When it comes to pizza, pasta or risotto, ice cream and of course coffee, Italy is a little more united. However, if we wanted to list all the possible types of pasta, or all the existing ice cream's flavours, we would need an encyclopedia.
Travelling Italy from north to south you can have fun discovering how food changes even within a few tens of kilometres. Let's take pizza, for example, a seemingly simple food: in Rome it's tall and spongy, decidedly different from the Neapolitan one, where the dough is artfully worked to be thin and elastic.
Pasta, undoubtedly beloved throughout the whole country, has a special place in the heart of the people of the south, while rice is very popular in the north, as is the Milanese Risotto. In the central regions, on the other hand, soups made with excellent local grown legumes are consumed daily.
In Parma and its surroundings, after a visit to the Duomo or an evening at the Teatro Regio, travellers can savour the famous Parmesan cheese or the typical sweet prosciutto crudo. In Campania the cheese par excellence is instead the stringy one, the buffalo mozzarella, which goes exceptionally well with the local tomatoes, big, red and round, perfect when dressed with the olive oil produced by the secular olive trees of the south.
Since Italy is a peninsula with about 7500 km of coast, the fish naturally has a place of honour. Again, from one region to another, recipes and traditions change drastically. The Tuscan coast is famous for the caciucco, an excellent fish and shellfish soup, in Naples fried squids and shrimps are not to be missed. Red tuna, with its fine, firm and compact flesh, is instead one of the highest points of the rich Sicilian tradition.
Wine would deserve yet another chapter. Piedmont alone has more than one hundred and fifty DOC wines, same goes for the green valleys of Chianti, in Tuscany, where you can visit the ancient cellars and participate in tastings.
Sardinia too has a huge variety, its full-bodied reds are famous and they are a perfect match for the strong flavor of the island's goat's milk cheeses.