To Italians, eating is something that should be enjoyed with both passion and patience. So much more than just pizza and pasta, and a million miles from a microwaved Spaghetti Bolognese, real Italian food has an authenticity that’s hard to match. Traditional local dishes are the truest representation of the diverse personalities of Italy’s regions!

In aid of World Pasta Day we thought we’d invite you on a journey around our favourite foodie hotspots, showing you where you need to cruise to in Italy to indulge in some seriously delicious dining….

Rome

Cruise to: Civitavecchia

From the early influences of ancient Greece to the experimental mood of the Renaissance, Rome has always had a great reputation for unique cuisine that can be tasted all around the city to this day. Avoid the inauthentic cafes around tourist spots, and instead take a stroll through the side streets where you’ll be rewarded by tiny bakeries serving freshly made Pizza Bianca, a delicious salty flatbread. Wander through the historic Jewish quarter and you’ll get a taste of Carciofi alla giudia – sublime fried crispy artichokes. As a perfect accompaniment to either dish, you should absolutely try a chilled glass of Fruscati, a crisp, dry white wine with a history almost as long as the city itself.

Don’t leave without trying… Carbonara

Al dente spaghetti or tagliatelle is tossed in egg yolks before Pecorino cheese and crispy pancetta are added, alongside plenty of crushed black pepper. Don’t confuse this with the bland cream-based ham and mushroom pasta served outside Italy! Enjoying traditional Carbonara is an altogether different and much more delectable experience.

Neapolitan Riviera

Cruise to: Naples

Between the bustling streets of Naples and the dramatic cliffs of Amalfi lies one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. Because of the varied terrain of the area – from shorelines to cities, volcanoes to vineyards – the area has one of Italy’s most diverse food cultures featuring world famous produce. The creamy mozzarella made from the milk of Campanian buffalo and the sweet San Marzano tomatoes that ripen in the shade of Mount Vesuvius are both core ingredients of many of the region’s favourite dishes. Why not finish off your meal here with a sip of lucious Limoncello, a liqueur made from the fragrant Sfusato lemons that grow in the Amalfi hills.

Don’t leave without trying… Neapolitan Pizza

Although made around the world, only by using Marzano tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella can a pizza be truly called Neapolitan. Both ingredients are spread across the stretched thin base and baked quickly in an extremely hot stone oven. Fresh green basil and extra-virgin olive oil can be added to make the classic Margherita version.

Sicily

Cruise to: Palermo

Sicily has had a long and storied history as over the last 3,000 years, the island has been ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Normans and Arabs amongst many others. Due to the mix of cultures, the cuisine is both varied and unique. Amazing local produce is at the heart of great Sicilian cooking – the tomatoes, aubergines and ricotta are some of the country’s finest, and the basis of many local specialities like the world famous Pasta alla Norma. Seafood is also an big part of many menus – sardines, either freshly grilled or added to pasta, are served everywhere. A perfect finish to your meal is lemon granita, a rustic style sorbet that’s certain to cool you down in the sun.

Don’t leave without trying… Arancini

You must try these wonderful deep fried risotto balls, Sicily’s favourite street food. Although served in various flavours, the island’s favourite version is Arancini Al Ragu – where the rice is stuffed with a rich meat sauce and oozes melted mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Tuscany

Cruise to: Livorno, La Spezia, Genoa

Masters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and many others lived and worked on the hills of Tuscany. The regions capital, Florence, remains the cultural heart of Italy and this can be seen in the city’s architecture, amazing ambiance and of course, its food. Bistecca Fiorentina – a traditional chargrilled yet rare T-bone steak – may be a favourite cosmopolitan choice, but it’s the humble ‘peasant’ food of rural Tuscany that really sets the area apart – wild game, beans and rustic cheeses are the stars of this cuisine. Make sure you try panzenolla, a simple yet delicious salad made from bread and tomatoes.

Don’t leave without trying… Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale

Often made with pork outside of Italy, this rustic pasta is actually best using wild boar. The meat is slowly cooked with red wine (local Chianti is perfect), tomatoes and herbs until it’s so tender that it falls off the bone, before it’s added to freshly made pappardelle pasta.

Feeling Peckish?

After all that, is there really anywhere else you should even be considering cruising to?! Most Mediterranean cruises dock in on the Italian coasts, west and east! So what are you waiting for, give us a call on 0800 027 8302 and we’ll have you sailing towards the finest food in the world – if we do say so ourselves! Alternatively, take a look at our Deals section for some inspiration!

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