Eating In Italy: A City-by-City Guide
You might be expecting pizza and pasta. Be prepared as there is a lot more to Italian food you need to try. Each city and region have different foods; Food can actually be healthy. Italians use seasonal ingredients, lots of fresh vegetables, olive oil instead of butter. So get your taste buds ready (you may need stretchy pants) and prepare for a culinary adventure like no other….
Do as the Romans do and you will will eat meals that are heavier on meat and butter. If you want pasta, pack your stretchy pants – you will want to eat pasta, lots of pasta. A good tip is to start off with an espresso, but skip the croissant. Instead, save the calories for lunch and dinner.
Dig into plates of cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper), twirl your fork around strands of spaghetti alla carbonara (there’s no cream in the real deal), or dive into a richly satisfying bowl of bucatini all’amatriciana (red sauce with pecorino cheese and guanciale). Street food is also popular. Try porchetta sandwiches, supplì (fried rice balls), and pizza al taglio (thick crust pizza sold by the slice).
Florence is The Renaissance capital of the world, full of stunning architecture and priceless artwork. Here. food is humble and based on traditional peasant meals. Try Bistecca alla Fiorenttina, a large steak, fire grilled on the outside and pink and bloody on the inside, seasoned with salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and traditionally cooked over roasted chestnuts for a smoky flavor. Lampredotto It is a sandwich made with thinly sliced tripe (intestines) that’s been boiled in broth, seasoned, and served either on a plate or in a sandwich. You can order it with spicy red sauce or herbal green sauce.
Italy Is famous for gelato, and Florence has some of the best in Italy. When looking for good gelato in Italy, avoid the sellers you see on the streets, trying to attract tourists with mountains of bright, artificially colored gelato, piled high with over-the-top garnishes. Small batch is the way to go.
Venice is made up of small streets and canals makes it one of the top destinations in Italy. There are still plenty of mom & pop restaurants that serve up local fare. For the best meal, take a step away from the Grand Canal and head towards the back streets.
Skip the pizza – a ban on most wood-fired ovens on the island make it one of the worst places in the country for a traditional pie. Instead, devour cicchetti (Italian-style tapas). Choose from small bites of fresh fish, cheese, and deep-fried goodness paired with an Aperol Spritz for the perfect canal-side lunch.
Bring cash, as many of the small bars don’t accept credit cards.
If meat and cheese are your two favorite food groups, you’ll eat like a king in Bologna. Given its status as the world’s oldest college town, there are plenty of gut busting but extraordinarily delicious cheap eats, as well as high-end dining options in the medieval city. Make sure to leave room for a rich dinner of pasta bolognese, the city’s signature dish.
Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, and the most cosmopolitan city in the country. Here, it’s less about grandma’s casual kitchen, and more about traditional dining. Since it is located in the north, butter, rice and meat rule menus as opposed to basil and pasta.
Must-try dishes include risotto milanese flavored with saffron, pan fried veal cutlet, polenta, and Osso Buco (slow roasted veal shank).
Naples is the city where pizza was born. The story goes that the pizza we know and devour today comes from some traditional flatbread recipes that were prepared in Naples in the 18th century. The food of Naples is uncomplicated, and street food and homey trattorias rule the city. Classic oasta dishes here include seafood; try spaghetti alle vongole and risotto alla pescatora are typical dishes. Pasta e faigioli is a pasta and bean soup which is a classic dish, but here, the Neapolitan version is made with hot pepper and crushed mixed pasta.
Italians from any region will tell you, there’s nothing in the world like Neapolitan pastry. The pastries most synonymous with Naples are the intricate shell-shaped sfogliatelle — made of dozens of layers of delicate pastry — and the rum-soaked baba, a Neapolitan twist on the German cake known as kugelhupf.
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