Posted by learnitalianfortravel  |  March 16, 2018

There are 20 different regions in Italy, incuding 'Sardegna' and 'Sicilia', which are both islands as well as their own region.  Italy was unified as a country rather late-in 1861, and so you will find that Italians have a strong allegiance and identification to their specific region. There are of course many cultural norms that unify Italy as a whole, like not drinking a cappuccino or caffè latte after a meal, or covering your throat with a scarf in the winter so as not to catch cold air, and consequently, to catch a cold...However, each region is different in various ways, like having it's own unique dialect.  Standard Italian is said to come from the Tuscan region, and so every other region that you will visit will deviate in various ways from this standard form of the language.  Sometimes the dialect differences can be so pronounced that when you hear Italians speaking in their respective regional dialect, it can sound like a completely different language!  When I lived in Padova for a year as a student in 1996, and went down to 'Salerno' near 'Napoli' with my boyfriend to visit his family, who all spoke in dialect, I didn't understand a thing..  I did however, eat the most delicious pizza that I had that entire year!  'Pizza' is an Italian food staple, and you will find 'pizzerie', or pizza restaurants in every Italian city from the north to the south.  Because 'pizza' (as we know it) was invented in Napoli (in the late 18th century), the 'Napoletani' are expert pizza makers and their 'pizze' are extra delectable.  'Pasta' is another uniform food item that you will eat  throughout the entire country of Italy, although the type of pasta, and how it is prepared, will differ from region to region.  For example, you will see 'risotto' more commonly in the north as it is from the region of 'Lombardia'.  The last time we were in Italy, we stayed in Lucca and went to this delicious 'trattoria' and ate this savory 'antipasto' pictured here.  This type of 'antipasto' is common throughout Italy, although the restaurant owners told us that some of the 'salumi' or meats were specific to the 'Toscana' region.  Included with the meats and cheese, which we ate with bread and a bell pepper 'salsa', were thin slices of lard, which were also absolutely delicious atop the fresh bread. My mouth is watering with the memory!