There are literally hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of amazing spots dotted all across Italy and as such, there’s no shortage of some of the best places in Italy to fill your boots with amazing Italian deliciousness, no matter where you are in the country.
I mean, I don’t actually think I’ve ever visited without finding at least a handful of treasured dishes or restaurants that I’ve loved. That’s the thing I love about visiting, it just totally satisfies my love (and cravings) for almost every Italian dish…and that can never be a bad thing, right? (Though my expanding waistline might beg to differ slightly…).
Now, of course, it can be quite tough to nail down a visit to each and every location for a particular type of gelato, pasta or polenta, that’s a given. But, it’s pretty easy to get yourself to the region for sure.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the best places in Italy for some tasty Italian grub.
Grab Spaghetti in Rome
It goes without saying that Rome is one of the best places in Italy to visit… especially for food! Now, once you’re in the city, make sure you get your hands on a big bowl of carbonara. It’s made with; fresh eggs, a hard cheese, guanciale (or pancetta), and a sprinkle of pepper that’s so yummy. It’s one of my favourite Italian dishes and possibly the simplest.
After gorging on all that carbonara, do take some time to explore the main sights of the city. I mean, where else can you see the Colosseum, take photos of the Trevi fountain, marvel at the Pantheon and the see Piazza Navona. There are quite a few gems when it comes to restaurants, too. With some of my favourites, being; Pane e Salame, Il Tamburello di Pulcinella, and Le Pergola. For some of the tastiest gelato, pop into Verde Pistacchio on Via Nazionale. Also, for a great place to stay, check into the stunning Palazzo Montemartini that’s right in the city itself.
Gorge on Tiramisu in Venice
Venice is probably the most iconic possibly one of the best places in Italy to visit. Built on a marshy outcrop, the “Floating City” is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and that’s before we even get to talk about the food!
Possibly one of my favourite sweet treats comes from Venice is the Pandoro (which I usually gorge at Christmas). Though, if you can’t wait until the festive period, make sure to gorge on a Veneto Region pudding, Tiramisu. Made from; savoiardi, egg yolks, mascarpone, a little cocoa and a strong espresso – it’s a proper sweet treat and pick-me-up!
After all that gorging, make sure to check out the magnificent Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Teatro La Fenice, Gallerie dell’Accademia, and indulge in some delicious cocktails at Il Mercante.
Sip on Limoncello at the Amalfi Coast
After our last trip to the Amalfi Coast, the main thing that stood out to me, other than how beautiful it is, was the smells. I swear, every single fruit and flower were giving off the most fragrant scents. It was incredible. Obviously, all those scents and fruits lend itself to make some of that famous local tipple – Limoncello.
Now, after having a little tipple, or two, head out to one the best places in Italy to explore… the Amalfi Coast is stunning. With dramatic cliff top villages overlooking the Mediterranean, mountains of lemon trees and stunning views, the Amalfi Coast seems like something right out of a fairytale. One thing to note, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just the natural sights to see. There are quite a few towns, such as; Sorrento, Positano, Atrani, Ravello, and of course Amalfi itself. For a great hotel, pop into Villa Piedimonte that has some stunning views across the coastline.
Devour a bistecca alla Fiorentina in Florence
When I first ate my first ever abistecca alla Fiorentina (or a Florentine Steak), I literally couldn’t move for about an hour from the restaurant in Florence. It’s HUGE but a steak lovers dream meal. Now, the steak itself is typically served pink inside (which I love) but I know some people prefer their steak cooked through. If that’s the case, maybe order a lighter steak.
After having a big meat feast, it’s best to work off those calories with a little stroll around the city. Florence is still one of my favourite places in Italy, particularly out of all the cities you can visit. There’s just something about it that makes it so beautiful. From the Gates of Paradise, Michelangelo’s David, the Duomo, the Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Galleries, and more, there’s beautiful art everywhere you look in Florence.
Oh, and don’t forget to watch the sunset over the Arno and sip some fabulous wines from the hills of Chianti. Bottoms up!
Find some Mondeghili in Milan
Almost 500 years ago, the Spanish introduced a dish to Milan called, Mondeghili that still thrives to this day. Similar to beef meatballs (that were once the food of peasants), it’s now recognised as one of the dishes of the territory in the city.
After gorging on these, make sure to check out the La Scala Opera, the National Museum of Science and Technology, the Milan Cathedral, the II Cenacolo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and the Santa Maria della Grazie, where you can see Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”. For a great hotel in the centre of Milan, check into the iconic, Chateau Monfort – it’s incredible.
Try Coniglio Alla Vernaccia in San Gimignano
One of the best things about stopping for food in San Gimignano is that it’s literally soaked up all the Tuscan influences that surround the town (which is always a great thing for us when we visit). Now, one dish you should definitely try when in San Gimignano is Coniglio Alla Vernaccia made from rabbit and, of course, lashings of wine.
Once you’ve enjoyed a long lunch, head out into San Gimignano and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and a quaint hill town. The city once had 72 towers and was known as the “City of Beautiful Towers”. Today, however, only 14 remain but they’re worth a visit to see.
