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Italian Regions

Specialties: Spaghetti alle Vongole (spaghetti with clams), Pizza Napoletana or Margherita (pizza with oregano or basil and mozzarella), Mozzarella di Bufala (water buffalo mozzarella), Calzoni (folded pizza filled with mozzarella), Sfogliatelle (a sort of puff pastries filled with ricotta cheese), Pastiera (cake filled with wheat and riccotta cheese).

CAMPANIA Napoli and its surroundings make some of the most colorful regions of Italy full of monuments, art, architecture, wonderful people, and of course one of the best gastronomies of Italy. This is where pasta is at its best, and where pizza was invented.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA Bologna la Grassa (Bologna the Fat One) is this region's capital and also considered to be the gastronomic capital of Italy. The wonderful dishes that originated in this region are renowned worldwide.

Specialties: Tortellini (pasta rings filled with meat), Tagliatelle col Ragu' (hand-made fettuccine with thick meat-tomato sauce), Lasagne (layered pasta with white sauce and tomato), Mortadella (enormous pork sausage), Zampone (pork-leg sausage), Prosciutto di Parma (pork ham), Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar), and wines such as Lambrusco and Trebbiano.

LAZIO This region includes Rome and a beautiful hilly countryside. Agriculture, crafts, animal husbandry, and fishery are the main traditional resources. Agriculture is characterized by the cultivation of wine grapes, fruit, vegetables and olives.


Specialties: Fettuccine alla Romana (paper-thin fettuccine), Fettuccine all'Alfredo (dressed with butter and parmigiano reggiano cheese), Abbacchio alla Cacciatora (milk-fed lamb hunter's style), Carciofi alla Giudia (small young artichokes cooked in olive oil), Gnocchi alla Romana (semolina milk-cooked dumplings), Spaghetti Carbonara (dressed with eggs and bacon), Coda alla Vaccinara (oxtail with tomato and celery), Saltimbocca (veal with prosciutto), and Torta di Ricotta (ricotta cheese cake).

CALABRIA The toe of the Italian boot is a long and narrow peninsula with impeccable beaches and untouched mountainsides. The low slopes are rich in vineyards, citrus fruit, olives, and chestnut trees.


Specialties: Melanzane a Funghetto (oven baked eggplant), Morzeddu (similar to a calzoni filled with giblets), Sagne Chine (Calabrian Lasagne), and Ciro' wine.


ABRUZZO - MOLISE This region located on the Adriatic coast boasts the largest mountainous Appennini massif inland and beautiful sandy beaches on the seaside.

Specialties: Pork sausages, Maccheroni alla Chitarra (square spaghetti cut with a special device shaped like a square guitar), Bucatini all'Amatriciana (long tubular pasta dressed with tomato, onion and bacon), and wines (Montepulciano and Trebbiano).

Specialties: Lucanica Sausage, Lamb Pignata (cooked in an earthenware pot) or with chicory; Local Orecchiette, Cacioricotta Cheese, and many pasta dishes.

BASILICATA This is the most mountainous region in southern Italy since half of its territory is covered by mountains. The region was originally known as Lucania named after the Lucani, who were the first known settlers.

FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA This multiethnic region with Slavic, Italian, and German influences descends from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea and is home to the ancient Roman town of Aquileia.

Specialties: Gulyas (goulash in the style from Trieste), Presnitz (puff pastries with almonds), Brodetto di Pesce (fish soup), Prosciutto San Daniele, Gubana (cake filled with raisins and almonds), and wines like Pinot Grigio, Verduzzo, and Riesling.

LIGURIA This 200-mile arc-shaped region, called La Riviera, is a narrow strip of coast that drops down from the Alpine side. It is famous for wonderful coastal towns. Genova, its capital city, was home to Christofer Columbus.

Specialties: Pesto Genovese (famous sauce blend of basil and olive oil), Torta Pasqualina (Easter cheese and spinach pie), Cappon Magro (Genovese fish salad), Burrida or Cioppino fish soup, Minestrone Genovese (vegetable soup), Cima di vitello (stuffed veal), and Ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese.

LOMBARDIA Industrial in its plains, a tourist attraction with its mountains and astounding lakes, Lombardia is the business heart of Italy. It is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.

Specialties: Risotto Milanese with saffron, Cotoletta Milanese (fried cutlet similar to the Wiener schnitzel), Ossobuco (stewed veal shanks),  Panettone (Christmas cake), Bresaola della Valtellina (cured dry beef), and some of the best Italian cheeses (Mascarpone, Bel Paese, Gorgonzola, and Stracchino).

MARCHE The Appennini mountain range country, this region houses the Republic of San Marino, a minuscule sovereign state that has been independent for the past fourteen centuries.

