For example, Milan (north of Italy) is known for its risottos, Bologna (the central/middle of the country) is known for its tortellini and Naples (the south) is famous for its pizzas and spaghettis.
The Romans employed Greek bakers to produce breads and imported cheeses from Sicily as the Sicilians had a reputation as the best cheesemakers. The Romans reared goats for butchering, and grew artichokes and leeks.
The northern Italian regions show a mix of Germanic and Roman culture while the south reflects Arab influence, as much Mediterranean cuisine was spread by Arab trade.
In 1773, the Neapolitan Vincenzo Corrado's Il Cuoco Galante (The Courteous Cook) gave particular emphasis to vitto pitagorico (vegetarian food). "Pythagorean food consists of fresh herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds and all that is produced in the earth for our nourishment. It is so called because Pythagoras, as is well known, only used such produce. There is no doubt that this kind of food appears to be more natural to man, and the use of meat is noxious." This book was the first to give the tomato a central role with thirteen recipes.
Pasta red sauce is really very new, like late 1800's.
In the North of Italy, fish (such as cod, or baccalà), potatoes, rice, corn (maize), sausages, pork, and different types of cheeses are the most common ingredients. Traditional Central Italian cuisine uses ingredients such as tomatoes, all kinds of meat, fish, and pecorino cheese. In Tuscany, pasta (especially pappardelle) is traditionally served with meat sauce (including game meat). In Southern Italy, tomatoes (fresh or cooked into tomato sauce), peppers, olives and olive oil, garlic, artichokes, oranges, ricotta cheese, eggplants, zucchini, certain types of fish (anchovies, sardines and tuna), and capers are important components to the local cuisine.
Under Italian law, dry pasta (pasta secca) can only be made from durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina, and is more commonly used in Southern Italy compared to their Northern counterparts, who traditionally prefer the fresh egg variety.
Chili peppers (peperoncini) are typical of Abruzzo, where they are called diavoletti ("little devils") for their spicy heat. Best-known is the extra virgin olive oil produced in the local farms on the hills of the region, marked by the quality level DOP and considered one of the best in the country.
Calabria is known for a Neapolitan-based structure with fresh tomato sauce and a cheese base, but is unique because of its spicy flavor. Some of the ingredients included in a Calabrese pizza are thinly sliced hot soppressata, hot capicola, hot peppers, and fresh mozzarella. and also Melon and watermelon are traditionally served in a chilled fruit salad or wrapped in ham.
Campania is known for Spaghetti alla puttanesca.
Bologna and Modena are known for Tortellini, Lasagna, Tagliatelle. Balsamic Vinegar is only made in Modena. Parmegiano Reggiano is only produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena, and Bologna.
Parma is known for prosciutto.
Pasta dishes based on the use of guanciale (unsmoked bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks) are often found in Lazio, such as pasta alla carbonara and pasta all'amatriciana. Another pasta dish of the region is arrabbiata, with spicy tomato sauce. Iconic of Lazio is cheese made from ewes' milk (Pecorino Romano).
Pig and fish are by far the most common meat all over Italy. That's basically all you see. Some chicken.
Nutella is from the Piedmont region of Italy.
Sicily: arancini, pasta alla Norma (fried eggplant), and cannoli.
Tuscany: Ministrone soup is from there, it's a peasant's dish though.
Fontina is from the north, Oasta Valley.
Venice is known for risotto. Northern italy and venice is also known for polenta. Basically anything that's not pasta.
Venice is known for pasta e fagioli, also called pasta fasul (pasta and beans soup). Tirimasu is also from here.
Antipasto (before the meal)
Primo (usually pasta or something like that)
Secondo (main dish, usually fish or meat).
Contorno (side dish, like a salad)
Agruturismo (a farm that serves guests, only from stuff they grow)
Osteria (no written menu, just local food)
Pizzeria (serves pizza)
Ristorante (upscale, printed menu)
Trattoria (lower scale, informal atmosphere)
Expresso is from Italy. A common misconception is that espresso has more caffeine than other coffee; in fact the opposite is true. The longer roasting period extracts more caffeine.
Italy produces the largest amount of wine in the world and is both the largest exporter and consumer of wine.
Peroni is popular italian beer.
The idea of including a romantic note with candy may have begun with Italian dragées, no later than the early 19th century
On Christmas Eve a symbolic fast is observed with the cena di magro ("light dinner"), a meatless meal. Typical cakes of the Christmas season are panettone and pandoro.
Much of Italian-American cuisine is based on that found in Campania and Sicily, heavily Americanized to reflect ingredients and conditions found in the United States. Most pizza eaten around the world derives ultimately from the Neapolitan style, if somewhat thicker and usually with more toppings in terms of quantity.