This is where you’ll find the best food in Italy

The Michelin Guide for Italy 2016 has been released, awarding 334 Italian eateries a coveted star rating. And the best city to eat in Italy might surprise you...

This is where you'll find the best food in Italy
Photo: Katherine Lim/Flickr

1. Naples

Photo: Alexandra Svatikova/Flickr

It's only the fourth largest urban economy in Italy, after Milan Rome and Turin. But as the birthplace of pizza, it perhaps shouldn't be too much of a surprise that to learn that Naples was the region awarded most Michelin stars in the 2016 Italy Michelin Guide. Don Geppi in Sant'Agnello was a newcomer to the list, getting its first star, while in Naples' city centre itself, Il Comandante and Palazzo Petrucci were each recognized as quality restaurants with a star.

2. Rome

Photo: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr

The eternal city just missed out on the top spot but can be proud of its 19 starred restaurants, including one three-star establishment, La Pergola, and two with two stars, Oliver Glowig and Il Pagliaccio.

3. Bolzano

Photo: Aleksandr Zykov/Flickr

There’s never been a better time to visit Bolzano. On Monday we reported that it had been named the Italian city with the best quality of life, and their food is also held in high regard. Nineteen restaurants in the region were awarded Michelin stars, including four two-star restaurants.

4. Milan

Photo: Jose Mª Izquierdo Galiot/Flickr

Milan had a tasty 15 restaurants included in the rankings, rising up the list thanks to three new entries into the guide; Armani, Seta and Tokuyoshi.

5. Cuneo, Piedmont

Photo: Sara/Flickr

This region in the mountainous north west of the country has one three-star restaurant, Piazza Duomo in the town of Alba, one two-star establishment, and ten further one-star restaurants, one of which was a new entry in the guide this year.

6. Salerno, Campania

Photo: Sabrina Campagna/Flickr

Salerno is home to twelve restaurants which made the list, and two for the first time ever: Re Mauri and Osteria Arbustico

7. Brescia

Photo: Marco Assini/AFP

Close to Milan, Brescia is another foodie haven in the north. 11 of its eateries are Michelin-starred, with two of them boasting two stars – Miramonti l'Altro and Villa Feltrinelli.

8. Venice

Photo: Heiner Adams/Flickr

As if you needed another reason to add beautiful Venice to your bucket list, it turns out it serves good food. The region has one two-star restaurant, Antica Osteria Cera, and nine one-star.

9. Turin

Photo: Maëlick/Flickr

Nine restaurants in the region of Turin were acknowledged in the prestigious guide, though all of these were outside the city of Turin itself, including two in skiing village Madonna di Campiglio; Dolomieu and Il Gallo Cedrone.


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La Bella Vita: Free Italian museum tickets, Sanremo, and real spaghetti carbonara

From seeing Italy's best sights for free to avoiding crimes against Italian food, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: Free Italian museum tickets, Sanremo, and real spaghetti carbonara

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

The cold weather and grey skies mean February is the month when I’m most tempted to stay at home and keep warm, preferably with an Italian hot chocolate. But it’s a shame to stay in when there’s so much to do and see in Italy, even at this time of year.

Carnival season officially kicks off this weekend, bringing much-needed colour and joy to towns and cities across Italy at what would otherwise be a pretty dull time of year. The most famous Carnival of all is of course in Venice, and this year’s edition promises a return to its former grand scale after three years of limited celebrations.

If you’re thinking of attending this year, here’s our quick guide to the events and what to expect:

Venice Carnival: What to expect if you’re attending in 2023

A masked reveller wearing a traditional carnival costume In St Mark's Square, Venice

The 2023 Venice Carnival will start with a floating parade down the Grand Canal on February 4th. Photo by Andrea PATTARO / AFP

Another reason to get out and about this weekend is Domenica al Museo or ‘free museum Sundays’, when museums and other sites open their doors ticket-free on the first Sunday of every month.

As admission to major historical monuments and museums in Italy often costs upwards of €15 per person, there are big savings to be made and the free Sundays scheme is understandably popular among both tourists and residents.

Free entry applies to hundreds of state-run museums, archaeological parks and monuments, including world-famous sites like the Colosseum, Pompeii, Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, the Reggia di Caserta and Trieste’s Miramare Castle. See further details in our article:

What you need to know about Italy’s free museum Sundays

There is however at least one good reason to stay in and watch some Italian TV: The Sanremo Music Festival returns on Tuesday, February 7th, and it will likely be the main topic of conversation all week.

If you’re a fan of Eurovision, you’re pretty much guaranteed to love it. But some people don’t find the appeal of the show immediately obvious, to put it mildly.

So what is it about the festival that pulls together an entire nation, regardless of whether they fall into the ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ camp? We looked at just why this 73-year-old song contest is such an Italian institution.

Why is the Sanremo music festival so important to Italians?

In the latest international Italian food controversy, Italian media reacted with anger and dismay this week to a recipe published in the New York Times for ‘tomato carbonara’, which recommended adding tomato sugo along with the eggs, and replacing pork cheek and pecorino with bacon and parmesan – an adaptation which was described as “provocative”, “disgusting”, and a “declaration of war”.

For anyone who doesn’t want to traumatise their Italian dinner guests or risk sparking a diplomatic incident, here’s the classic recipe plus a look at the rules to follow when making a real Roman-style carbonara:

The ten unbreakable rules for making real pasta carbonara

However, you might be surprised to hear that adding cream – or tomato – to your carbonara recipe isn’t actually the worst food crime you could commit according to Italians.

From fruity pizza toppings to spaghetti bolognese, an international study revealed which of the most common international ‘adaptations’ are seen as most and least offensive.

RANKED: The 11 worst food crimes you can commit according to Italians

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Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]