From stunning landscapes to ancient history and more, Italy has something for just about everybody. However, Italian food is legendary and one of the most common reasons people give for visiting the country! Italian dishes focus on using the best in fresh, regional ingredients, sourced as close to home as possible. In fact, there are so many regional and local specialty dishes in Italy that a comprehensive list would take up an entire book! But there are some dishes that you absolutely must try during your next trip to Italy. Here are some dishes to try based on the region or city you’ll be exploring.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Rome
While Rome takes the credit for a number of pasta dishes, perhaps none are as famous as spaghetti alla carbonara, which is made with pancetta or guanciale. At the very end of cooking, a raw egg is added to the preparation, along with pecorino cheese and pepper. The locals agree that a great carbonara is distinguished by the gooey richness of the egg. However, one thing the Romans don’t agree on is a great wine pairing for their signature dish. Some say white pairs best, others claim red due to the pork fat. Whichever way you decide to go, opt for a local wine made in the Lazio region!
Bistecca alla Fiorentina – Florence/Tuscany
If you love the taste of a freshly cooked steak, you’re going to have a great time eating in Florence and the rest of Tuscany! Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a thick T-bone steak that can be grilled with local herbs and spices, but is often served simply with olive oil and salt. Nothing gets in the way of that fresh-seared goodness! A red wine goes great with this dish – look for either a Chianti or a Sangiovese to really bring out the best in the meat.
Arancini – Sicily
No matter where in the world you travel, street food can offer some of the most unique and tasty dishes you’ll experience on your trip at a great cost. The island of Sicily offers one of the best in all of Italy in the form of arancini. This dish consists of a stuffed rice ball dipped in bread crumbs, which is then deep fried and served with ragu and mozzarella. These little balls of joy go great when washed down with a wine made with Nero d’Avola grapes, native to the island.
Pizza – Napoli (Really, Anywhere!)
No list of Italian local dishes would be complete without talking about pizza! Each region of Italy has its own unique take on the dish, and you’ll find differences in crust, toppings, sauce, and cheese from region to region. However, Napoli is probably the most renowned city for pizza since it is known as the birthplace of the margherita style. Consisting of a simple red sauce and cheese with basil leaves and a thicker, yet light and chewy, crust, tasting an authentic margherita pizza in Napoli has often been described as a life-changing experience! While red wines seem to be the best choice to pair here, don’t discount the high-acidic whites produced in the Campania region either!
Explore the World with AESU!
Are you ready to plan an adventure of a lifetime? AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group. If you have any questions or want help booking your next adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website. Follow AESU on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.