Mozzarella di bufala
Mozzarella di bufala or buffalo mozzarella is a cheese made from the Italian water buffalo. It’s richer and creamier than regular mozzarella.
You’ll find prosciutto served on everything from sandwiches and pizza slices to melon in Italy. No matter how you eat it, trying this thin, dry-cured ham is a must.
The outer shell of arancini is made of fried bread crumbs, while the inside is stuffed with a creamy rice, cheese, and sauce mix.
A dessert staple throughout the country, tiramisu is a coffee-flavored cake that features ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa.
Native to Italy’s Tuscan region, panzanella is a summer salad made with chunks of leftover bread, as well as fresh vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes.
The city of Naples is known as the birthplace of pizza. With a light coating of sauce, stringy cheese, and a thin chewy crust, you’ll want a full pie to yourself.
A kind of candy, turrón comes in chunks that consist of honey, sugar, and egg white, with nuts like almonds or pistachios throughout.
Another Tuscan dish made primarily from bread and vegetables, ribollita — which translates to reboiled — is comparable to stew and was commonly eaten by servants who used their masters’ leftover bread to make it.
Insalata di polpo
Boiled octopus is common along the Italian coast. Most restaurants serve it as an appetizer in the form of a salad.
A caffe affogato provides the best of both worlds: It’s a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of gelato.
The Italian version of a sandwich, panini are served hot after being pressed on a grill. What’s inside varies, but common fillings are cheese, tomatoes, and meat.
Ossobuco alla Milanese
Ossobuco is an incredibly tender veal shank that has been cross cut. In Italy it’s often served Milanese style, meaning it’s braised with white wine, vegetables, and broth, which creates a rich and delicious sauce for the meat.
Italy’s version of a dumpling, canederli are made from leftover bread, cheese, and speck (a kind of ham that’s similar to bacon). Their flavor comes from the chicken or beef broth they’re cooked in.
Risotto is a dish from Northern Italy that’s similar to pasta, but it’s made from rice that’s creamy thanks to being slow-cooked in broth. Cheese risottos are common, as are risottos with vegetables like mushrooms.
A trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a scoop of gelato, the Italian version of ice cream, which happens to be denser, silkier, and healthier than American ice cream.
One of Italy’s most simple but delicious salads is the caprese: tomatoes layered with mozzarella cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and basil.
This seafood stew hails from Livorno, a port city on the country’s west coast. Squid, octopus, shellfish, and monkfish are drenched in a chile and tomato-based broth and served with bread, which is meant to soak up the delicious broth.
A dip that’s used for both raw vegetables and bread, bagna càuda comes from the Piedmont region and consists of butter, olive oil, garlic, spices, and anchovies.
Arrosticini are lamb skewers that come from the country’s Abruzzo region, just east of Rome. They’re traditionally cooked over hot coals, which gives them a uniquely smokey flavor.
Originally from Sicily, the cannoli is a typical Italian pastry that’s made from a flaky crust topped with powdered sugar and filled with a sweet cream commonly made from ricotta.
A kind of flat bread, focaccia is oven-baked and often has additions like herbs, tomatoes, and cheese.
Parmagiana di melanzane
While chicken Parmesan is an Italian American dish, eggplant parmesan is native to Italy. It’s eggplant coated in red sauce with mozzarella cheese baked on top, so don’t expect to taste too much of the actual vegetable.