Top 21 Delicious Southern Italian Foods: The Ultimate List

Delicious Southern Italian Foods

Ciao and welcome to a new free guide about the fantastic world of Italian food. In this article, I will show you the 21 delicious Southern Italian foods that you absolutely have to try during your long trip to Italy. In particular, if you plan to visit some towns in Southern Italy, you have to insert this foods in your must-do list. You will be impressed by how tasty they are, I promise.

Well, as you know, I don’t want you to waste your time, so let’s dive into the best delicious Southern Italian foods!

Nice to meet you

Before I go on discovering the list of the best delicious Southern Italian foods, I want to introduce myself. I am Marianna and I am the Founder of The Italian Vibes, the Italian blog that helps you organize your next trip to Italy. In particular, in this Blog you can find free guides about the best Italian destinations, and the best Italian food and wines that you absolutely have to try.

I come from Southern Italy, from a little town located near Amalfi Coast in Campania. Campania is the region that hosts Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Naples, Salerno and more. As you can see, some of the most beautiful places in Italy are located in Campania! 🙂

But Campania is well-known for its tasty and delicious food too. In fact, lasagne, pizza, gnocchi alla sorrentina are only a few dishes that you can taste during your stay in Campania. In my opinion, Southern Italian foods are amazing because they come from past generations, where grandmothers dedicated the largest part of their time to prepare food for their families.

For that reason, I decided to write a blog post about the top delicious Southern Italian foods, to help you discover more about a culinary tradition that only Southern Italy has. Well, take your best glass of Italian wine and get ready to discover the 21 best delicious Southern Italian foods!

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Why Southern Italian Foods are so special

The Southern Italian food recipes are a beautiful blend of flavors, history, and traditions. This blend originated from various recipe mixes for all sorts of people. From mouthwatering seafood and tantalizing pasta recipes to heavenly sweets and irresistible bakery treats, there’s something for every food lover on a Southern Italian food tour. Imagine a world of famous dishes and discover a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables transformed into culinary masterpieces. Yes, it is Southern Italian cuisine. 🙂

 Delicious Southern Italian Food Pizza

Pizza Napoletana

I am a big fan of pizza! I love it so much that I could eat pizza everyday, I am not joking. But unfortunately, I won’t be so healthy. 🙂 But considering my love for pizza, I absolutely have to start this list with it. The most famous Southern Italian food is Pizza Napoletana. It is a thin-dough pizza that has a chewy crust. Moreover, it has a topping of tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and olive oil.

Then it is baked in a wood-fired oven, which earns it the taste it has. In particular, this pizza is so special that it is placed on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list. It is the specialty of Naples, and a trip to Southern Italy is incomplete without tasting this delicious treat of the region.

 Delicious Southern Italian Foods Norma

Pasta alla Norma

One of the most famous dishes in the South of Italy, is Pasta alla Norma. Pasta alla Norma is a combination of simple ingredients that, when mixed together, satisfy the tastes to the fullest. It comprises short-sized pasta such as elbow or penne tossed in its famous sauce.

This sauce is made of fresh tomatoes and topped with fried eggplant, ricotta salata, and sprinkles of basil leaves. Well, it tastes somewhat tangy, creamy, and herbal, leaving you craving more and more. This dish is the specialty of Sicily, a city in Southern Italy.

 Delicious Southern Italian Foods CANNOLI


Another famous and delicious Southern Italian food is its sweet delight, Cannoli. Cannoli is a tube-shaped pastry that is crispy and natural and filled with sweet ricotta cheese, which is either flavored like chocolate or has pieces of fruits and pistachios. Every bite of Cannoli gives a velvety touch along with a sensation that fully satisfies the sweet craving. It is mostly eaten after the meal to end the meal on a sweet note. Cannoli originated in Sicily, and it is a festive dessert that is made on special occasions.

Read also: The Definitive Guide to Italian Food and Wine Pairing

 Delicious Southern Italian Foods ARANCINI


Another very popular Southern Italian food dish is Arancini. Arancini are round rice balls stuffed with meat, cheese, and peas. This rice ball is then coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried. It is then served hot and crispy. It is a finger-licking snack option, which is again a gift from the city of Sicily.

