Italy has been renowned worldwide as a food-lover’s destination for centuries. From savoring the hearty meat dishes of the mountainous north, to dining on the mouthwatering, fresh seafood of the sunny south,Diamond Resorts International® timeshare network provides opportunities for tasting the best culinary delights the country has to offer. With itineraries individually tailored for those vacationers hungering for exceptionally delectable experiences, travellers can see the sites of the great Italian cities while enjoying the regional cuisines that have made each one famous in its own right.
Set near the Alps at Italy’s rugged north and northwest borders, the regional cuisines of Lombardy and Piedmont share some similarities with their Swiss neighbors. In the fashionable Lombardy capital of Milan, veal and pork feature in local dishes such as the schnitzel-likecotoletta and old-school, snout-to-tail cassoeula. Distinctly different from the flavor palate of Italy’s southern cuisines, guests can expect plates prepared with butter and piled high with risotto or polenta. If visiting with Diamond Resorts International® timeshare during the latter part of the year, anticipate plenty of the famed Panettone, the spiced Christmas cake of dried fruits. Turin, the Piedmont region’s capital, is also known for its well-known sweets, including foil-wrapped Gianduiotto hazelnut chocolates and bicerin, a small, layered drink composed of espresso, chocolate and milk, served hot.
In central Italy, the Emilia-Romagna, Umbria and Tuscany regions are each distinguished by their own unique specialties that Diamond Resorts Timeshare visitors will want to sample in their native locations. In Bologna, Emilia-Romagna’s largest city, feast on meat-based Bolognese sauce with freshly made tagliatelle pasta. Head to Modena and Reggio Emilia to try the area’s balsamic vinegar, which, according to tradition and the law, is only produced in these two cities. In Umbria, truffles often star on the menu — especially alongside local game meats like wild boar, pheasant and geese during the winter months, but visitors can savor the heavily-sought white or black fungi on Umbria’s menus year-round. Though Tuscany, like most of Italy, is known for its incredible wines, its highbrow image belies a cuisine with a peasant past; cozy ribollita soup is made with humble ingredients such as leftover bread, beans, carrots, cabbage and onion, but the thick and flavorful potage is adored just the same.
Continue further south to Rome, for the beloved straightforward cooking method of the nation’s capital, which incorporates peas, artichokes and fava beans, lamb and goat meat, as well as Pecorino Romano, a cheese produced from sheep milk. A curiosity, the region is also known for assigning meals to particular days of the week, and vacationers can count on semolina-based gnocchi dumplings on Thursdays, salted cod on Fridays and tripe on Saturdays.
Pizza fans will rejoice in Naples. The neighboring Campania region along the Amalfi coast, is the traditional home of pizza. Beyond the international fun food staple, the region produces more than half of the country’s buffalo mozzarella cheese, a delicate dairy treat exported to the world’s tables. Though pizza and cheese are celebrated favorites, Neapolitan dishes are also brightened by the taste of the area’s incomparable tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant, while recipes like spaghetti alle vongole and paccheri con la zuppa di pesce take advantage of the sea’s bounty.
A culinary journey through Italy would not be complete without considering a stop at the southern island of Sicily. With Greek, French, Spanish and Arab influences present in the island’s extraordinary main courses, many Sicilian-born plates have come to symbolize Italian cooking. Ripe, sweet tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, Pecorino cheese, salami and crispy bread are hometown menu mainstays across the island. Seafood is an absolute don’t-miss Sicilian dish, with sardines, sea bass, cuttlefish, tuna and swordfish all prepared exquisitely. Don’t forget to try the arancini, a street food of deep-fried rice balls. And leave room for dessert: the ricotta cheese-based cannoli pastry was invented here.