Italian Street Food: 25 Humble Dishes to Try On Your Next Trip

Italy is one of the world’s mesmerizing countries, thanks to its rich history, unique culture, and delicious cuisine. Exploring the Italian cities is a fascinating experience on its own. However, it is even better when you enrich your journey with the authentic flavors of this country. On your trip around the Italian cities, we urge you to be open to trying the appetizing Italian street food. There is so much more to this country than just its exceptionally delicious pizzas and pasta.

Trying Italy’s fine dines and restaurants are exciting, but nothing beats delving deeper into its culture and getting to have a bite of the multiple flavors of the Italian street food. These simple dishes are made with passion, avidity, and cosmic relishes. There is a whole different world beyond the gourmet cuisines and connoisseur plates. 

Italian street food is a great way to try on brand new culinary experiences. Not only that, but it is also a great way to have a deeper insight into the country’s culture and history. You don’t have to be a foodie to go for this interesting experience, you just need to keep an open mind and show eagerness to try something different from what you have always known. 

1. Cannolis

When it comes to Italian street food, cannolis are actually a classic delight. It is a sweet snack that you can find around different corners in Italy. Having originated in Sicily, it still takes the Italian food scene by storm. Yet, the best ones are found in Sicily; however, make sure you always grab them fresh and be ready to get messy. 

Cannoli is a tube-shaped pastry dough that gets fried until its takes on that golden shade. Once it is ready, different fillings start getting stuffed into the open-mouthed cone. The traditional stuffings include sweetened ricotta paired with some delicious chocolate chips. A piece of cherry or peeled orange tops the sweet snack for an extra flavor. 

2. Mozzarella en Carrozza 

Italian street food seems to have funny names in most cases, and, this time, we’re shedding the spotlight on the salty delicacy that is mozzarella en carrozza. In Italian, this means “mozzarella in a carriage.” It is said that the end result of the strands of melted mozzarella linking between the bread pieces resembles the linkage of a horse and a carriage.

Anyway, this salty delight is an easy dish to make and is found all over Italy. It is made up of mozzarella spread between two pieces of bread. This yummy mixture gets a quick dip into an egg before it’s thrown in oil to fry. 

3. Calzone

Calzone is a native recipe to Naples, where it is widely known to be where pizza first originated. In fact, calzone pretty much resembles pizza, except that they are folded in half, making the ingredients rather inside the dough than over it. It is a quite popular Italian street food, given its simplicity in being made and easiness of eat on-the-go. 

Calzone is a dough pastry that gets folded into a crescent-like shape. The ingredients used as the fillings are usually cheese, meats, vegetables, and sauce; pretty much like a regular pizza. Once the dough is ready with its fillings, it is either baked or fried. Marinara sauce usually comes on the side for you to dip your golden dough in and satisfy your taste buds.

4. Arancini

Rice balls are nearly everyone’s favorite, but adding an Italian touch to them turns them into the signature snack that is the arancini. Arancini is a famous Italian street food that is deemed a staple in Sicilian cuisine, being a deliciously satisfying finger food. It is also quite high in carbs, so it works as a nice energy booster to help you stay frisky throughout your trip.

So, arancini are actually rice balls that get drenched in bread crumbs to get a golden finish when deep-fried. It is also filled with mozzarella and ragu, and sometimes other ingredients are tagged along, including peas, and ham.

5. La Focaccia

Apparently, Italy always takes its brilliant idea which was the pizza, and plays with it to produce a brand new food that is equally delicious. One of the most famous Italian street foods is la focaccia, which is mainly a flatbread that bears a great resemblance to Italian pizza but with a twist. 

Although it is similar to a flatbread, it actually uses more yeast, resulting in a fluffier appearance in comparison to a traditional pizza. You can find it abundantly on the Italian streets, served with either sweet or savory ingredients. Yet, it is commonly known as a savory snack, being stuffed with vegetables, olives, and herbs.

6. Farinata

Flatbread seems to be a delightful staple in Italian cuisine. It is used in so many different ways to create an incomparably delicious recipe that trends everywhere and gains popularity among people from all walks of life. This is the exact description of the timeline of farinata, which also goes by several names, including cecina and socca. 

Farinata is a flatbread made of chickpea flour, not an ingredient that you find in many recipes of Italian street food. It is mainly a thin pancake, resembling the French crepe, where a handful of ingredients are used to season the dough. These ingredients include pepper, sea salt, and rosemary, all paired together to create an irresistibly appetizing flavor. The flatbread is then baked and served in triangular slices. 

7. Panzerotto

Panzerotto is another mouthwatering savory snack that most commonly gets mistaken for a calzone. Well, both are among the popular Italian street foods and use the very same dough for preparation. To make things even more confusing, they are both shaped into a folded turnover that resembles the shape of a half-moon. So, what is actually the difference between both of them?

Well, panzerotto’s main fillings include tomato sauce and mozzarella while calzone uses a handful of other ingredients. Besides, the pastry of the panzerotto is often fried rather than baked in an oven. Yet, you can still have it baked if you prefer it that way. No matter what way you prefer to have it, it is another Italian street food that you shouldn’t miss out on trying.

