it has become a cultural center. Beyond its famous Duomo and extensive architecture, the Tuscan city is home to some of the most incredible artwork ever produced, including works by Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo.
Florence’s culinary art is just as much, if not more, than its architectural superiority. A staple of Florence cuisine is Bistecca alla Fiorentina. While Parma’s cuisine has regal origins, many of Florence’s popular dishes fall under the Cucina Povera (literally, “poor cooking”) heading.
Even though they prepared them in poverty, dishes like Florence’s well-known bean stew (Ribollita) and tomato bread stew (Pappa Pomodoro) are joyously flavorful. Perhaps it’s because Florentine chefs employ premium, fresh foods grown nearby in the Tuscan hills. Or maybe these chefs are brilliant cooks who can make shoe leather taste good.
If you plan to visit Florence, be sure to try out the Bistecca alla Fiorentina; It’s another way to live it up in Florence. The pricey steak is excellent and well worth it. Must-try cuisines in Florence include Schiacciata, Pappardelle al Pomodoro, Lampredotto Paninis, Fiorentina steak, Ribollita, Pizza Gelato, Pane Toscano, and Zuccotto.
The status of Genoa as one of Italy’s most important ports is evident in its cuisine. You can find Sardines, anchovies, swordfish, mussels, and tuna on numerous menus across the city. Prescinsêua, a regional cheese, is present everywhere, especially in freshly made focaccia, which is native to Genoa.
Another local creation, pesto sauce, is routinely added to most dishes and salads. Walnuts are well-liked in the area, and there are more creative ways for chefs to include them in various dishes.
Request a Pansori con salsa di noci-style ravioli, and get ready to sample a bit of everything that makes Genoa unique on a single platter. Must-eat foods in Genoa include Focaccia, Pesto, Farinata, Fritto Misto, and Trofie.
Most people visit Matera to enjoy its extensive history and stay in a cave hotel. While UNESCO designated Matera a World Heritage Site in 1993, Mel Gibson’s stunning film “The Passion of Christ” gave the city much of its reputation. Matera most recently featured in James Bond’s movie “No Time to Die” from 2021.
However, these aren’t the only benefits of going to Matera. It’s also a perfect starting point for touring adjacent Puglian cities, making it an ideal destination for culinary enthusiasts who wish to explore the city’s hidden crannies.
Much of the food of Matera originated from Cucina Povera, just like Florentine cuisine. Most of the city’s poor population lived in gloomy caves that eventually turned into posh hotels until the 1950s. This tough past has directly impacted the cuisine of Matera.
Cooks in the area liberally season age-old dishes with mild Senise peppers using ingredients like orecchiette pasta and the mildly spicy but richly flavored pork nduja spread from the area. Yes. Sun-dried peppers from Basilicata are surprisingly mild.
Must-try Cuisine in Matera includes Flat Ribbon Pasta, Nduja, Orrechiette, Cured Meat, Cialledda, and Lagane.
Milan is the fashion capital of Italy. It is home to the best and most trendy fashion, from suits, shoes, belts, to handbags.
The cuisine in this Northern city of Italy is significantly dissimilar from what most people think of as Italian cuisine. Since rice is the most popular farmed crop in the area, you will find much less pasta and a lot more rice.
In contrast to the fresh herbs and tomato sauces you would find further south, the food in Milan is generally quite thick and buttery. Although these foods may be heartier, Milanese cooks and chefs refine them because they are quite proud of their culinary heritage.
Milan also boasts fine wines such as Negroni, Metodo Classico, Franciacorta, and Oltrepò Pavese. Must-eat foods in Milan include Risotto Milanese, Gorgonzola cheese, Cotoletta, Ossobuco, and Panettone,
Modena, Italy’s 20th most populous city, excels in the culinary arts. The late Luciano Pavarotti, one of Italy’s most well-known opera singers and a voracious eater, was born and raised in Modena.
Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant and previous world’s 50 Best Restaurants winner, is also located there. Modena is also proud of its cuisine, like the Gramigna with Sausage served at Ristorante da Danilo.
Eateries in Modena not only serve a variety of traditional Modenese dishes, but it also comes up with unique creations like the succulent mini pork, Emilian burger, and beef “hamburger” served in a tiny cardboard burger box.