Don’t forget to see the Gothic and Romanesque architecture, the historic centre, and fantastic vineyards and wineries like Guardastelle Vineyard and Podere La Marronaia- Sosta Alle Colonne.
If you fancy staying overnight, book a tower room at La Collegiata, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.
Gorge on a Margherita in Naples
Just shy of the stunning Amalfi Coast is the city of Naples, which is a foodie lovers dream city I can promise you! It’s always really interesting to hear peoples accounts of Naples, it seems to be one of those cities that visitors seem to love or hate. Either way (and whatever your opinion), I know you’ll gorge once you’re here.
Possibly the most famous dishes to come out of Naples is pizza and specifically Margherita pizza that was created especially to celebrate queen Margherita of Savoy. When I was last in Naples, I was told that the pizza was actually created to represent the Italian flag; the tomato-based being the red part of the flag, the mozzarella being the white part and, finally, the basil being the green part. It really is one of the best places in Italy for pizza!
Once you’re here, check out the National Archaeological Museum, get spooked in the Catacombs of San Gennaro, revel in the art and architecture of the Sansevero Chapel Museum, catch a show at the Napulitanata, and visit Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii.
Whilst staying in Naples, check into the stunning Romeo Hotel that’s near the harbour and grab one of the best pizza’s at La Masardona.
Try lavarello at Lake Como
Lake Como is one of those stunning areas in Northern Italy that feels worlds apart from the south of Italy. In so many ways, it feels like a totally different country. Now, once you’re there, make sure to take some time to try lavarello that’s a freshwater fish that’s present in the lakes in Northern Italy. You’ll find quite a few restaurants that serve up some of the best (particularly in Como and Bellagio).
Speaking of towns, make sure to take some pit stops at; Tremezzo, Varenna, Bellagio, Como and Bellano. It’s not called Italy’s most beautiful lake for nothing.
For a totally luxurious stay, pop into the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni that’s perched right in Bellagio.
Sip on wines in Orvieto
Italy and cliff-town villages seem to go hand in hand, with Orvieto being one of the prettiest to see whilst exploring the country.
Now, in my opinion, Orvieto is one of the best places in Italy to try some Orvieto Classico. I mean, it’s the wine of the area and probably one of the most iconic drinks here and has a ‘designation of origin’ status. This means that it can’t be made anywhere else.
Once here, check out the 800-year-old cathedral that will mesmerize you and do visit Torre del Moro which is the city’s clock tower. If you’re really into the wine, make sure to check out Decugnano dei Barbi and Madonna del Latte, too.
For a great spot to stay in the Altarocca Wine Resort that’s around 2-miles from the centre of Orvieto.
Chow down on Gnocchi in Verona
Verona is, hands down, one of the best places in Italy for gnocchi and a totally gorgeous city to visit.
Now, although Verona wasn’t the very first place to create gnocchi, it’s certainly the city that’s taken it under its wing as a signature dish. Best of all, they have the most fun Venerdì Gnocolar festival that dates back to the 17th Century and is filled with every type of gnocchi imaginable. It really is one of the best places in Italy to gorge on a huge plate of gnocchi.
Once in the city, you’ll quickly realise why Shakespeare set not one but two of his plays here (Romeo and Juliet and The Two Gentlemen), it’s amazing. Whilst you’re wandering around, make sure to visit the Roman Amphitheatre, Palazzo Barberi, the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, and catch the sunset at Piazzale Castel San Pietro.
For a stunning hotel to stay at, check into the Hotel Gabbia d’Oro that’s smack-bang in the city centre.
Eat all the pesto in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is one of the most stunning and delicious regions to explore whilst in Italy. And, to be honest, it’s one of the best places in Italy to gorge on everything pesto based, especially in one of the five towns. After all, the region is considered to be the birthplace of modern-day pesto.
Whilst you’re gorging on everything pesto, don’t forget to wash it all down with plenty of Cinque Terre and Sciacchetrà wines that hold ‘designation of origin’ status (similar to Orvieto).
Once you’re here, make sure to take the time to see the five gorgeous towns; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Each has its own charm and totally gorgeous views across the Mediterranean.
Gorge on all the arancini and cannoli around Sicily
With seven places on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, the island of Sicily is certainly worth a visit (especially if you’re a lover of Sicilian food).
Now, once you’re here, make sure to eat all the arancini you can find. It’s possibly one of the best places in Italy to get your fill! Made from fluffy rice and stuffed, these balls of carbs are then breaded and deep-fried (which are totally delicious). If you’re more of a sweet lover, make sure to eat up all the Cannoli (that are sweet creamy tubes) that’s from the island itself.
Once you’re here, make sure to explore; Archaeological Area of Agrigento, Ragusa, Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale the Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto, Mount Etna, Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica and the Villa Romana del Casale.
While it’s impossible to visit them all in one trip, you certainly should try to fit a couple into your itinerary.
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