musings about food, travel, creativity and life

Tasty Italy Planning

Now this is my kind of assignment. A friend and her husband are going to Italy this fall. Their itinerary is set, but she asked me if I had any food recommendations. She knew this Italian-American could probably come up with something!

I immediately thought of my own favorites from both my family upbringing and my trips to Italy. I also reread parts of Lonely Planet’s World Food Italy (2000) a great little book with discussions about Italian staples, regional specialties, shopping and markets, and an “eat your words” vocabulary section. Although practically all classic Italian dishes can be found anywhere in Italy these days, here’s a very short list of specialties of some of the towns on my friends’ itinerary:

Rome: fettucine alla carbonara

saltimbocca, which translates as “jump in the mouth,” a grilled veal-sage- prosciutto dish

Venice: all kinds of fish dishes


pasta e fagioli (bean soup with pasta)


cicchetti (tapas-like appetizers found in many bars)

Vernazza on the Ligurian coast: pasta con (basil) pesto

minestrone alla genovese

foccaccia bread

Florence: ribollita (thick vegetable bread soup)

bistecca alla fiorentina

and Italy’s sweets, oh my–gelato, gelato, gelato; biscotti; torrone; and one of my

favorite cookies from my childhood–brutti ma buoni (“ugly but good”)

very crunchy almond cookies; and of course, cappuccinos while sitting

in a piazza musing about la bella vita

And to help my research, I just purchased Eating My Way Through Italy (2018) by Elizabeth Minchilli. I am loving the author’s spirited spicy writing style, her intense culinary research skills, and her in-depth exposition of such classics as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (traditional balsamic vinegar), olive oil, pasta, truffles, and on it goes from the top to bottom of Italy. I’ve only just begun— I have much to learn and savor and will pass on any tidbits to my soon-to-be-travelling friends.

So, dear friends, may your trip to Italy be filled with spirited adventures and glorious food. Buon Viaggio e Buon Appetito!

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