There are lots of reasons to visit Italy, but the incredible food has to be near the top of the list. Fabulous pastas, crisp pizzas, creamy risottos, and some of the best seafood in the world at your fingertips—Italy is a foodie paradise.
Looking for something more on your culinary adventure? We compiled a list of our favorite food-centric experiences to tempt any budding epicure. Go ahead—try something new!
1. Truffle-hunting in Tuscany is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure
Tuscan white truffles sell for over $4,500 a kilo—they’re Italian white gold. Imagine foraging the Tuscan countryside with your trusty truffle dog (pigs were banned because they damage the delicate truffle ecosystem) searching for these earthy delights.
After a successful hunt, tuck into a plate of fresh pasta decorated with decadent shaved truffles. Divine!
2. Cicchetti in Venice is magical
Cicchetti takes bar food to a whole new level—imagine bite-sized morsels of fresh, beautifully prepared seafood accompanied by a glass of excellent Italian wine.
It’s the perfect way to wind down an afternoon...strolling the Grand Canal, visiting different bacari for a perfect bite and a glass of ombra. Nothing is more authentically Venice.
3. Enter foodie heaven on a farmer’s market tour in Rome
Rome is famous for its culinary traditions—and the farmer’s markets are the epitome of Roman food culture.
Colorful fruits and vegetables, aromatic herbs and spices, creamy golden cheeses, and the pungent smell of cured meats tempt your eyes and nose as you wander the vendor stalls. Go early and leave room for plenty of samples.
Why not buy some treats for an impromptu picnic at the Villa Borghese?
4. Brunello and bistecca alla fiorentina—so much to love about Florence
There’s steak...and then there’s steak done the Florentine way.
Picture a massive 3-pound T-bone (from Tuscan Chianina cattle) rubbed with herbs and seared over live charcoal. No condiments—just you, your fabulous cut of meat, and a glass of inky, spicy Brunello, one of Tuscany’s most remarkable wines.
5. Sicily’s street food is to-die-for
The street food in Italy is delicious everywhere, but Sicily’s specialties are out of this world.
How about brioche con gelato? Yes, it’s a buttery roll stuffed with your favorite creamy treat—try it for breakfast! Or try the sfincione—a soft bready crust soaked with herby tomatoes and sprinkled with breadcrumbs and dried oregano before it’s cooked in a hot wood-fired oven.
Feeling adventurous? Try the stigghiola, skewered lamb intestines grilled crisp, chopped fine, and slathered with salt and lemon juice.
6. Be the first of your friends to discover Friuli wine
All wine-lovers know Tuscan wines, but how many have discovered the incredible white wines of Friuli?
Friuli was at the source of the white wine renaissance in Italy, and its native Ribolla Gialla grape holds its own easily against Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Try the Malvasia Istriana wines—mineraly, peppery, gingery, and absolutely delightful.
7. Master the art of aperitivo in Milan
If you loved Cicchetti in Venice, you’ll swoon for aperitivo in Milan. Milan has elevated happy hour to an art form. Olives, nuts, crostini, even salty cured meats and cheeses enjoyed over an Aperol spritz or Negroni—that’s the classic aperitivo experience, although no one will give you side-eye over a glass of bubbly.
Look for a bar in one of the city’s chic hotels—rooftop bars are always fun—and enjoy one of Milan’s finest culinary customs.
8. Experience the olive harvest in Liguria
If you travel to Italy in autumn for the grape harvest—and you definitely should—stick around for the olive harvest in Liguria, one of Italy’s most important olive oil regions.
Try an olive oil tasting and learn the difference between Olio di Riviera dei Fiori, Olio del Ponente Savonese, and Olio di Levante.
Then grab a crusty loaf of bread, a dish of olives, and your favorite olio and take part in one of the most authentic food experiences in Italy.
9. Get to know Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of Italian cheese
Parmigiano-Reggiano’s storied history dates back to the 12th century when Benedictine monks in Emilia-Romagna needed a way to preserve the large quantities of milk produced by their cows.
Did you know it takes over 500 liters of milk to produce just one magical orange wheel of this magnificent cheese? Try a thick aged slab with a dollop of Modena balsamic vinegar—your taste buds will be in heaven.
10. Sample true Modena balsamic in Bologna
Speaking of Modena balsamic vinegar—it’s worth a trip to Bologna to sample the real thing.
Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena isn’t just any vinegar, it’s a rich, syrupy, beautifully fragrant elixir that pairs fabulously with your favorite Emilia-Romagna delights. Try it with prosciutto di parma and some 36-month Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the holy trinity of Bolognese cuisine.
Ready to taste your way through Italy?
We’d love to help you plan the ultimate culinary tour of Italy—all your favorite cities and food experiences. Get in touch today, we’ll bring your epicurean dreams to life in beautiful, delicious Italy.