Gastronomic holidays in Italy

Because it’s so much more than pizza and pasta

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Jules Pearson

Sophie Gackowski
HomeAway travel expert

Dish at Ristoro di Lamole, restaurant in Greve, ChiantiAs a cuisine described as complex yet simple, distinct while interlinked, there’s nothing for it but to conclude that it’s passion, above all, that underpins Italian food; being made up of some 20 diverse regions, after all, this is a country that offers incredibly different dishes from one hill-top town to the next. But there’s no denying it: whether in search of the perfect espresso, some melt-in-the-mouth charcuterie, or the finest grape varieties known to man, you can count on Italy to deliver the goods; time after time. From Sicily’s street food to the elusive white truffles of Umbria, there’s no end to the culinary delights to be had here. 

And, whether you want to try traditional tartufo (not the Italian word for ‘truffle’, but the dessert in Pizzo, Calabria), or sample the finest limoncello (the origins of that particular drink are still debated…), HomeAway has thousands of holiday rentals in Italy to choose from. Large estates set in Tuscan vineyards; small cottages along the Amalfi Coast: there’s a home to suit even the most discerning of palates. But before you start browsing through our selection of Italian rentals, why not sink your teeth into our gastronomic guide to Italy?


Top five destinations for gastronomes in Italy


Gastro breaks in Umbria Gastro breaks in Umbria

Set smack in the middle of Italy, Umbria’s not only a region of dreamy, lush scenery, Etruscan history and rustic, hill-top towns; it’s also a gastronomic great, with its food reflecting the landscape. Fertile soil and vast forests mean this is a bread basket of grains, herbs and vegetables, with truffles and mushrooms playing a large part in regional dishes. Food is delicious, yet simple: think fresh asparagus dressed in a little local olive oil, accented only with a pinch of salt and perhaps a smattering of aged pecorino cheese.

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Gastro breaks in Tuscany Gastro breaks in Tuscany

Sitting just above Umbria, Tuscany’s fare is similarly simple yet mouthwatering. Rather than use complex concoctions to mask food, Tuscan dishes embrace just a few strong flavours, really showcasing the main ingredient being used. Hare or game sauces are favoured with pasta, but the main dish is almost always a form of juice-drenched meat – needless to say Tuscany’s not best suited to vegetarians. For a hefty T-bone steak cooked over wood coals, dressed in just pepper and local olive oil, order Bistecca alla Fiorentina.

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Gastro breaks in Sicily Gastro breaks in Sicily

As the southernmost reach of the country, drenched in sunshine and scented with lemon trees, the island of Sicily whets the appetite. But first thing’s first: eat seafood. Surrounded by the sea, you’re going to have to make the difficult choice between mussel linguine, simple grilled swordfish, or sardines marinated and cooked on open coals. And that’s just the main course: the ice-cream here (though it’s called granita, sorbet-like in texture) comes flavoured with pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds...the locals like to eat it in brioche.

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Gastro breaks in Rome Gastro breaks in Rome

Ok, so we said it’s about more than pizza, but there’s nothing more satisfying than sampling that first Roman slice. Thin, crispy and topped with the freshest ingredients, there’s nothing more tantalising. That said, don’t forget to savour the capital’s other signature dishes. You can make your way through platters of deep-fried courgette flowers, artichokes with garlic and mint, and small dishes of pasta alla carbonara; with so many tempting offerings on the menu, you’ll want to embrace the ”when in Rome” attitude.

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Gastro breaks in Abruzzo Gastro breaks in Abruzzo

Abruzzo sits just beneath Umbria, yet offers an incredibly diverse culinary experience – perhaps as distinct as its landscape. Amidst its mountains, farmland and coastline, you’ll find rustic specialities like the cured sausages Mortadella di Campotosto,sweet delicacies like the sugared almonds of Sulmona, and an overwhelming array of seafood. One of the best ways to try this range is by ordering Brodetto di Pesce, a chowder which showcases a range of mullet, sole, skate and even dogfish, all in a warming tomato base.

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Main Image © Sensa Senzo
Image 1 © Kristen Taylor
mage 2 © McPig
Image 3 © Andrew Malone
Image 4 © Leon Brocard
Image 5 © stu_spivack


Holiday Rentals in Italy

Agriturismo Villa Pacinotti

Villa Pacinotti is located on Poggio Montecuccoli, also the hilltop setting for the Romanesque church of San Giovanni Evangelista. A medieval road that was once an important link between Tuscany and Emilia skirts the farmstead. By foot or by h...

Historical Rustico in great panoramic position, only 200 meters from the beach

Beautifully situated in front Acciaroli and immersed in a spacious, covered with fruit trees and Mediterranean bush garden, Casa Colonica impresses with its unique panoramic position.   On the large terraces of the house there you can enjoy wond...

Cosy apartment at the sandy beach with sea view balcony

Ocean waves, crystal clear water and long gently sloping sandy beaches you receive during your holiday in Le Sirene.   Made for beach lovers and water lovers is the tasteful Apartment Leucosia on gorgeous wide sandy beach of Pozzillo / San Marco...

Comfortable apartment with stunning sea views, just 100 meters from the beach

Location and special: In Marina Campagna, an idyllic village of Pisciotta, the Surrounded by olive groves Holiday Eco del Mare is located (in German: sea echo). The name comes from the lovely owner's family, which has literally fallen in love wit...

Small, family-friendly holiday complex with pool and comfort, 600 m from the beach

In the district of Capo Grosso of Marina di Camerota, on a green hill overlooking the sea, the pretty, apricot-colored Residence Andrea Bifulco is the family. The small, horseshoe-shaped resort with eleven tastefully furnished apartments was compl...
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