In Modena, not every cuisine is expensive. Fluffy Gnocco Fritto and Passatelli in Brodo are two of Modena’s best dishes, best enjoyed in laid-back osterias and trattorias. The city features excellent gelato and specialty coffee shops. Also, one of Italy’s top markets for meat and fruit is in this city, Mercato Albinelli.
Some must-try cuisines in Modena includes Tortelloni in Brodo, Pizza, Tagliatelle al Ragù, English soup Paninis, ice cream, and Gelato.
Also known as Pizza Italy city, no one can dispute that Naples is not only the Pizza capital of Italy but also the world. It is home to the magnificent Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, the oldest pizzeria in the world, as well as L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, supposedly the “best-rated pizzeria in the world.”
The Margherita pizza may have originated in this city. The tomato, mozzarella, and basil pie may have been around for many years before the 1889 visit of Queen Margherita, according to a shaky legend that claims a Napoli pizzaiolo invented it in her honor.
Naples offers more cuisine options than just pizza. Naples’ natives exported a large portion of their city’s culinary heritage to the Americas by boat. As a result, Italian cuisine, including New York’s pizza and other dishes like spaghetti, tomato sauce, and meatballs (often served separately in Italy), became well-known worldwide.
Naples, however, is where you can find the best Neapolitan food. The city is a treasure trove of delectable delicacies, from fried appetizers to pasta cooked with ingredients like tomatoes grown in volcanic soil. The desserts, too!
Some must-try cuisines in Naples include Mozzarella di Bufala, Fiocco di Neve Pasta Genovese, Sfogliatelle, Friarielli, Gelato, Spaghetti alle Vongole, and Naples pizzeria.
A majority of people associate Palermo cuisine with American tomato sauce. Restaurants from Little Italy in San Francisco to New Jersey provide Italian cuisine.
This couldn’t be any further from the truth because Sicilian cuisine is just as complex and established in culinary traditions as Italian cuisine, dating back to when the tomato even arrived in Italy.
To truly experience Sicilian food, from great cheeses to distinctively regional specialties, you must visit Palermo. Must-eat foods in Palermo include Sfincione, Arancini, and Ragusano cheese.
Parma is home to one of Italy’s most stunning churches and one of its most renowned opera houses. Both are replete with the legal legacies left by the French/Austrian monarch Maria Luigia. But the city’s biggest claim to fame isn’t those magnificent sights.
Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of cheese one can only make in a few provinces in Emilia-Romagna, deserves the accolade. Parma is in one of the provinces. Additionally,
The city has a strong cuisine culture. Pasta dishes in Modena and Bologna can’t compete with the seasonal Tortellini ai Fungi, and Porcini in Trattoria Ai Due Platani. Parma is one of the reasons Emilia-Romagna is prevalent as Italy’s food valley.
For meat enthusiasts, Parma, both the city and the region, is a paradise where you get a variety of roasted meats in Bollito Misto restaurants. Additionally, you can get traditional Italian foods like culatello, cotechino, and salami strolghino from nearby local sandwich shops.
A must-try cuisine in Parma include Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, Pasta, Pizza, Cotechino, Gelato, Culatello, and Cannoncini.
Rome has been the destination of choice for centuries. However, this historic city is far from a relic. Actually, this capital of Italy continues to enjoy popularity, possibly even more so
Some tourists visiting Rome go to the Eternal City to see the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and the Patheon. Others visit Rome on a pilgrimage and visit the Jewish Ghetto. Then there are those who visit Rome solely for its cuisine.
Rome’s La Pergola is a popular restaurant in Italy that offers a breathtaking view of the magnificent Eternal city and mouth-watering traditional Rome cuisine such as Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, Ciabatta e Pepe, Pasta all’Amatriciana, etc. The pasta scene in Rome is robust.
Rome, which is in the Lazio location of Italy, is popular for its Gricia pasta, Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana, and Carbonara.
Additionally, it offers a variety of pizza varieties, such as Pizza al Taglio, served in square slices based on weight, thin-crust “Roman Style” pizza, bigger pies, and the Trapizzino, a unique sandwich created from fluffy pizza dough.
When you visit Rome, try the unique fried artichokes called Carciofi alla Guida, developed over many years by the city’s Jewish population. Rome is a meat lover’s paradise. Porchetta, a savory roll of roasted pork used on its own and in sandwiches, originated in the city.
