Italian cuisine is loved all over the world, and for every typical Italian dish outside of Italy, there are a handful that remain largely unknown. Italian food is ultra-regional and you would have a difficult time finding many dishes away from where they came. The secret to classic Italian cuisine is that it makes use of the ingredients found locally and, therefore, always works with fresh products, prepared simply.

When it comes to food traditions, Italians border on ritualistic. To break a food-rule when you eat in Italy is to commit heresy. Knowing all of the rules of Italian dining can be tricky, and knowing all of the wonderful foods that exist beyond your standard slice of pizza or spaghetti Bolognese, even more so. In fact, spaghetti Bolognese was actually conceived of outside of Italy. In Bologna, an authentic meat-sauce is called ragù and is served exclusively with tagliatelle, lasagne or a few other types of fresh egg pastas, but never spaghetti.

Authenticity of the dishes you already love aside, don’t you want to experience all that Italy and its cuisine have to offer rather than local versions of the foods you’ve had a hundred times? If you’re eager to learn about the fantastic and diverse regional foods of Italy, along with the classics, you’ve come to the right place. To be among the first informed as we expand our resources, subscribe to our monthly newsletter and discover new and delicious Italian dishes and recipes.

Must-Try Italian Food Specialties: What to Eat and Where to Find It

(To learn more about each dish, click through from the images below.)

gatto

Gattò

Potatoes + cheese, need we say more?

Osteria_del_Caffe_Italiano_gnudi

Gnudi

Like ravioli, without the pasta, and we swear that’s not a bad thing

mercado_centrale_firenze_florence_italy_porchetta

Porchetta

If you’ve never tried porchetta, shame on you. Even if you have, like many things, it’s better in Italy.

alla_vecchia_bettola_florence_firenze_Fiori_Fritti_Fried_Zucchini_Flowers

Fiori di Zucca Fritti

Flowers that are good for more than looking pretty, these are great to fry up and eat!

Vivanda_Gastronomia_Bresaola

Bresaola

Kind of like if prosciutto and beef jerky had a baby, but better

Trattoria_Mario_florence_firenze_italy_Ribollita

Ribollita

A Tuscan soup that puts leftovers to good use

perche_no_florence_firenze_italy_gelato

Gelato

An Italian approach to ice cream