PDF All About Italy: A Comprehensive Guide to the People, Places and Food of Italy

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This post was originally published in and was updated in after many more delicious trips to Italy. A menu at a restaurant in Tuscany. Italian dishes vary widely depending on the region. I share some of my favourites at the end of this post. Opening hours at Italian restaurants are limited.

They open for lunch between 12pm and 1pm and close between 2pm and 3pm. They open again for dinner at 7. Make sure you plan for this when eating out in Italy. Grocery stores except for major supermarkets also close in the afternoon.

Back to Contents. Pistachio and chocolate gelato at Bloom in Modena. Note that the pistachio is not bright green! On our Bologna food tour we saw tortellini being made in a local pasta shop. Cappellacci di Zucca, a type of pumpkin stuffed ravioli, is a local speciality of Ferrara. Cacio e pepe cheese and pepper pasta is a delicious Roman speciality. Wine is an important part of an Italian meal. Simon hiking through the vineyards in the Barolo wine region. At Country House Tavernola near Vieste they brought us five icy cold bottles of homemade digestivi—fennel flower, laurel, cinnamon, almond, and prickly pear our favourite —and left us to help ourselves.

Fave e cicoria mashed fava beans with greens is a typical Puglian dish. A typical Italian breakfast in a bar — a cornetto filled with nutella.

How Many Days Do I Need to See Italy?

Menus in Italian only are a good sign. Roman style thin crust pizza at Da Remo in Rome. In Naples the pizza has a thicker crust—try them both! Takeaway pizza al taglio is the best option for pizza at lunch. You usually choose how much you want and pay by weight. This was at Il Pizzicotto in Lecce. If you are wondering what to eat in Italy, here are some of our favourite dishes.

Pizza rossa and pizza bianca from Antico Forno Roscioli in Rome.

The 16 Most Iconic Foods to Eat in Italy

See our detailed guide to Puglia food for many more recommendations. Our Sicilian food guide has lots more ideas to try including the many sweets the island is famous for.


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  • Death of a Father.

Emilia-Romagna has some of the best food to eat in Italy. Aside from parmesan cheese and aged balsamic vinegar, you should also try:. Tortelloni and Lambrusco wine at Da Danilo in Modena. Our favourite place to eat in Italy is Masseria Il Frantoio , an olive farm with accommodation in Puglia where we indulged in an eight-course tasting menu using produce and olive oil from the farm. Italy also contains more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world People have visited Italy for centuries, yet the first to visit the peninsula for touristic reasons were aristocrats during the Grand Tour, beginning in the late 17th century, and flourishing in the 18th century.

Rome , as the capital of the powerful and influential Roman Empire , attracted thousands to the city and country from all over the empire, which included most of the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, mainland Great Britain England and the parts of the Middle East. Traders and merchants came to Italy from several different parts of the world. When the empire fell in AD, Rome was no longer the epicentre of European politics and culture; on the other hand, it was the base of the papacy , which then governed the growing Christian religion, meaning that Rome remained one of Europe's major places of pilgrimage.

Pilgrims, for centuries and still today, would come to the city, and that would have been the early equivalent of "tourism" or "religious tourism". The trade empires of Venice, Pisa and Genoa meant that several traders, businessmen and merchants from all over the world would also regularly come to Italy. In the 16th and early 17th century, with the height of the Renaissance, several students came to Italy to study Italian architecture, such as Inigo Jones. Real "tourism" only affected in Italy in the second half of the 17th century, with the beginning of the Grand Tour.

What to Eat in Italy, and Where

This was a period in which European aristocrats, many of whom were British, visited parts of Europe; Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean places were amongst the most popular. This was in order to study ancient architecture and the local culture. On the way there, Milan was also a popular stop, yet a trip to the city was not considered essential, and several passed by, or simply stayed for a short period of time.

If a person came via boat, then they would remain a few days in Genoa. Yet, the main destination in Northern Italy was Venice, which was considered a vital stop, [6] as well as cities around it such as Verona, Vicenza and Padua.

Italy’s greatest hits

As the Tour went on, Tuscan cities were also very important itinerary stops. Florence was a major attraction, and other Tuscan towns, such as Siena, Pisa, Lucca and San Gimignano, were also considered important destinations. The most prominent stop in Central Italy, however, was Rome, a major centre for the arts and culture, as well as an essential city for a Grand Tourist. Sicily was considered a significant part of the trail, and several, such as Goethe , visited the island. Throughout the 17th to 18th centuries, the Grand Tour was mainly reserved for academics or the elite.

Nevertheless, circa , [6] rail transport was introduced and the Grand Tour started to fall slightly out of vogue; hence, the first form of mass-tourism was introduced. The s saw the period in which the Victorian middle classes toured the country. Several Americans were also able to visit Italy, and many more tourists came to the peninsula.

Popular Foods of Italy: 40 iconic Italian dishes and must-try Italian foods

As the century progressed, fewer cultural visits were made, and there was an increase of tourists coming for Italy's nature and weather. The first seaside resorts, such as those in the Ligurian coast, around Venice, coastal Tuscany and Amalfi, became popular. Tourism to Italy remained very popular until the lates and earlys, when, with the Great Depression and economic crisis, several could no longer afford to visit the country; the increasing political instability meant that fewer tourists came.

Only old touristic groups, such as the Scorpioni , remained alive. After a big slump in tourism beginning from approximately and lasting after World War II , Italy returned to its status as a popular resort, with the Italian economic miracle and raised living standards; films such as La Dolce Vita were successful abroad, and their depiction of the country's perceivedly idyllic life helped raise Italy's international profile.

By this point, with higher incomes, Italians could also afford to go on holiday; coastline resorts saw a soar in visitors, especially in Romagna. Many cheap hotels and pensioni hostels were built in the s, and with the rise of wealth, by now, even a working-class Italian family could afford a holiday somewhere along the coast.

The lates also brought mass-popularity to mountain holidays and skiing; in Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, numerous ski resorts and chalets started being built. The s also brought a wave of foreign tourists to Italy in search of a sentimental trip Villoresi old charm -The Trip to Italy , since Mediterranean destinations saw a rise in global visitors. Despite this, by the lates and earlys, economic crises and political instability meant that there was a significant slump in the Italian tourist industry, as destinations in the Far East or South America rose in popularity.

Best Restaurants In Rome - What & Where To Eat In Rome

Milan saw a rise in tourists, since it was ripening its position as a worldwide fashion capital. The table below shows the distribution of national and international visitor nights spent in the 40 most tourist area of Italy in Italy overall had According to regional data, in tourism presences in Italy amounted to million Most visitors arriving in Italy in were citizens of the following countries: [14]. There are many historic cities in this part of Italy: Turin , the manufacturing capital of Italy, Milan , the business and fashion capital of the country and the important port of Genoa are the most popular tourist destinations of the area.

Other cities like Aosta , Bergamo , Brescia and Como have a rich cultural heritage, which share the region's visitors with beautiful landscapes such as the lakes Garda , Como and Maggiore. There are also several mountain ranges such as the Dolomites, the Carnic and Julian Alps and first-class ski resorts like Cortina d'Ampezzo and Madonna di Campiglio.