The gastronomy of Italy is a collection of regional specialities rather than a list of national dishes.
Each of the country’s regions was once an independent entity, with its own culture and customs, and continues to preserve its own identity and traditions. This is especially true in the case of food and wine. Even pizza and pasta, the standard-bearers of Italian eating, are prepared differently as you travel the length and breadth of the country.
Tuscany’s basic materials are incomparable olive oil, the most tender meats and excellent wine. Alba produces fragrant white truffles, Turin is renowned for its confectionery, Apulia has a wonderful fish stew and Calabria makes superb smoked sausages. Emilia-Romagna is the birthplace of fettuccine, prosciutto, tortellini and lasagna.
No other country offers as many different varieties of wine as Italy. Almost everyone knows Chianti, Barbera, Frascati and Asti Spumante; wine enthusiasts are familiar with Barbaresco, Falerno, Mamertino and `Super Tuscans’. Vines are grown throughout the country, and almost every village produces distinctive individual wines, so savvy travellers should check out the local products.