Few countries lend themselves as well to a leisurely drive to experience local cuisine as Italy. Foodies will find a reason to stop and sample local delicacies around every sun-dappled bend in the road when driving through the countryside. Here are two suggested routes that you could potentially take to experience the best that the north and south of Italy have to offer. Be sure to bring a roadmap and take a look at what local food festivals are taking place during your visit.
One potential route to take on your roadtrip would be to take advantage of flights to Rome and begin in the ancient capital. A good introduction to your foray into Italian cuisine is the Campo dei Fiori food market, located in the centre of the city, stocked with fresh produce and other delicacies.
You can then drive northward through the enchanting Tuscan countryside and up the Ligurian coast, before spending some quality time in the famous wine-producing region of Piedmont, also known for its exquisite white truffles. Be sure to take the time to tour a olive oil press in Tuscany, and stop in a seaside taverna in Liguria. Ligurian cuisine is noted for its rich layering of flavours, notable in dishes such as the cappon magro, a laborious seafood salad built on up to seven layers of fish and vegetables.
From there, you can work your way through Lombardy and into Venice, before finishing your trip sampling the rustic cuisine of Emilia Romagna. Lombardy is home to such famous cheese making traditions as mascarpone, gorgonzola, and taleggio, making it a must-visit destination for cheese fanatics
An alternative option is to fly into the Veneto with flights to Venice or back into Rome, and then drive down the Amalfi Coast in the Campania region of Italy. Finally, you can take the ferry to Sicily, to round out this southern loop before heading back up the coast to Rome.
The Amalfi Coast, with Naples at its centre, is one of the premier destinations for gourmands in Italy, perhaps due to the natural abundance of excellent produce. The land is filled with lemon and orange trees, grapes, fragrant basil plants, and robust tomatoes. It also makes for an incredibly scenic drive, boasting the Tyrrhenian Sea as a backdrop as you head down the coast through picturesque towns such as Positano and Praiano. Be sure to try pizza in its ancestral home, and sample the incomparably creamy and fresh mozzarella di bufala.
You can finish up your southern journey tasting the best that Sicily has to offer, with its Arabic influences, fresh seafood, and copious use of eggplants and peppers. Be sure to end each meal with a shot of bright, sharp limoncello, a crisp liqueur crafted from local lemons.