Each Italian region has its own specific food and recipes. While country offers huge varieties of dishes to choose from, the way of cooking and some of the dishes and some of the dishes are strictly associated to a certain area of Italy. Even if each region has its own specialties, it is possible to find some common cooking trends allowing the division of Italy into three different gastronomic areas, coinciding with the geographical division of the country into North, Center and South.
The North of Italy is associated with hot soups like minestrone and vegetables like radicchio. Usually dishes here are based on ingredients rich in fat. Cheese, truffle, polenta, risotto and game are usually used in this part of the country.
The Center of Italy is famous for heavy-bodied food including pecorini, scamorze, insaccati and sottolli. It is also known for truffles and mushrooms which can be found in Umbria region of Italy. There are special pastas made here: fresche, maccheroni and spaghetti alla chitarra. These types of pasta are usually served with sauces containing meat and game.
Southern food is typically Mediterranean. While in the North and Center pizza is extremely thin, in Naples it is pretty thick by Italian standard. Mozzarella and other typical dairy products are considered the specialties of this area. Dishes always have a beautiful smell, due to spices and seasoning like basil, oregano and citrus fruits. The south is famous for its Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.
Having set the differences and the general rules, it is important to underline that the North of Italy prefers to use butter as a main ingredient to cook food. Instead, Southern people have always a preference for extra virgin olive oil. From North to South you are only spoilt for choice. The nature and type of food obviously depends on the climate, territory and culture.