Three Things You Absolutely Must Eat in Italy

Italy is without a doubt one of the best places in the world for any foodie. And whilst many restaurants in countries worldwide claim to serve up “authentic” Italian food, very few outside the Mediterranean holiday destination actually do. If you’re visiting Italy sometime soon and want to know which gastronomic delights it would be a sin to miss out on, take a look at our quick list of what to eat in Italy.

What to Eat in Italy: A typical Pizza Napoletana with marinara sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil
A typical pizza Napoletana with marinara sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil: Photo Joanna Wan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What to Eat in Italy

Pizza Napoletana in Naples

If you’re staying in Naples, sampling the region’s own version of pizza is an absolute must. In order for a pizza to be truly classed as “Napolentana” there is an 11-page list of requirements it must meet, which dictate which kind of flour is used, how the dough is kneaded and even how the circular pizza shape is formed. The resulting pizza needs to be a combination of chewy, thin and bubbled dough which has been beautifully charred on the bottom and topped with simple, fresh ingredients – just marinara sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. When so much work and love has gone into making the perfect pizza dough, you don’t need countless fancy toppings!

What to Eat in Italy: A simple dish of pasta carbonara
A simple dish of pasta carbonara: Photo Martin Krolikowski / CC 2.0

Pasta Carbonara in Rome

Sure, you can also grab traditional Roman-style pizza if you’re staying in Rome, but your taste buds will be much more appreciative if you order a great big bowl of pasta carbonara. Typical Roman-style pasta carbonara is about as basic as it gets – pasta covered in a sauce made of just pancetta, pecorino cheese and eggs – you won’t find any cream, mushrooms or peas here! Although the short ingredients list might sound like it would make a dull meal, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since there are so few ingredients, each one matters hugely, which is why most restaurants in Rome take pride in only using the freshest and locally-sourced ingredients to make their pasta carbonara.

What to Eat in Italy: A tray of fresh cannoli
A tray of fresh cannoli: Photo Bonnie Natko / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Cannoli in Sicily

Cannoli is such as sugary, rich and decadent dessert that you’ve got to have a major sweet tooth to get on board with it. But if eating a fried dough cylinder piped full of sweetened whipped cream sounds right up your street, make sure you scout out some delicious looking Cannoli the next time you’re in Sicily. Although you can get your hands on this heavenly dessert anywhere in Italy, it originates from Sicily, which is where you’ll find the most authentic varieties. On this small island, the filling is a mixture of ricotta, whipped cream and sugar. Although with the dessert gaining more international popularity, it’s not uncommon to see the cream flavoured with orange extract, stuffed with cherries or decorated in chocolate chips.

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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