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Sometimes I don't want to go eat at restaurants. So, What are the typical foods that are available on streets in Italy?

  • 4
    I don't think Italy is big on street foods. On the other hand there are certainly pizzarias where you can sit at a bench and get your food served quickly. Oh wait..I forgot gelato. – DJClayworth Dec 15 '15 at 14:15
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    In season, you can buy stuffed olives from a market stand in Urbino. They are gourmet class and there's nothing in the world quite like it. But on balance, nearly every town/village in Italy has an open air market where you can purchase fruit and veg. So I'm close voting as too broad. – Gayot Fow Dec 15 '15 at 14:43
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    In three weeks in Italy, I don't recall seeing anything I would call "street food." But neither I nor my sister nor my brother-in-law got ill from any of the numerous things we bought by just walking into a shop and buying something sitting on display. Also, the pizza was better than any I ever had elsewhere, and did not taste like bread. I've never had pizza anywhere that tasted like hot dogs! – WGroleau Dec 16 '15 at 17:05
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    ice-cream is not really "street food" in Italy. – Fattie Dec 17 '15 at 3:07
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    @Fattie: Why do you think so? As far as I've seen, ice cream is almost exclusively sold in cones in Italy, for taking away. – O. R. Mapper May 19 '17 at 20:08
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Main Courses

Pizza al Trancio

The single best street food that you can have in Italy is pizza al trancio i.e. a slice of pizza on the go. It doesn't get more typical and local than this. You find this in both bakeries and dedicated pizzeria al trancio. Some cities cut slices out of round pizzas, others out of rectangular ones. In both cases, you walk in the shop, pay a couple Euros, and leave with a steaming slice of pizza.

pizza al trancio

Piadina

Second in our list is piadina which is a warm flatbread sandwhich-type concoction originating from the Romagna region. Fillings vary, although you'll typically get ham and cheese versions. Why get a basic sandwhich when you can get a true Italian piadina?

Piadina

Focaccia

Third is focaccia, which is a simple bread-like product made with pizza dough and some other magic, depending on region and city. You can have them plain, with herbs, olives, tomatoes, or even filled with ham, cheese or whatever you find. Like in the case of pizza, both bakeries and dedicated shops sell them.

Focaccia

Pizzette

Where you find focaccia, you're likely to find pizzette (literally: small pizzas) too. Get a bunch of these and fight your hunger.

Pizzette

Arancini, Supplì, Crocchette, Olive all'Ascolana

In pizzerie, and some bakeries, you'll find a variety of fried products such as arancini, supplì, crocchette, and olive all'ascolana (stuffed olives) (all pictured below in the order they appear). These first are a rice-based dish originating from Sicily, whereas the last are typical to Rome and other southern cities. Crocchette are mash-potato-based and are found mostly anywhere.

Arancini Supplì Crocchette olive ascolana

Pizza Bianca

Typical in Rome is pizza bianca, which is something between bread, pizza and focaccia (see the image below). Most bakeries will have some. The best thing you can do is to walk into a place that sells both bread and sliced-meats and ask them to fill it up for you. Such a place is called a negozio di alimentari or drogheria in Italy. There you go, this is my secret to eating cheap when touring Rome: get pizza bianca and fill it up.

Pizza bianca

Porchetta

Also typical from Rome, although originating from Ariccia, is porchetta, a spit-roasted pig. Eat a porchetta sandwich and you'll never forget it.

porchetta

Fried Fish

Fried-fish shops (friggitorie) are a somewhat recent trend, but their availability is increasing around the country. You'll typically get a takeaway cone of oil-proof paper filled with fried fish for a couple euros. Beware that those calamari are scolding hot!

Pesce fritto al cono

Panzerotti

Panzerotti are another bakery product, which look very much like a small calzone, only fried. Although originating from Puglia, these can be found in many other regions in Italy. Indeed, Luini in Milan became famous with these.

Panzerotto


Desserts

Gelato

Pizza and gelato? It's as if I were compiling the most possibly stereotypical representation of Italy. Turns out though that these stereotypes are awesome! As you roam around Italian cities, you'll find them scattered with gelaterie i.e. ice-cream shops. No, none of that pre-made industrially-processed Algida garbage. In Italy you'll find real hand-made ice cream in a million different flavours, shapes and decorations. Don't forget to ask for whipped cream on top.

Gelato

Patisseries

Every city has their own patisseries, most of which you can eat while walking. Look for a pasticceria i.e. a patisserie shop and ask for the typical desert. In Napoli that would be a sfogliatella, in Sicily maybe a small cassata or a cannolo, in Rome why not try Pompi's famous tiramisù (patisserie images are shown below in the order they appear)?

sfogliatella cassata pompi tiramisù

Other patisseries like cornetti (italian version of croissants) and bombe fritte can be found all around the country (patisserie images are shown below in the order they appear).

cornetti bombe fritte

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    Please do not use code formatting (backticks) for emphasis. If you feel it is necessary (personally, I think this answer would be fine without), using bold, with asterisks, is far more appropriate. In addition to being a quite-jarring break with the typical style of the text, the underlying web markup indicates that text is “code,” which can be and is handled in special ways by, for example, screen readers for the blind. Some of these even read the code out letter-by-letter! So please only use code formatting (backticks, four-space indentation of a paragraph) for actual computer code. – KRyan Dec 15 '15 at 20:57
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    I have just eaten. I read this and now I am hungry again. – abligh Dec 16 '15 at 0:14
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    This is amazing!! actually I never knew there are these kinds of foods. So it's gonna be a food travel not travel. Pizza al Trancio will be the first on my list Thanks @JoErNanO – Onie Maniego Dec 16 '15 at 2:02
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    Another thing I'd suggest to mention is that you can have gelato-stuffed brioches in most ice cream shops. While technically a dessert, there's usually enough of it to make a full meal even for the hungry. – Federico Poloni Dec 16 '15 at 8:31
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    I put on a kilo just reading that – RedSonja Dec 16 '15 at 8:46
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The accepted answer lists the popular foods available in almost all Italy but I think you can usually find some local (and sometimes strange) street food.

In Florence, for example, it's very popular lampredotto, in Tuscany it's not rare to find roventini (a sort of fried blood served with parmesan or chocolate).

Abruzzo has arrosticini .

In Sicilia is famous meuza (spleen).

These are some examples, if you visit Italy I suggest you to always give a try to local street food.

-6

Just for the record, I'm going to go ahead and boldly say,

Italy has no street food.

the concept is just completely antithetical to the epistemology of food and culture in Italy.

It would be sort of like saying that Mathematicians use slang in equations or Americans don't like drive-through banks.

Italy has food that is fast, but it has no "fast food".

Italy has food you can eat on the street, but it has no "street food".

It has coffee, but no Starbucks.

  • 3
    Italy has both street food and, sadly, soon, Starbucks. – jbg Dec 26 '15 at 19:31
  • hi Jasper - surely not :) – Fattie Dec 26 '15 at 19:31
  • I edited my comment — I misremembered an article I read: Starbucks is coming early next year :( – jbg Dec 26 '15 at 19:32
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    Perhaps it’s a difference in meaning of “street food” to different people. I’m an NZer living in Italy, and have found plenty of what I consider “street food” here — while out for a walk, I bought some food from a vendor on the street, or at a takeaway-type indoor vendor, and carried on with my walk while eating it. – jbg Dec 26 '15 at 19:38
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    In particular I pretty much lived on pizza al trancio for a couple of weeks. – jbg Dec 26 '15 at 19:40

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