Italy is a food lover's paradise with an endless variety of interesting regional dishes to try. Between the hearty Florentine steaks, the slow-cooked ragus and the endless pasta variations, you will be lucky to leave with your waist-line intact.
However, not every dish you'll find in Italy is worth your time, in fact some are downright skippable. Here are three foods to avoid so that you can focus your efforts on more worthy dishes.
One of the biggest shocks for first time visitors to Italy is that many of the classic dishes we associate with Italian cooking aren't authentically Italian at all. Many of these red sauce restaurant dishes evolved after Italian immigrants came to America. Spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce, for example, is a distinctly American creation. While Italians do eat meatballs they would never serve them on top of pasta. Spaghetti Bolognese is a big no-no too - instead of ground beef, real Bolognese is a slow cooked pork ragu served on top of a much sturdier pasta like tagliatelle. Fettucini Alfredo was invented in Rome specifically to serve to clueless American tourists.
While none of those dishes taste bad, they are categorically not Italian. If you can even find them on the menu in Italy it is a sure sign you are in the wrong kind restaurant, the kind that caters only to tourists.
Ubiquitous shops selling creamy, flavorful gelato are one of Italy's greatest selling points. Unfortunately not all gelato is created equal, and some of the less savory shops make a tidy profit selling sub-par gelato created from powdered mixes. This fake gelato will never taste as good as the real, hand-made kind. Follow these guidelines to make sure you're spending your precious money and calories on the real thing:
More gelato information can be found in our Guide to Italian Gelato post.
Italy is really, really excellent at Italian food. However, with only a few exceptions, it's not particularly great with international cuisine. No matter how tempting it seems, that all-you-can-eat sushi bar in Milan is never going to live up to even moderate expectations. The same goes for the rare Mexican, Chinese or Thai restaurant you might stumble across.
So save yourself the trouble and stick to Italian. Luckily the country has enough culinary variety that it's nearly impossible to get bored.
Have you been to Italy? Did you make any foodie mistakes?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
Volcanic eruptions are natural disasters that may be covered events under Arch RoamRight travel protection plans. From minor disruptions to catastrophic events, volcanos can affect travelers around the world.
Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
Travel smarter with travel insurance from RoamRight. Get your free, no-obligation quote online today.
View all Blog Authors
View Countries with Blogs
Sign up for RoamRight's FREE monthly email newsletter to get travel tips, tricks, news, ideas, and inspiration!
The RoamRight mark is used by Arch Insurance Company and owned by its parent company, Arch Capital Group (U.S.). Insurance coverages are underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, NAIC #11150, under certain policy series, including LTP 2013 and amendments thereto. Certain terms, conditions, restrictions and exclusions apply and coverages may vary in certain states. In the event of any conflict between your policy terms and coverage descriptions on this website, the terms and conditions of your policy shall govern. Click here for privacy notice.
Copyright© 2023 Arch Insurance Company. All rights reserved.