Rome’s must-eat cuisines include Maritozzi, Gelato, Ciabatta e Pepe, Pizza al Taglio, Carciofi alla Guiuda, Pasta all’Amatriciana,Porchetta, Pasta alla Gricia, and Pasta alla Carbonara. Rome may not offer the best seafood in Italy, but it’s a great tourist location for seafood lovers.
Trento is not just a city with typical Italian cuisine. This historical city in northern Italy, where the renowned Council of Trent took place, enchants tourists with its charming cobblestone alleys and breathtaking mountain views.
Despite these varied components, Trento’s restaurant menus include the biggest shocks. Trento, a city in Trentino near Lake Garda and the Dolomites, is so close to Austria that both Austrian and Italian cuisines have influenced Trento’s cuisine.
In other words, finding bratwurst on a Trento menu is virtually as simple as finding pizza. When visiting Trento, you must eat Canederli, bread dumplings dipped in butter.
However, starting your evening with beers at a beer hall and ending it with pasta dishes at a local Trento restaurant is the ideal way to appreciate the city’s two culinary cultures. Must-eat Foods in Trento include Pizza, Gelato, Bretzels, Canederli, Risotto, and Carne Salada.
Like many of the most visited cities in the world, Venice features a good number of tourist attraction restaurants.
This City of Canals also offers incredible cuisine, such as Fritto Misto, a medley of fried seafood served as an appetizer, salads created with local spider crabs, and a selection of fantastic pasta dishes with ingredients like langostinos and truffles.
Since Venice was a significant commerce hub centuries ago, natives used cinnamon and other unusual Italian spices in their Venetian sauces.
If you’re not yet familiar with Cicchetti bars, you’re in for a treat. They are small slices of bread covered with prawns, squid, or other seafood crudo, as well as sandwiches stuffed with meats like Mortadella and coppa, served as snacks in Venetian Cicchetti bars.
These rustic, old-fashioned taverns are both entertaining and affordable, serving a wide selection of wine, the occasional Aperol spritz, and delectable nibbles. Must-eat foods in Venice include Polenta, Sarde in Saor, Bigoli in Salsa, Cicchetti, Gelato, Fritto Misto, Seafood and Carpaccio,
Verona might not be on the radar of most cuisine tourists. However, traveling oenophiles visit Veneto city to sip Bardolino, Amarone, Soave, Ripasso, and Valpolicella, making this Shakespeare’s fair city a well-known location.
These people aren’t just wine drinkers. They also consume Risotto all’Amarone, a dish famous for its scarlet color and prepared using Vialone Nano rice, Amarone wine, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese reduced in a meaty stock.
Amarone wine plays a prominent role in Verona’s signature dish, risotto all’Amarone. Your taste buds will reach new heights after eating this variation at La Taverna di Via Stella, a traditional Veronese pub.
Verona is a paradise for carnivores and pescatarians who may indulge their urges with platters of meat and swirl their forks in pasta filled with fruits of the sea, respectively.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or even a vegan, Verona covers you. Amazing locally grown fruits are available in this protein-rich city. However, toothy bigoli pasta is the main ingredient used to make dishes without meat. You won’t be thirsty because the city is a wine drench.
Must-try cuisines in Verona include Gelato, Bollito Misto, Pizza, Risotto all’Amarone, Bigoli, Seafood and Pasta.
Useful Facts About Italy
Italy is in Europe. It belongs to both the European Union and Schengen Area. Italians use the euro as their currency. Although the widely spoken language in Italy is English, Italian is the country’s official language.
Usually, the service provided in Italy is Coperto. It’s no surprise that Italy is at the top of so many travelers’ wish lists, given that it boasts some of the most spectacular art, architecture, cuisine, and landscape in the entire universe.
You might travel around this great nation for years and yet not see everything, from historic towns and soaring mountains to great wines and authentic pizza. To start you off, here are fifteen interesting facts about Italy you should know:
1. There is a Free Wine Fountain in Italy
Free wine fountains may sound like the stuff of fantasies, but they actually exist in the Italian town of Caldari di Ortona.
The little village features a free wine fountain that serves locally produced red wine 24 hours a day. The Dora Sarchese vineyard, located beside the Cammino di San Tommaso Italian pilgrimage route, is home to the Fontana di vino.
2. Italy is the Sixth Most Traveled Nation Worldwide
Italy ranked sixth on the world’s most visited countries list in 2018, with over 62 million foreign travelers. The famous cities of Rome, Pisa, Florence, and Milan are among our top travel destinations, as well as treasures like Lake Como, Assisi, Verona, Sorrento, and the stunning Isle of Capri.
