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

Quiet House In It's Own Grounds With Countryside Views And Only 5 Km From Ostuni

The villa is also surrounded by 2,575sq metres of private land and has 2 outdoor dining areas (pergola and balcony) and a pool area with 6 sun loungers and umbrellas for shade. This property has a flexible booking policy and can be booked on the d...


Making this apartment an excellent choice for Those Who want to visit the most important touristic spots whilst staying in a residential neighborhood. Near the apartment the Following shops are available: two supermakets, several groceries, pharma...

Rome: Apartment/ flat - Roma

(Text automatically translated) Lively area with all kinds of shops and services within walking distance from the Vatican (on foot or three stops Bus) Villa Pamphili (the public park more 'big of Rome to 200 meters) awaits you for a walk or jo...

Meleto Terrazze 2 Apartment for rent with 2 sleeps with swimming pool in

The imposing Meleto Castle is located in the heart of the Chianti Classico, near the ancient lines that marked the border between the Florentine and Senese Republic, in the centre of a large and well-known farm that extends for more than 1,000 ha....

Cozy cottage with courtyard, A/C, TV sat, Wifi. Heart of Florence

Lovely apartment ideal for couple - or families with children - near San Marco and San Lorenzo. Very quiet and bright. Recently restorated and tastefully decorated. It overlooks a sunny courtyard, a very relaxing place to have breakfast or tea. ...

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