Italy and Its Regional Meats

regional meats and cows in italy

Italy is home to great diversity in terms of regional foods, with influences travelling over the Swiss border to northern Italy and Mediterranean flavors and ideas working their way into the south and the island of Sicily. Top of the list in terms of quality and variety are Italy`s fresh and cured meats, from all corners of the country.

Italy is comprised of twenty regions in total, many of which are well known for their distinctive produce, wines and cuisine. Italian salamis are much more varied than many other nations because of the unique way in which they are treated at a local level.

Sardinia Meats

Specialties in Sardinia for example, will differ greatly to those you might find on the mainland. Many cooked meats come from the pig, but wild boars from the mountains will have a different taste to lowland animals.

Farming methods include giving animals specific types of feed, such as chestnuts, to produce certain flavors also helping to create these regional variants. Even the climate, rainfall and quality of air where the animals are living can enhance the end result.

Northern Regions of Italy

The northern areas around the Italian Lakes and just under the border with Switzerland are well stocked with delicatessen favorites such as regional cheeses and cured meats such as the air-dried beef Bresaola.

Emilia Romagna known for Beef

Emilia Romagna is good cattle-grazing country and as a result, a lot of beef and veal are produced here, as well as pork from local pig breeds. If you’re a fan of tripe, you can be sure to find it here. You can check out my article about what is tripe for more details. The famous Prosciutto di Parma comes from this area.

Veneto Region

The Veneto region at the rast coast produces tempting seafoods such as mussels and clams as well as freshwater fish from the many lakes and rivers.

Central Regions of Italy Focus on Tomato Based Dishes

The central regions often work with a lot more tomato-based dishes and platters of grilled and roasted meats replace stews as the staple dinner fare.


In the heart of Italy, Tuscany is an area which serves up fine ingredients in simple preparations; Chianina beef is considered of such good quality that it needs no seasoning other than a little salt. The region is also known for rich game and meat sauces with pasta.

Southern Regions


Calabria in the south of the country is home to a lot of traditional lamb based dishes owing to the huge sheep populations.

Some of the most popular Italian exports were born in the Neapolitan region such as red sauces full of different pasta seasoning for spaghetti like puttanesca and genovese as well as the classic pizza.


Just to the north of Calabria, the highland communities of the Basilicata are praised for their specialty meats such as the Luganega, a sausage without links, that dates back to Ancient Roman times.

In a country this varied, you can take your pick from regions and taste an entirely different culinary experience in each. The wealth of produce and cuisine in this characterful country can be inspiring for both holiday ideas and recipes to make at home.

So whether you are dining solo on antipasti or recreating a Neapolitan feast for 10, make sure you have the tools to do so with and use quality fresh ingredients where possible.

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