 Delicious Southern Italian Foods Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

The next on our list of famous Southern Italian food is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. This is made with basic and daily used staples that give an extraordinary taste. It is boiled spaghetti pasta tossed into the cooked garlic fried in Olive oil. Finally, the spaghetti is seasoned with fresh parsley, grated cheese, black and red flakes.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods SFOGLIATELLE


Another famous dessert option is Sfogliatella. Sfogliatella is a shell-shaped multi-layered pastry that is both flaky and crispy. This pastry has a filling of semolina, ricotta, cinnamon, and candied fruits. It is a blend of sweet and sour and possesses notes of citrus. It is a top-notch gift from Naples for all dessert and bakery lovers.

Read also: The Best Italian Sparkling Wines

Delicious Southern Italian Foods FOCACCIA

Focaccia Barese

Another very famous South Italian dish is Focaccia Barese. Focaccia Barese is a flatbread whose dough is made with flour and Olive Oil. Moreover, it is then topped with pieces of cherry tomatoes and olives and sprinkled with oregano. Then it is baked to give a soft and chewy texture. It is a great snack option for anyone who wishes to enjoy a burst of Mediterranean flavors. It is a dish that originated in Apulia.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods SARDE

Pasta con le Sarde

Pasta con le Sarde is a blend of Chinese and seafood influences. It is made up of pasta that is tossed in a finger-licking sauce made of fish named Sardine and sprinkled with wild fennel, saffron, and pine nuts. It is the coastal specialty of Southern Italy and, again, a dish that originated from Sicily.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods Pastiera

Pastiera Napoletana

Pastiera Napoletana is a very special orange-colored South Italian tart. It is made of wheat and has a filling of eggs and candied fruits. Then, it is topped with ricotta cheese and orange flavor and has an essence of cinnamon. Easter celebrations are incomplete without them. This delicious and mouth-watering tart is the origin of Naples and announces spring’s arrival.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods TIELLA

Tiella Barese

Another culinary treasure of Southern Italian Food is Tiella Barese. This dish comprises several layers of rice, potatoes, and meat, often octopus or mussel meat. Then it is garnished with garlic, parsley, and saffron. Finally, it is baked together to blend all the layers into a scrumptious meal. It is an invention from the region named Apulia of South Italy, and it is a blend of local ingredients turned into an amazing dish.

Read also: The Best Italian Coffee Brands

Delicious Southern Italian Foods ORECCHIETTE

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa is another very famous Italian dish. It is a pasta dish that uses ear-shaped pasta tossed in sautéed vegetables that include turnip greens, garlic, anchovies, and garnished with chili pepper. It came from the region of Apulia in Southern Italy, and it is a great mix of fresh vegetables that produce a delicious dish.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods RISOTTO-NERO-DI-SEPPIA

Risotto al Nero di Seppia

Risotto al Nero di Seppia is another very famous dish of South Italy. This dish is famous for its jet-black color, which it gets from cuttlefish ink. It is a combination of rice and seafood. The rice is usually served with shrimp or calamari. It is an invention of Sicily and an ideal blend for seafood lovers who love rice. The seafood used is mainly from the offering of the Mediterranean Sea.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods SARTU

Sartù di Riso

Another well-known Italian dish renowned for its flavor and presentation is Sartù di Riso. It comprises layers of rice and ingredients like meat, peas, sausages, and boiled eggs. After that, it is combined with tomato sauce and baked in a dome-shaped mold. It originated from Naples and indicates that the locals eat food that is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods Caponata


Caponata is another very famous Italian dish. It is made of finely chopped vegetables that are fried in olive oil before being seasoned with vinegar and sugar to create a sweet-sour flavor combination. Caponata is a vegetable dish with eggplant, olives, tomatoes, capers, and celery. It is often eaten with bread crust or grilled meat. It is another specialty of Sicily, portraying the produce and vegetables grown in the region.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods PEPERONATA


Peperonata is a famous vegetable stew that is a culinary specialty of Calabria and Sicily. It is made up of mainly colored bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes that are cooked in Olive oil until soft. Then, it is topped with capers, olives, and herbs. Peperonata is often served as a side dish that compliments grilled meat or fish, adding a burst of flavor to the overall meal experience.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods TIMBALLO

