Italian food you must try

Italy is well known for its gastronomy, and some of her most famous food exports have travelled so well that they regularly appear on menus outside of Italy.

Hi. My name is Guido. I’m an Italian native, travel enthusiast and founder of Ciao Italy & Carrani Tours. As an Italian native, I’m passionate about food. And it will come as no surprise that I love Italian food. I’m lucky that Italy is well known for its gastronomy, and some of her most famous food regularly appear on menus outside of Italy. But when you visit Italy on your Italian holiday, in my opinion there is some Italian food that you have to try. Here’s my advice on some of the Italian staples to the less well-known specialities you have to sample when visiting Italy:


What list of Italian food you have to try when visiting Italy would be complete without pasta? But, when it comes to trying pasta in Italy – a general rule to follow is to make sure you try the regional variations on the menu. I’ve mentioned some specific pasta dishes below. This way you will really understand why pasta is special to us Italians. And you’ll also see how well we use the local ingredients to enhance these dishes.


Similarly, I have to mention pizza, don’t I? Hands down the best place to eat pizza is in Naples – its spiritual home. A Neapolitan pizza is the style of pizza that immigrants took with them to places like the USA and it’s iconic in Italy too. In Italy, this protected style of pizza will be baked in a wood-fired oven. The dough and ingredients will pass the rules that govern traditional Neapolitan pizzas. The toppings will be far simpler and more sparse – allowing the natural and local ingredients to shine through, and it might even be a bit soup like in the middle. Wonderful. To widen your experience of Italian food in Italy, try some other varieties from street vendors and small bakeries in Italy.

Tortellini en Brodo

With the holidays just having taken place, many Italians will have eaten Tortellini en Brodo. It’s a staple dish from the north of the country and it is quite often eaten over the holiday period, in particular. The tortellini is served in a simple broth as opposed to a creamy sauce. And it’s topped with some grated Parmesan. Like so many of Italy’s traditional dishes – it is simple, yet delicious.

Focaccia di Recco

When it comes to Italian food to try when visiting Italy, you simply have to try some Focaccia di Recco. It is comfort food in a blanket! It’s a regional dish from Recco in the region of Genoa. Again – it’s simple. It’s made from a thin layer of focaccia baked with a layer of creamy crescenza cheese in the middle. Modest and so delicious.


This is a dish of fried rice balls that are coated in breadcrumbs. The fillings have all sorts of regional variations – from ragù to mushroom or aubergine. It’s a classic Italian dish available all over the country.

Tagliatelle al ragù

This dish is native to Bologna. It is almost identical to what you may otherwise know as Spaghetti Bolognese. But in Italy, you will never ever find Spaghetti Bolognese on the menu and you will never ever find ragù served with spaghetti – instead it is only ever served with Tagliatelle. This pasta suits the sauce much better. Although you may be familiar with it, try this Italian food in Italy – your taste buds will thank you for it.


And now for some sweet stuff! The Italians did a great job of introducing gelato to the countries they emigrated to. But like many other Italian exports, gelato in Italy is a cut above what you find outside Italy. And continuing on the sweet theme, you should definitely seek out some Torrone. You’ll find it in many cafes and sweet shops. It’s a nougat style sweet made with honey, egg whites and toasted nuts.


Definitely try to seek out some Tiramisu, for house made Tiramisu is always splendid. The Italians have this dish down to a fine art. It is a favourite of locals – which as I have said before is always a great sign for visitors. You may even find some new twists on the traditional tiramisu including a chocolate version and a fruit version.


In Italy, we do our coffee short and strong. You’ll be spoiled for choice on where to buy your cup of morning coffee, but regardless of where you go, the coffee will always be a shot of espresso. It will fire you up for the day of exploring ahead.

I am confident that you will be bowled over by our Italian culinary delights. If this has given you the appetite to plan a trip to Italy, then please let my team at Ciao Italy & Carrani Tours help you organise your trip. We run a variety of Italian tours and Italian vacations across the country covering all Italy’s main sights and attractions.

And for the real foodie fans, we also offer many food related Italian tours and Italian vacations so you can experience Italian food and wine at its best. For instance:

Our Experience Apulia food and wine tour

The Eatalia Bologna 3 day culinary tour

Or the Sorrento and Amalfi Coast Eatalia tour

Visit the market before enjoying a cooking lesson in Rome

We also offer many more tours with a real taste of Italy, and if you would like more information like these tips on the Italian food you have to try when visiting Italy – please do visit us at We always say that with us, your Italian tour or Italian vacations will be one you’ll never forget.



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