The phrase ‘Italian food’ conjures up fairly predictable images in most people’s minds, but there’s a lot more to the country’s cuisine than the staples you’ll find in restaurants around the world. If you’re looking into Italy vacation rentals, take your culinary explorations past pizza and pasta and seek out a few of these rather more unusual national specialities…


Leave it to the Italians to come up with a solution to bread going mouldy in the cupboard before you get a chance to eat it! Friselle are dried rolls that can be stored for long periods of time – peasant families would traditionally have these in-house at all times. Although the end product is hard enough to crack a tooth on, when softened with olive oil and spread with just-crushed tomatoes, this is a truly tasty snack.

Maccheroni Dolci

Bisenzio Tower, Umbria - Oliver's Travels

Bisenzio Tower, Umbria – Oliver’s Travels

On most menus pasta is a savoury dish, but this ‘sweet macaroni’ is made with chocolate, honey, sugar, breadcrumbs and walnuts, creating a uniquely textured dessert. It doesn’t have to be macaroni, either, with gnocchi or noodles often substituted. Best enjoyed a day after making; this is an easy recipe you can quickly whip up in the spacious kitchens of the Bisenzio Tower.


Zabalgione dessert

Zabalgione dessert

A unique custard made with egg yolks, sugar and sweet Marsala wine, this tasty dessert is the perfect way to finish off a meal. Whipped into a delicate, light consistency and served in tall glasses, the manual labour that once went into creating this dish can fortunately now be neatly bypassed with just a simple electric mixer!

Rane Fritte

This unusual meat may be most often associated with France, but ‘rane fritte’ are just as popular across the border in Northern Italy. Literally translating as ‘fried frogs,’ the Italians enjoy their amphibians’ legs coated in beaten egg and seasoned flour, then deep-fried until crispy and delicious.

Swordfish Spiedini

Villa Mediterraneo, Italy - Oliver's Travels

Villa Mediterraneo, Italy – Oliver’s Travels

With just a few herbes de Provence, some ground pepper, olive oil, pancetta and cubes of fresh Italian swordfish steak, you can create a regional delicacy that’s as tasty as it is simple. Chefs favour swordfish for its uniquely firm flesh, which allows it to be grilled kebab-style without falling apart. Savour yours al fresco at the Villa Mediterraneo on the Tyrrhenian coast, while enjoying spectacular views across the sea.

We’ve got a whole range of luxury villas and chateaux in Italy to choose from. if you need any kind of help, please contact our concierge team – they’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction!

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