3. Italy is Home to All Three of Europe’s Active Volcanoes
Italy is a hot nation, as we all know, but did you realize it is also a hotbed for volcanic activity? The three active volcanoes in Europe include Stromboli, Etna, and Vesuvius.
Sicily is the location of Mount Etna. You can see a plume of white steam coming from the top, but the last eruption was in 2018. Even though Mount Stromboli is on a separate island off the coast of Sicily, it is currently active.
Naples is home to the infamous Mount Vesuvius, which last erupted in 1944 and inflicted extensive damage. This volcano was also responsible for one of the world’s worst eruptions in 79 BC. The devastation wrought by the volcano is still visible in the historical city of Pompeii.
4. Italians Invented Pizza in Naples
The Campania area of Naples is where the first contemporary pizza with a tomato foundation originated in 1860. It has since developed into one of the world’s most adored delicacies. Even if the modest pizza has seen several alterations over the years, Naples continues to produce the world’s best pizza.
5. In Terms of Unesco World Heritage Sites, Italy Leads Worldwide
The fact that Italy is full of ancient treasures is one of the most intriguing fun facts about the country. Italy boasts 55 World Heritage UNESCO sites as of 2019.
They share first place with China in terms of the number of UNESCO sites across the world. It is understandable why the nation draws millions of tourists each year, given the presence of treasures like the Colosseum in Rome, the city of Pompeii, and the magnificent Amalfi Coast.
6. Italians Have Consumed Pasts Since the Fourth Century
Many of the finest pasta recipes in the world come from Italy, which makes pasta an integral part of Italian culture. Additionally, they have had time to hone their trade.
Italians started consuming pasta meals as early as in the 4th century BC, according to evidence discovered by researchers who discovered murals in a pre-Roman Italian tomb that they believe in showing pasta-making tools.
Whether you prefer a rich carbonara or a traditional spaghetti bolognese, we promise that you will eat the best pasta in the world in Italy.
7. Italy Has More Than 1,500 Lakes
Over 1,500 lakes are in Italy, many of which are breathtaking. You may spend hours admiring the splendor of Italy’s lakes, which the beautiful Alps and golden beaches encircle. On the renowned lakes of Lake Como and Lake Garda, sail under the night. You might also discover hidden treasures like Lake Ledro and Lake Iseo.
8. Italy Consumes 14 Billion Cups of Espresso Every Year
Italians are well known for their love of coffee. Did you know that they drink 14 billion cups of espresso annually? That’s astounding for a nation with little over 60 million people.
Over 20,000 Italians work as baristas, where the majority of the population of Italy gets their daily coffee. Additionally, many individuals get their fix at home, where the typical household consumes 82lb (37kg) of coffee a year.
9. Italy is Home to the Smallest Country in the World
One of the smallest interesting facts about Italy is that it has a separate nation! The Vatican City is just one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York, with a total area of about 44 hectares (109 acres). It is the tiniest country in the world in that case.
Rome is home to the tiny city-state, crammed with some of the most well-known buildings on earth. The Vatican City receives tens of thousands of people each day who visit ancient landmarks, including St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel, which Michelangelo painted in 1512.
10. Mountains and Hills Encompass One-Fifth Of Italy
In Italy, where around 25% of the country is hilly or mountainous, you may ascend to the top of the globe. The nation is also home to some of the most breathtaking hiking routes in the whole world.
The Mont Blanc peak, which soars 15,774.28 feet (4,808 meters) above sea level, is the highest point in Italy. It is the tallest peak in the Alps, a breathtaking mountain range that stretches 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) through eight nations, including Monaco, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Liechtenstein.
11. The Largest Wine Producer in the World is Italy
Wine enthusiasts might want to travel to Italy because of this interesting fact. In 2018, the nation produced an astonishing 1,447,663 gallons (54,800 hectolitres) of wine, barely surpassing France’s 1,294,443 gallons (49,000 hectolitres) production.
The greatest exporter of wine worldwide is Italy. In 2018, they shipped wine worth a stunning 7.3 billion US dollars, most of which went to the US, the UK, and Germany. Saluti!
12. Italy has Europe’s Oldest Population and a Low Birth Rate
With 23% of the population over 65; and a median age of about 45, Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world. The nation’s birth rate is among the lowest in the western world.
