Italian cuisine is a complex puzzle made up of numerous regional and local cooking styles. Piece it together by eating your way through the butter-fuelled, rich food of the north to the lighter, olive oil-bathed dishes of the south.
For a classic Tuscan steak, head for the L'osteria di Giovanni, Via del Moro 22, Florence (00 39 055 284897; osteriadigiovanni.com) where the bistecca alla Fiorentina is served with cannellini beans. The patriotic Tricolore stylings of Margherita pizza, made with green basil, white mozzarella and red tomato sauce was created in 1889 at Brandi, Salita Santa Anna di Palazzo 2, Naples (00 39 081 416928; brandi.it) to commemorate a royal visit to the city by King Umberto I and Queen Margherita.
The Cesari family have been serving Bolognese specialities at Da Cesari, Via de' Carbonesi 8, Bologna (00 39 051 287710; da-cesari.it) for more than 50 years. Try classic tagliatelle bolognese, mortadella sausage and rabbit with capers and olives.
Explore traditional Umbrian cuisine in the heart of its capital city at Il Falchetto, Via Bartolo 20, Perugia (00 39 075 573 1775; ilfalchetto.it) where you can sample locally produced prosciutto di Norcia and tagliatelle alla Perugia (pasta with chicken liver and tomato sauce).
Grab a terrace table by the river Po and enjoy classic Piedmontese dishes such as cavatelli pasta with white bean sauce and shellfish at L'Idrovolante, Viale Virgilio 105, Turin (00 39 011 668 7602; ristoranteidrovolante.com). Try a bowl of authentic risotto alla Milanese at La Milanese, Via Santa Marta 11, Milan (00 39 02 8645 1991). .
For a real flavour of Rome, dine on the cobbled street outside the diminutive Osteria del Gallo, Vicolo di Montevecchio 27, Rome (00 39 06 687 3781; osteriadelgalloroma.it) and feast on homemade gnocchi with rocket and clams. Dine on ravioli stuffed with pecorino-style caciotta cheese and finish the evening sipping the strong lemon-flavoured liquor limoncello under the lemon trees at da Paolino, Via Palazzo a Mare 11, Capri (00 39 081 8376102).Reuse content