Specialties: Vincisgrassi (lasagna with giblets, chicken livers, and white sauce), Garganelli (handmade tubular pasta), Olive Farcite (stuffed giant olives from Ascoli), and wines (Sangiovese, Vernaccia, and Verdicchio).

PIEMONTE Closest to France and Switzerland, Torino was the Italian capital before the country’s unification. This region is a large producer of rice and has high culinary standards.

Specialties: Grissini (breadsticks), Bagna Cauda (garlic and anchovy dip), Agnolotti (the Piemontese version of ravioli), red wine Risotto, white truffles, Gianduiotti (chocolate and hazelnut cookies), some of the best Italian wines (Barbera,  Barolo, Dolcetto, Barbaresco), and Vermouth Martini.

PUGLIA  This region features flat land by beautiful beaches and many Norman monuments.

Specialties: Olive Oil, Cheeses, Mussels, Orecchiette (little-ears pasta), Panzarotti (mozzarella-filled ravioli), Carteddate (honey-covered pastries).

SARDEGNA A region of ancient and wild land, it possesses one of the most exclusive and astounding seasides.

Specialties: Carasau (so-called music paper, paper-thin bread), Aligusta (sautéed lobster), Culingiones (ravioli filled with fresh cheese),  Amaretti (almond cookies), game, Pecorino Sardo (pungent sheep cheese), and wines (Vernaccia and Cannonau).

SICILIA The largest island of the Mediterranean is an ancient mythological land that has been occupied by many civilizations: Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Saracen, Norman, French, and Spaniards — which are all brought together in an apogee of colors, scents, and tastes.

Specialties: Arancini (fried rice balls), Caponata (eggplant stew), Sugo col Tonno (fresh tuna fish tomato sauce), Pasta con le Sarde (pasta with sardines), Pasta alla Norma (eggplant pasta), Cassata (Sicilian layer cake), Cannoli (fried pasta tubes filled with ricotta cheese), ice cream, candied fruit, almond paste, and wines (Marsala, Corvo, and Moscato).

TOSCANA It is impossible not to use superlatives for the region from which Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Boccaccio, Cimabue, Giotto, Botticelli, Della Robbia, Donatello, Cellini, and Brunelleschi originate. It includes cities like Firenze, Pisa, and Siena.

Specialties: Crostini di Fegatini (chicken liver pate’), Bistecca Fiorentina (Florentine steak), Pasta e Fagioli (beans soup), Fagioli all'uccelletto (stewed beans), Tortino di Carciofi (artichokes egg omelette), Caciucco Livornese (fish soup Livorno style), Ribollita (bread-and-vegetables soup),  Arista di Maiale (roast pork), Zuccotto (ice-cream cake), Cantucci (almond cookies), Panforte di Siena (honey-and-nuts cake), and wines (Chianti, Montepulciano, Brunello, Pitigliano, Vin Santo).

TRENTINO - ALTO ADIGE Called Sud-Tyrol by its German-speaking inhabitants, this is the region of the Dolomiti, breathtaking jagged mountains bathed in an unreal pinkish mauve color. The gastronomic traditions are similar to neighboring Austria.

Specialties: Canederli (dumplings with sausage, breadcrumbs, and eggs), Strudel (apple-filled cake), and Speck (smoked dry ham).

UMBRIA Called “the green heart of Italy,” this is a hilly and woody region, with gorgeous miniature cities like Assisi, Gubbio, Orvieto, Spoleto, and Norcia.

Specialties: Pork Sausages (today pork butchers are still called norcini, “natives of Norcia”), Black Truffles, and Porchetta (roast pig with herbs).

VALLE D’AOSTA This corner of Italy exhibits the magnificent mountain scenery of the Alps. A small, steep, bilingual region renowned for its medieval castles, it is full of French influence.

Specialties: Fonduta (similar to the French fondue but made with Fontina cheese), Blanc Manger (white cream pudding), and Tegole d'Aosta (almond cookies with chocolate glaze).

VENETO It is impossible to compress into a few words the richness of this region, with cities like the incomparable Venezia, Vicenza (where Palladio the architect is from), Verona (where Romeo and Juliet is set), Padova (where St. Antony is from), and lake Garda.

Specialties: Risi e Bisi (rice and peas soup), Bigoli (handmade spaghetti), Peara’ (sauce based on breadcrumbs and horseradish), Fegato alla Veneziana (liver with onions), Baccala’ alla Vicentina (salt cod with milky sauce), Polenta (cornmeal porridge), Risotto all’onda (wavy risotto), magnificent wines (including Valpolicella, Recioto, Amarone, Soave, and Pinot), and Grappa liquor.

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Cooking in LOMBARDIA