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Italy's top 10
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Pork is the chief meat ingredient in the renowned Ragu sauce. This thick, rich, and complex tomato sauce is ideally suited for pasta. Ragu is often called "Bolognese sauce", named after the region's leading city.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina
A thick, choice steak cut from the local Chianina cattle, charcoal broiled and flavored with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Fettuccine al Burro
Also known as Fettuccine Alfredo or alla Romana. Flat ribbon-shaped pasta is tossed, generally, with cream, butter and cheese, then given a good sprinkling of freshly ground peppercorns
A veal shank braised with tomato, onion, stock and wine, then topped with Gremolata, a garnish made with parsley, garlic and lemon rind. The choicest morsel in Osso Buco ("hole in bone") is the cooked marrow clinging to the hollow of the bone.
It's made by melting Fontina cheese (from the neighboring Val d'Aosta region) with milk, butter and eggs. The cook tops the resulting "fondue" with sliced white truffles.
Fegato alla Veneziana
Though meat dishes are a minority in Venice, one is world famous: Fegato alla Veneziana, tissue-thin calves' liver slices sauteed with onions.
Deep-fried, crescent-shaped dough stuffed (usually) with ham-flecked mozzarella cheese.
Chopped vegetables such as eggplant (the most essential ingredient), tomatoes, onions, green peppers, olives, and celery individually cooked in olive oil, then combined.
Carta de Musica
Literally, music paper. It's a thin, crisp, circular flatbread. Also called pane carasau by inlanders and pane fresa by coastal denizens.
The region of Liguria is the birthplace of pesto, that fragrant, thick, green sauce that is now prepared by cooks around the world. Pesto is made by pounding its ingredients together with a pestle (hence, the name) in a mortar. The essential ingredients are basil, garlic, Parmesan and Sardinian ewe's milk cheeses, along with pine nuts and olive oil.
Italian cuisine is only a generalized concept embracing the country's 20 distinct regional cuisines. Each area has it own cooking style and personality. To truly know Italian cuisine, you must know its regional cuisines.
Italian culinary regions
Campania and its Naples
Emilia Romagna and its Bologna
Latium and its Rome
Liguria and its Genoa
Lombard and its Milan
Piedmont and its Torino
Tuscany and its Florence
Veneto and its Venice
Plus some other regions
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