Italian food represents one of the most popular cuisines in the world. Even if you’ve never set foot in Italy, chances are you ate in several Italian restaurants before and know the difference between pesto, lasagna, and spaghetti carbonara.
But if you do happen to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization to Italy and book your flights, you will find that in Italy, traditional food has much more to offer than just pizza and tiramisu.
In fact, it’s not rare for food lovers around the world to visit Italy to experience the original taste. The secret of the variety of Italy’s gastronomy lies in its regional recipes: every area in Italy boasts a range of special dishes made from local ingredients and that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
If you’re considering exploring this range of special flavors, you’ll have to go to restaurants and trattorias that are attended by locals.
It’s easier than you think: nationals from over 60 countries will be soon able to visit Italy visa-free and just submit an application for the ETIAS Italy visa waiver. In this article, you’ll find a short guide to the regional gastronomy of Italy to help you plan your trip.
The Centre: Rome and Lazio
The Italian capital and surrounding area attract millions of tourists every year: ancient ruins, a glamorous nightlife, and international cultural events are just a part of what Rome has to offer.
The food in Rome is the original version of some of your favorites: spaghetti carbonara, pasta amatriciana as well as some of the finest white wines were born here. The central part of Italy is also where tortellini, ravioli, and world-famous lasagna originated. It’s a simple cuisine made of a few selected ingredients of the highest quality.
When to go and eat. Rome is enjoyed best in spring, with gentle temperatures and manageable crowds. Traveling to Rome in August is not advisable: most of the traditional restaurants will be closed for the summer holidays and only the most touristic places will be serving food.
Although winters can be rigid in Rome, there are advantages in choosing the low season: flights will be cheaper and the historical sites will be less crowded. Moreover, New Year’s Eve in Rome is likely to become one of your favorite memories from your travel.
Italy’s Biggest Islands: Sardinia and Sicily
Sicily and Sardinia are two islands big enough to have become regions of their own. Sardinia is famous for its cheese, including world-renowned pecorino and the very peculiar casu marzu, which is made from sheep milk and contains live insect larvae. Even if you don’t try it, it’s a unique sight and makes for interesting travel stories.
Sicilian cuisine is one of the most popular among Italians. Seafood and shellfish, caponata di melanzane (eggplant pastiche), cannoli, the best ice cream in the country and all things pistachio welcome tourists to the island. You’ll also get to visit world-class beaches and archaeological sites.
When to go and eat. Summer is the best time to enjoy a trip to the Italian islands and make the best of seafood and ice-cream. If you don’t enjoy traveling during peak-season, keep in mind that May and September/October are still considered summer and warm enough times to enjoy a beach holiday.
In the Heart of the Alps: the North
Mostly visited by lovers of mountains and winter sports, the north of Italy may be less known internationally for its cuisine but offers a culinary world of its own. Highlights include truffles, risotto, polenta, cow milk and blue cheese, Parmigiano, and so much more.
The north of Italy is a paradise for meat-eaters as this is the home of some of the most prestigious cured meats in the country. Moreover, you’ll find mouth-watering recipes that include game such as wild boar and venison.
And if that’s not enough, Piedmont is among the top 3 best wine regions in Italy. Wines like Barolo and Dolcetto d’Alba are of the highest quality yet go with almost all dishes.
When to go and eat. If you’re not scared of cold temperatures, autumn and winter are the best times to enjoy all that the north has to offer. Check out the local truffle and wine fairs and burn the calories off with some skiing.