Italian street food

We’re all familiar with Italy’s classic recipes, but few are aware that traditional dishes often originated from the ingenuity of street vendors. Every Italian region you’ll visit has its own variety, in this post we look at most popular ones in Tuscany and Umbria, as well as the most popular across Italy.

Italian specialties

  • Gelato

This needs no introduction. Although this delicacy is widely available abroad as well, nothing compares to the authentic version sold at gelaterie artigianali.

  • Paninis

Was there ever a greater invention? With fresh and local ingredients, such as prosciutto, it’s the perfect lunchtime snack.

  • Pizza al taglio

A list of Italian street food wouldn’t be complete without the most famous one: pizza! Known everywhere and reinvented in a thousand ways, in Italy it is also sold in slices (pizza al taglio).

  • Granita

This semi-frozen dessert is the Italian equivalent of ice shavings, topped with various flavorings. Originally from Sicily, it is available all over Italy in somewhat different forms.

  • Fritto

Fried vegetables and fried fish are also quite common in seaside towns. They’re dipped in an Italian version of tempura and served in carta gialla cones.

  • Caldarroste

Only available around October, November and December, roasted chestnuts can be found in all Italians towns.

  • Focaccia

A tastier version of bread, focaccia is available in all its varieties all-year round at bakeries.

  • Panino con la porchetta

If there’s one Italian ingredient that may be able to oust bacon is porchetta, a fatty pork roast. In Italy, porchetta trucks are fixtures at every festival, fair or sagra and sandwiches are simply bread and porchetta, no addition necessary.  

Italian ice cream

Regional specialities from Tuscany

Below a list of Tuscany’s most famous street food, click here for a list of where to find them.

  • Panino col lampredotto

Probably the most typical Florentine dish, this sandwich is made with cow stomach. Doesn’t sound that great? Wait until you try it! This delicacy is available at kiosks all around Florence as well as Florence’s Mercato Centrale.

  • Cecina

Only found in seaside towns like Livorno, this chickpea flatbread is simple yet delicious. The perfect sandwich pairing is with marinated eggplants. It is also known as ‘torta di ceci’ or ‘torta’ for short at pizzerias and in the Italian region of Liguria as ‘farinata’.

  • Covaccino

A thin version of focaccia, baked in a wood oven, brushed with oil and salt.

  • Brigidini

Sweet, thin and anise-infused wafers, usually sold at festivals and sagre.

Regional specialities from Umbria

Below a list of Umbria’s most famous street food, click here for a list of where to find them.

  • Torta al testo

A griddle bread, which gets its name from the circular pan on which it is made,  the ‘testo’, originally made of stone and placed in the embers.

  • Baccalà fritto

Fried cod, served in paper cones.