Timballo di Anelletti

Timballo di Anelletti is a baked pasta dish that comprises pasta, ragu sauce, boiled eggs, peas, and cheese. It is baked in a ring-shaped mold, giving the dish a unique and visually appealing appearance. Hence, the dish becomes a ring-shaped baked pasta served at cherishing family gatherings, symbolizing love and togetherness. It is another culinary gem from Sicily, showcasing the region’s love for hearty and flavorful dishes that bring people together.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods ZEPPOLE


Zeppole is a very special South Italian dessert that tastes a little like a doughnut. They are small deep-fried balls made of wheat dough, resulting in a delightfully crunchy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. Zeppole has an icing of sugar, sweet custard filling, and sometimes cream. They are sometimes topped with cream or served plain. Whatever the variation, it’s a treat that is delicious in every way. Zeppole is often made on special occasions like festivals or holidays, bringing joy to celebrations across Southern Italy.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods Cassata

Cassata Siciliana

A specialty of Southern Italy’s city of Sicily is Cassata Siciliana, which is a treat for all sweet tooths. It is a multi-layered cake with sponge cake, fruit liqueurs, ricotta cheese, and candied fruits as its layers. A stunning and delectable dessert perfectly balances sweet and sour flavors by icing the cake with marzipan. When served at special events like weddings or Easter, cassata Siciliana represents the region’s illustrious culinary heritage and festive traditions.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods POLPO-ALLA-LUCIANA

Polpo alla Luciana

Polpo alla Luciana is an Italian treat for seafood lovers. It is an octopus stew, where tender octopus is tossed in a tomato sauce made of tomatoes, garlic, and chili pepper. Moreover, it is garnished with parsley, infusing it with an aromatic smell that enhances the overall taste. Polpo alla Luciana is a beloved dish from the coastal town of Santa Lucia in Campania, reflecting the region’s close connection to the bounty of fresh seafood from the Mediterranean Sea.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods PASTICCIOTTO

Pasticciotto Leccese

Pasticciotto Leccese is a pastry that is both buttery and flaky. It has a filling of custard with a hint of lemon zest, giving it a delightful zing. This scrumptious treat is mostly enjoyed as breakfast with coffee or evening tea, satisfying the sweet cravings of many in Southern Italy. Pasticciotto Leccese is a delicious specialty from the region of Apulia, showcasing the region’s love and expertise in the art of baking and pastry-making.

Delicious Southern Italian Foods LIMONCELLO


Well, after lots of food, it’s time to drink something. And what about a glass of Limocello? Yes, I know, this is not food but I think that Limoncello should have a place in your list of the best delicious Southern Italian foods. Even if it is not food. 🙂

One of the most popular liqueurs in Southern Italy is limoncello. Well, it is made with water, spirit, sugar, and freshly squeezed lemons. It is a citrus drink usually consumed after meals as a digestive drink to cleanse the palate and wash away the effect of oily foods.

It is usually found near the Amalfi Coast because this region’s lemons make this liqueur. I suggest you try artisanal limoncello, produced by artisans located on the Amalfi coast. It is tastier and will make you feel the real Italian vibes. You will love it, I promise.

The Best Delicious Southern Italian foods: Now It’s Your Turn

Our virtual journey along the Southern Italian cuisine comes to an end. Southern Italian cuisine represents the region’s outstanding culinary tradition and rich cultural heritage. Every dish, from the traditional Neapolitan pizza to the intricate Sicilian cassata, captures a special tale and an authentic flavor that intrigues residents and tourists.

Anyone fortunate enough to experience them will never forget the tantalizing journey through a wide variety of flavors and ingredients that the cuisine of this region offers.

I hope that this free guide helped you know more about the fantastic world of Southern Italian foods, made with fresh ingredients, ancient traditional recipes and lots of love. Moreover, if you are orgaizing your next trip to Italy, give a look to these free guides I posted on my Blog:

Moreover, if you are looking for a tailor-made itinerary to discover Italy, send me an email to I will be happy to help you. I am looking forward to hearing from you,

Marianna, Your Italian Friend

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