Sure, if you travel to Italy, you’re going to have some delicious pizza and some amazing gelato, you’ll try carbonara and then some famous tiramisu. But there is a whole long list of amazing and timeless Italian dishes that we bet you have no idea about that you absolutely need in your stomach ASAP. Here are just five examples of some of the classic Italian dishes most tourists don’t know about, but should.

1. Làgane e ceci

From the southern Italian region of Basilicata, this simple dish of pasta, chickpeas, olive oil and garlic is a local favorite, yet it has somehow slipped under the radar of hungry travelers.

pasta chickpeas

Photo via Flickr/Giuseppe Cucco

2. Frico 

Delicious local Montasio cow’s milk cheese of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region is cooked to a semi-melt, usually with potatoes, and often also spiced with sugar and cinnamon, served on its own or over toasted bread.


Photo via Flickr/cindystarblog 

3. Bagna caôda

A warm dip for fresh veggies like peppers, onions and celery, this classic from Piedmont is made of olive oil, butter, garlic, anchovies, walnuts, and then some more olive oil.

warm dip

Photo via Flickr/« R☼Wεnα »

4. Strudel

Tourists tend to flock to gelato shops and go crazy for the common cannoli, but few realize that the northernmost Italian region of  Trentino-Alto Adige has a bit of an Austrian / Hungarian influence on its cuisine. Here the Strudel, composed of fruits, nuts and spices between sheets of flakey pastry, reigns supreme.


Photo via Flickr/

5. Frittelle di fiori di zucchine

When tourists stop in the pizza places in Rome, they don’t always realize they’re actually supposed to order a starter dish first, not just a pizza. Zucchini flowers are delicious, and in Rome even more so because they come deep fried after being stuff with mozzarella cheese and a single anchovy. Nothing beats it.

zucchini fritter

Photo via Flickr/Michelle Fabio

Which classic Italian dish will you try on your next visit to Italy?

American by chance, but Roman by choice, Sarah is currently feeding her adventurous soul with expatriatism and pizza. Her finest moments are always on the wrong bus with a backpack and an upside down map, waiting to see what the world’s got for her next, so long as she can blog about it. She likes writing more than talking, dolphins more than humans, old movies more than new, and Rome more than anything else.


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