8. Sfogliatella

While France may have the most famous culture of baking irresistibly delicious pastries, Italy still has its fair share of nice baked goods. Sfogliatella comes on top of the list of satisfying pastry that is deemed among the appetizing Italian street food. Well, a bakery gives street food a classy edge but it’s still a dessert embedded in the Italian culture and one that is affordable and found everywhere.

Sfogliatella is a fluffy pastry dough that has the shape of a shell. It has a very delicate thin layer that makes it easily melt in the mouth, making your taste buds throw a celebration. The fillings of this sweet delicacy include ricotta along with a rich vanilla flavor and a nice citric addition.

9. Tramezzino 

Club sandwich is a nice go-to meal when you’re on the move and want to grab something for your growling tummy. But, adding an Italian twist to the traditional club sandwich goes a long way. And, in this case, it is called a tramezzino. Tramezzino is popular Italian street food for being a quick and light meal yet very satisfyingly delicious. 

It takes three layers of soft white bread to make this nice sandwich, with having the crust removed from each slice and having them cut into a triangular shape. The most popular fillings that are used in Italy are always tuna, olives, lettuce, and prosciutto. However, some people choose to add more ingredients according to their preferences and it still tastes as good.

10. Porchetta

Porchetta is the most popular Italian street food you will come across in central Italy, where it originated; however, it still can be found everywhere else around the country. This savory meal is an authentic dish from Italian cuisine that will give you a fascinating culinary experience that you will never forget. 

So, porchetta is mainly a boneless pork roast that is quite moist and juicy. The carcass usually gets stuffed with several ingredients that complement the flavors, including garlic, fennel, rosemary, and some region like adding more stuff. The flavorsome combination is then put into a ciabatta roll with a nice layer of mayonnaise added along with some caramelized onion and arugula. Since it’s street food and requires to be easily eaten, the ciabatta roll is usually cut into two halves.

11. Polpettine di Carne

If you are looking for a great snack that can also keep your hunger in check for a few hours, polpettine di carne is here to have your back. It is another Italian street food that most people are quite familiar with, for its mainly mini meatballs.

Mini meatballs are usually served as an appetizer in many restaurants, so it can be really surprising to many upon knowing it’s actually an Italian street food. Those meatballs are usually a mix of both ground beef and ground pork. They are served with a delicious marinara sauce on the side to dip the mini meatballs into to accentuate the taste.

12. Gnocco Fritto (Crescentina) 

Dough plays a consequential role in the food scene of Italy, creating all kinds of savory and sweet pastries. Well, since the on-the-move food needs to be easy to eat at any time and anywhere, you will find many Italian street foods made of fluffy pastries. The gnocco fritto is no exception, and you can try on these golden balls pretty much anywhere.

Gnocco fritto is actually diamond-shaped dough that gets fried until they reach this delicious golden crisp. These nice bread-like pieces are served hot, accompanied by different types of cheeses, salami, and ham slices. 

13. Olive Ascolane

Deep-fried treats are a real thing when it comes to Italian street food. Olive ascolane has been dominating the scene for so long and it gained wide popularity among tourists as much as the locals.

Olive ascolane is mainly made up of olive and meat. A local green olive is stuffed with some ground meat, encircled by bread, and then deep-fried. Those mini golden balls are your go-to when you need to silence your hunger pangs until the next meal. 

14. Scaccia

Are you familiar with the Italian Stromboli? If your answer was yes, then you will probably get a hint about what the Scaccia is. It is another Italian street food made of a thin dough that’s made into delicate layers and get folded on itself a few times before you can secure the fillings and enjoy the flavorful taste.

The fillings include a sweet dash of tomato sauce and a generous amount of cheese that melts and stretches when heated along with some onion slices thinly cut and fit into the dough. Other ingredients that can be added are ricotta cheese, broccoli, pepper, and basil. The final touch includes a sprinkling of some parmesan cheese and a flimsy brush of olive oil before it is left to bake into a crusty delicacy.

15. Piadina Romagnola

This succulent pastry is simply known as Piadina, or Piada, but the addition of “Romagnola” refers to the historical region of Romagna in which it originated during the Middle Ages. Just like any other Italian street food, piadina is a thin flatbread made of white flour, stuffed with palatable fillings, and served hot. It resembles the tortilla big time, yet it has a crispier texture that makes it lighter.

The ingredients used to stuff this delicious flatbread can be pretty much anything. However, the most commonly used are sliced tomatoes, cabbage, mozzarella, lettuce, arugula, mayonnaise, salami, tuna, ham, and different kinds of cheeses.

16. Panelle

One of the tastiest Italian street food that comes straight from Sicily is panelle. The fritters are made of chickpea flour mixed with different salts, pepper, olive oil, and parsley. It is served around different corners in the Italian cities. Most importantly, it is easy to grab and eat pretty much anywhere.

It is served as a dessert with sweet fillings, including rich chocolate and sweet ricotta cheese. The dough is then baked or fried then a nice dash of sugar is dusted over the dough for additional sweetness. 

