Italian cuisine is often said to be the best in the world. Italians are certainly very proud of it and it is a strong identifying symbol. Furthermore, it is a considerable tourist attraction.
This is proven by the latest Report on Italian Food and Wine Tourism, which shows that the number of Italians who made a trip with food and wine as the main reason for travelling is still rising. It was 58% in 2023, up by 37% compared to 2016. In absolute terms, this is an estimated 9.6 million people.
Despite the economic crisis, approximately 1 in 3 Italian tourists say they have a bigger budget for the purchase of food and wine tourism offers, than they did in 2022.
The search for cuisine-based experiences is now common among all Italians: 7 in 10 have selected them at least five times in their latest travels (+25% compared to 2021). This piece of data is in line with the results of the European Travel Commission study, which found that food&wine-based offers were the most popular among European travellers. This trend was also confirmed by the data from the True Italian Experience Observatory, a research centre that studies tourism-related trends, flows and knowledge of Italy around the world. The research centre uses WOSM© (World Open-Source Monitoring), one of the most advanced systems for the collection, selection, processing, media intelligence, analysis and management of data from TV, press, radio, websites and social networking sites. The latest data, which refer to June 2023, confirm that Italy ranks third among the best-known countries worldwide and highlight how the food&wine sector is one of the main elements boosting Italy’s notoriety, rising from 7.15% to 8.52% compared to the previous December 2022 analysis.
Travelling among Italian areas of excellence
Every part of Italy can delight travellers with unique flavours and culinary traditions, including some that are famous and much loved all over the world. Specifically, Italians feel the regions of Sicily, Emilia-Romagna and Campania offer the best food and wine, while the most popular cities are Naples, Bologna and Rome.
But is it really possible to forget all the other regions, each with lots of traditional foods and dishes, prepared with recipes handed down from one generation to the next? From Tuscany to Puglia, from Piedmont to Calabria, from Veneto to Liguria, from Marche to Abruzzo, up to Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige: every part of Italy can boast of excellent products to discover and valorise. There is no better way to appreciate these traditional products than to taste them where they are produced, which also provides a unique experience.
The best way to tour the country to discover Italian culinary excellence is travelling by train. With hundreds of daily connections provided by Trenitalia, every part of the country can be reached in a quick, comfortable and sustainable manner.
Specifically, among the proposed tours that can be found on the Trenitalia.com website, Viaggio del gusto (with Intercity trains) stands out: a journey leading to the discovery of Italian food&wine traditions, with descriptions of local cuisine and products and a list of the train connections in each region.