Discover Venice & Lake Garda
Regional Cuisine of Italy
Italy's cuisine is world-renowned and for good reason - it's delicious! Dig down beneath the surface of regional differences and it won't be long before you encounter an undercurrent of the country's turbulent political history. Unified in the 1870s Italy, as we know it today, and the food that has come to define it benefits from the influence of many European and Mediterranean neighbours. No cycling holiday in Italy is complete without indulging in, not just the food but also the produce of the local vineyards! Some foods have become synonymous with Italy as a whole, such as pizza, pasta, olive oil and gelato, and while we recommend sampling these on your trip we have also listed some regional highlights.
Veneto - The area between Venice and Lake Garda is famous for it's silky risottos, and the iconic Italian dessert tiramisu. While cycling here you'll pass many Prosecco producing vineyards - sip a glass (or two) beside the Venetian canals to celebrate your trip.
Tuscany - Home to traditional peasant dishes Tuscany's magnificent natural larder allows it's simple cuisine to shine. Sample hearty bean and vegetable stews and pasta dishes, or try the local game - wild boar is especially popular - and a topping of truffle is a seasonal addition in the autumnal months.
Puglia - Apuglia is a productive growing region of Italy and produces all manner of Mediterranean vegetables, chickpeas and lentils. With a large proportion of coastline seafood is popular is a key element of the local diet. Orecchiette pasta, translating literally as 'little ear', is the region's most well-known pasta, it's often served with fresh vegetables and mussels. You may follow a plate of orecchiette with zeppola, small doughnut-like pastries with cream or jam toppings.
Campania - This region, encompassing the gulf of Naples, consumes the greatest amount of pasta in Italy and is of course renowned for the Neapolitan pizza (the modern pizza was invented in Naples towards the end of the 18th century)! Taking in the Amalfi coast seafood also features heavily on most menus.
Sicily - Adrift in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily's focus is largely on simply cooked, super-fresh seafood, straight from the sea to your plate in as little time as possible. Arancini are also a popular street-food on the island, these deep-fried parcels of risotto-style rice are delightful - and are easily portable so they'd make an excellent picnic food. The island is also renowned for a dessert called cannoli - a ricotta filled tube of fried pastry dough often adorned with candied orange, chocolate chips or crushed pistachios (delicious!).