17. Arrosticini

Roasted lamb rowed on a skewer is one of the popular Italian street food that you can see in all of Italy. The tradition started off in Abruzzo, winning many people over for its simple deliciousness and mouthwatering appearance.

The arrosticini is basically chunks of meat, coming from either lamb or sheep, impaled into a skewer and cooked over an open fire until it is done and ready to be bitten. It pretty much resembles that Middle Eastern kebabs and is traditionally enjoyed everywhere in central Italy. 

18. Panino con la Milza (Pani câ Meusa)

A type of typical Italian street food that comes straight from Palermo is the succulent panino con la milza. It is rather known as Pani ca Mesua, but people simply refer to it as the spleen sandwich. This little treat originated in Palermo but is quite popular all around Italy. If you want to take a bite from an authentic dish straight from Italian cuisine, you shouldn’t miss this simple delicacy. 

So, just as simple as the name suggests, this street food comprises several parts of the cow, including the spleen, trachea, and lung. They are all boiled then put into pig lard to fry and once they reach their cooking point, a bun is there to embrace the ingredients. Some cheeses are sprinkled over the legendary sandwich to add a flavorsome taste.

19. Supplì

Grabbing a snack while exploring the Italian heritage is an extravagant experience. Not only because Italy has a rich history and heritage, but also because the treats you snack on are ones out of the world. Supplì is to be found around every corner in Italy although it actually comes from Roman cuisine. Somehow, it managed to become among the most popular Italian street food. 

Supplì bears a great resemblance to the potato croquette when it comes to appearance; however, it is a totally different thing. This mouthwatering snack is a rice ball filled with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and some meat varieties like minced beef or chicken. The whole ingredients are dipped into eggs and bread crumbs to hold themselves together before they are deep-fried into a nice golden crisp. 

20. Sfincione (Sicilian Pizza)

Sfincione is mainly pizza, but it is not really your regular pizza. It has a special style that came from its home in Sicily. Besides, it is served in small squared slices rather than the ordinary triangular pizza slices. Sfincione is one of the irresistible Italian street food that you wouldn’t want to miss. 

Diving into the details, sfincione’s base is made of a simple flour base and a generous lashing of tomato sauce. However, its texture is a bit spongier than a regular pizza. The toppings include a lavish amount of mozzarella along with pecorino cheese, onions, oregano, anchovies, and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.

21. Zeppole

If you are to satisfy your sweet tooth, you should do it the Italian way. Zeppole is a flavorsome dessert that is deemed among the most enjoyed Italian street food. It is easy to enjoy on the move, for it is a small-sized ball of dough, with several indulgences that go on top and others that fill the inside of the dough.

Zeppole is a sweet pastry where the dough is shaped into a ball and deep-fried. The fillings of this dessert include custard, pastry cream, and a blend of honey and butter. Sugar sprinkles are sprayed over the dough, making it powdery and increasing the sweetness of the treat.  

22. Sardenaira

Italy is always all about pizza. Interestingly, there are several dishes in Italy that are mainly pizza but in a different style. Sardenaira is one of those dishes, it is one of the most eaten Italian street food that resembles a pizza big time but has its own style. In fact, people believe sardenaira is more similar to focaccia than a pizza.

Sardenaira is a cheese-less pizza. And, while this may sound bizarre and tasteless, people enjoy this little treat a lot. The base dough is the same as pizza, and it goes with toppings like salted anchovies, garlic cloves, capers, and olives. 

23. Lampredotto

Another small bun with delicious stuffings that make it on the palatable list of the must-try Italian street food, is the Lampredotto. It is also commonly known as a tripe sandwich since the used fillings are made from the fourth stomach of a cow, known as the abomasum. There are many ways to cook tripe and garnish it before it’s ready for you to devour.

Lampredotto is mainly several layers of tripe. It alternates between dark meat, which is less in fat and has an obvious flavor, and pale meat, which is fattier and has a rather blunt taste. The mixture between those layers creates a savory recipe. The meats are then put into a soft bun and salsa verde is nicely poured over the meat to spice up the flavor.

24. Brioche con Gelato

Did you know that Italians have ice cream for breakfast? Well, who wouldn’t like to have a couple of refreshing scoops the first things in the morning during the hot days of summer! In Sicily, when the heat is scorching, gelato starts making an appearance, urging people to start off their days with a bracing meal. While you can freely go for the regular gelato, you shouldn’t miss on having it inside a brioche.

Brioche con gelato is actually an ice cream sandwich. It’s Italian street food that you can find people indulging in while walking around their lively streets. This nice treat is made up of a couple of fluffy scoops of your favorite ice cream and placed inside a soft bun. It is a great option if you enjoy biting through your ice cream while also feeling full for a while. 

25. Cannoncini

Well, Italian street food is not only about savory goodness, but it also embraces more than a few luscious desserts that are commonly served on the streets yet have premium quality and good taste. Cannoncini is one of the desserts that fall in that category. 

If you have a thing for pistachios, you should make a room for this creamy wholesomeness. Cannoncini is made of puff pastry with a nice crispy texture. The pastry is filled with an exquisite mixture of a creamy sauce with pistachios grounded and blended into the cream. It is a sweet delicacy that you don’t want to miss.

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