Italian foods you should try

Italy is a dream destination for foodies, as people here have a passion for food which is only rivalled by a handful of nations elsewhere in the world.

As a result, it has served as the birthplace of many foods we enjoy here in the UK – on your upcoming Italian holiday, make an effort to experience the following foods in the way locals enjoy them.

1) Pizza

Far from original but easily the most popular dish in the world, you owe it to yourself to experience pizza the way it was served more than a century ago during your trip to Italy.

Conceived in Naples in the late 17th century, it used to be consumed almost exclusively to poor people due to the presence of tomatoes, as it was considered by many in Europe to be poisonous due to it being a member of the nightshade family.

This changed as it began to be sold in the streets – a quick and satisfying way to kill hunger whilst on the move, it gained widespread popularity during the 19th century.

Keep things authentic by only ordering one of two pies in Naples – Marinara (made with tomato, garlic, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil) or Margherita (made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves).

Residents only consider these two variations to be pizza – in their eyes, all other versions have sullied what should be a tightly defined dish.

2) Salami

A cured meat made from either pork, veal, or beef, salami has long had a place in the diets of many Italians. During times when normal supplies of meat ran low, salami found its way onto dinner tables thanks to its long shelf life (up to 40 days).

During your travels in Italy, you will encounter two common types – hard salami and Genoa salami. The former is smoked, is made primarily from beef, and traces its origin to Central Europe. Instead of being smoked, Genoa salami is mixed with wine and is composed of pork.

To further understand differences between Genoa salami vs hard salami, read more at, and you’ll avoid confusing the two variants of this delightful Italian meat.

3) Pasta

Another dish which has taken the world by storm after its creation in Italy, you’ll have a hard time trying to fit in all the different variations of pasta found here.

Whilst in Bologna, have pasta alla bolognese, a common dish featuring noodles topped with a minced beef sauce containing wine, onions, and chopped carrot.

In Rome, make an effort to hunt down an amazing plate of pasta alla carbonara. With a cream-based sauce and cut-up bacon mixed with the spaghetti noodles, you won’t be in any rush to finish.

4) Arancini

Unlike the other foods on this lists, you likely haven’t tried arancini before, unless you ordered it out of curiosity whilst at an Italian restaurant back home. A Sicilian speciality, they are rice balls which have been stuffed with ragu sauce, mozzarella, and peas before being breaded and fried.

When you are on the island, look for them in cafes and restaurants – in the latter case, they are made from leftover risotto, adding a richness to this delectable finger food.

5) Gelato

Italian foods you should try

Don’t neglect to end at least a few of your days in Italy with a cone or cup of gelato. It may be the Italian word for ice cream, but it is markedly different product from the version we are familiar with in the United Kingdom.

With little air and less butterfat, it has a lighter, yet fuller and more intense flavour than a standard scoop of ice cream, making it the dessert of choice for many Italians.

Sign up for my monthly newsletter and get FREE travel tips, giveaways & money saving deals to your inbox.
Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

1 Comment
  • Smith
    Posted at 10:32h, 16 May Reply

    Being a foodie myself, i went to Italy during college as an exchange student & i must say that it is truly a food lover’s paradise

Post A Comment