While many other couples have fewer children or none, more people are delaying having children. In an effort to stabilize the birth rate, the government has added various incentives to persuade parents to have several children.
13. Each Day, Tourists Pour €3,000 Into the Trevi Fountain
Numerous tourists come to the stunning Fontana di Trevi to throw money for good luck, totaling a staggering 2,994 US dollars (3,000 euros) every day.
The fountain received an estimated 1.5 million US dollars (1.4 million euros) in 2016. The money got donated to charity, helping to fund a food bank in Rome for the underprivileged. The custom of tossing money into the fountain dates back to a local proverb that claims you’ll one day visit Rome if you throw a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder.
A second tradition claims that if you toss two more coins, you’ll discover a new relationship and have a beautiful Roman wedding. This mythology came from the 1950s movie “Three Coins in the Fountain.”
14. Rome Dates Back More Than Two Thousand Years
Italy is one of Europe’s newest nations. It is only a little over 2000 years old, yet Rome is a very old city. The city’s history spans 28 centuries and dates back to its founding in 753 BC.
Romans named the city in honor of the Roman Empire, which controlled most of Europe and North Africa from 27 BC to 395 AD. After then, the area split into distinct states, which didn’t come together until 1861, when the establishment of the modern-day Kingdom of Italy happened.
15. There are More Than 2,500 Varieties of Cheese in Italy
Italy has the widest selection of cheeses in the world, which is one of the most delectable facts about the country. It has more than 2,500 traditional cheeses, making it one of Italy’s greatest gifts to the world.
Parmigiano-Reggiano, mozzarella, ricotta, provolone, and gorgonzola are a few of the most well-liked cheeses. Behind France and Germany, the nation produces the third-most cheese in the European Union. If you love cheese, go to Lombardy; here, you will find 77 different kinds of cheese.
What City Has the Best Pasta in Italy?
Depending on whether you want dry or fresh pasta, several locations in Italy provide the best pasta. Rome is the greatest city if you enjoy al dente, dry spaghetti. If you want to enjoy fresh pasta that melts in your mouth, Bologna or any other town in Emilia Romagna would be your best bet.
There is no way to respond to this question without upsetting the entire remainder of Italy that we didn’t choose. Bologna residents are adamant that their fresh tortelloni and tagliatelle are the greatest in Italy. On the other hand, Romans are as adamant that their main four pasta dishes are the best.
The easy response is that pasta is delicious practically everywhere in Italy, including in the north, where other grains take center stage instead of pasta. Even a simple bowl of pasta demonstrates the higher standards Italians have for the food and goods they consume daily.
What Region Has the Best Food in Italy?
If asked to pick a single region, Emilia Romagna would have to be the top food-producing area in Italy.
Prosciutto di Parma, Reggiano, Balsamico di Modena, Culatello di Zibello, and of course, fresh pasta are just a few of the amazing products available. You should also note that the area produces top-notch wines like Lambrusco, which go significantly with these regional goods and cuisine.
This brings up the suggestion that you should decide where to eat in Italy based on the location that produces your preferred cuisine and ingredients. Stringing together a few locations within a region allows you to spend more time eating and less time traveling, which is a great strategy for organizing a gastronomic adventure in Italy.
For instance, if you want to eat lasagna from Bologna, Tortellini en Brodo from Modena, or Parmigiano Reggiano from Parma, you are in luck because they are all located within 60 miles (96.6 kilometers) of one another in the same region.
The finest regions frequently offer the best Italian places to eat with unique cuisines and travel experiences while also catering to your preferences.
A Quick Checklist for Your Italian Trip
- Find a fantastic hotel in Italy.
- Find a kitchen-equipped apartment in Italy.
- Purchase a brand-new suitcase from our preferred baggage supplier.
- To ensure you don’t miss any restaurants or attractions, purchase an Italy travel guide from Amazon.
- To power your laptop, phone, and camera in Europe, get a universal travel adaptor from Amazon.
- Plan to rent a car for your journey.
- Secure access to the airport lounge for your travels.
- Plan an enjoyable trip to Italy.
A Final Word
If you’ve been wondering, where is the best food in Italy? We hope this article answers it all. Now, create a list of your favorite cities and begin preparing for the culinary trip you have always wanted to experience.
Being a well-informed food tourist, you can create your own path and discover the culinary cities that thrill your palate and make you want to explore new cuisines.