Food and drink

Published on:  | Last updated: 10 February 2017

Series: Eating out in Italy

Part 1

Eating out in Italy is different to going to an Italian restaurant at home. Forget any ideas you might have about Italian cuisine - apart from pizza, which is pretty much ubiquitous there's no such thing as standard Italian food: the local speci­al­ities vary hugely from region to region, and even from town to town. You might see a local speci­ality in one town or village and then never see it anywhere else. For me, this makes eating local food in bars and restaurants an important part of the exper­ience of travelling in Italy.

Eating out in Italy is different to going to an Italian restaurant at home. Forget any ideas you might have about 'Italian cuisine': apart from pizza, which is pretty much ubiquitous there's no such thing as standard Italian food - the local speci­al­ities vary hugely from region to region, and even from town to town. You might see a local speci­ality in one town or village and then never see it anywhere else. For me, this makes eating local food in bars and restaurants an important part of the exper­ience of travelling in Italy.

Read Eating Out in Italy

Restaurant in Volterra

Restaurant in Volterra

Part 2

One of the great things about travelling in Italy is the variety of food - menus change from place to place. Regions and towns are often very proud of their local produce and speci­al­ities. So even if you're on a budget it's worth eating out now to make your exper­ience complete. A short guide from primo to secondo not forgetting knives and forks and tipping.

Read Eating Out in Italy: Part 2

Part 3: Fish, seafood and meat

Along the coast and around Italy's many, many inland lakes, fish and seafood are stars of the show. And even in the mountains look out for freshly-caught trout from the rivers and streams. Meat in different forms is also often the centrepiece of a big blow-out Sunday lunch. Ham and other types of salami prepared according to tradi­tional methods.

Read Eating Out in Italy: Part 3

Muscoli (mussels - but 'muscoli' is also the Italian word for 'muscles') Liguria

'Muscoli' (mussels) Liguria

Pasta, rice, grains and pulses: Risotto is one of the glories of Italian cooking, and if you're lucky, travelling through Italy you'll come across dishes that you'll never ever see at home. Pasta comes in a bewil­dering variety of types - including bigoli, pici and chitarra

Read Eating Out in Italy: Part 4

Sign for a bar-spaghetteria on the Valle dell'Adige cycleway

Sign for a bar-spaghet­teria on the Valle dell'Adige cycleway

Part 5: Pizza and focaccia

Pizza may be universal throughout the western world, but pizzerias in Italy are different; most don't open at lunch, and you are likely to see types of pizza that you won't see at home.

Read Eating Out in Italy: Part 5

Eating out: a glossary

Some of the more unusual food words you may come across

Read Eating Out in Italy: a glossary

Panini and food to go

A packed lunch is an obvious way to save money - and in some of the remoter areas you may well not find anywhere to eat so it may be the only option. A quick guide to the options from a panino to an arancione.

Read: panini and food to go

The mercato in Firenze

The mercato in Firenze

Shopping for food

Italy has plenty of good restaurants, but even if you're not on a limited budget, at some point you may need to go shopping for food. some useful words and phrases, as well as a heads-up on the number one 'gotcha' for foreigners in Italy.

Read Shopping for food

Coffee and Cafes

Coffee is something the Italians take seriously. And they do it well.

Coffee in Italy: an intro­duction to the many variations. Not to mention how to tell whether you need to pay before you have your coffee or after­wards and when to ask for a brioche, and when to ask for cornetto when you want a croissant.

Read: Coffee and cafes

Drink

A quick guide to drinking in Italy, from water to wine, not to mention beer and grappa.

Read: Drink: from water to grappa

Sign outside an enoteca (wine bar) Bolgheri (Toscana)

Sign outside an enoteca (wine bar) Bolgheri (Toscana)

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