Italy is offers a lot in its cultural heritage, fashion and beautiful scenery, but the first Italian thing that comes to mind to most of us are their pizza and pasta. If you’re a food enthusiast yourself and would love to try these dishes in their most authentic form, then there is no other place to do it than in the country that invented them.
Italy as a country is known for pizza, but there is no better place to try this traditional dish than Naples. Neapolitan pizza is a favorite among Italians and it inspires chefs all around the world. There are many versions of this authentic Italian dish, but its fundamental version is Margherita, a simple combination of homemade tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella. The best place to try it is at Pizzeria Brandi, the restaurant which invented it. Once you try the dough and chewy crust in Naples, you’ll realize it is a completely different dish from what we call pizza in other places of the world.
Pizza is not everything Naples has to offer. They are known for uncomplicated dishes, and street food as well as traditional trattorias, which are scattered all around the city. Some other famous dishes include deep-fried food sold from front windows of pizzerias and street food stands, as well as yummy sfogliatella, which is the city’s signature dessert. If you want to try the iconic Italian gelato, check the Gay-Odin place which boasts as the best gelato in Naples, while also offering their authentic handmade chocolate.
Bologna is known for great food, and it’s packed with many exceptional restaurants, several of which are Michelin star-rated. Some of the most famous Italian classics also come from this area, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, and Traditional Balsamic di Modena. If you want to visit the place where these delicacies are made, you can make a quick day trip to Parma and Modena, and their beautiful surrounding landscapes.
Some of the must-try dishes in Bologna are definitely the legendary bolognese sauce, as well as the tortellini in brodo. Since Bologna is a famous college town, it offers many affordable food options for those who want to eat with the locals or can’t afford the high-end places. For a quick dinner snack, visit one of their wine bars or cafes, which traditionally offer finger food such as home-baked bread and Italian-made mortadella.
Not necessarily one place but a ranging countryside which is very accessible on your Eurail pass. It is also very much one of the Italy’s food hotspots, known for wines and olive oil. If you love quality wines as much as delicious food, this destination offers everything you need. It boasts with a big variety of unique wines, from reds such as Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti to whites like Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Trebbiano.
In between wine tasting sessions make sure you try dishes that incorporate their local olive oil. That won’t be hard, as this popular ingredient is a crucial part of most of their dishes, including the famous tomato and bread soup Tuscany Pappa al Pomodoro, and ricotta tart known as crostata di ricotta.
Rome is mainly known for its rich cultural heritage, but it is also foodie heaven for those who know what to look for. While fine dining places are available almost at every corner, their trattorias are the go-to place to taste their range of traditional pasta dishes. When in Rome, don’t miss out the chance of trying their authentic spaghetti carbonara, which is a simple meal but a favorite of the locals.
Most of Rome’s dishes are prepared with only a few ingredients, but they are combined in such creative ways that they never fail to be full of flavor and character. Other than carbonara, you should also try cacio e pepe (pasta with pepper and cheese) and delicious bucatini all’amatriciana (pecorino cheese and guanciale with red sauce). Once you’ve had your main dish, don’t forget to taste Roman gelato at one of the city’s best ice cream shops, called Fior di Luna.
Sicily is a popular destination for travelers, as it features seven places listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Except for these beautiful locations, it is also known for memorable regional dishes, made from fresh seafood and vegetables from the countryside. Like in most Italian areas, Sicily’s most famous dish is pasta, specifically pasta con le sarde, that will enable you to taste fresh Mediterranean sardines.
The most iconic Sicilian dishes, however, are actually desserts. Cannoli are deep-fried pastry, filled with sweet filling which is usually ricotta, and covered with crushed nuts and powdered sugar. These are offered at most of the local coffee shops, and they match perfectly with traditional Italian espresso.
Sicily is an island just off Italy’s heel but is entirely reachable by train and on your Eurail pass! The train simply boards a ferry and rejoins the tracks once the short crossing has been made.