In the entirety of Europe – and perhaps the world – there are few destinations more renowned for their food than Italy. From the continental flavors of the north to the seaside dishes in the south, it’s impossible to encapsulate Italy in any one dish – or even one regional dish. There’s just too much variety, in the best way possible, when it comes to eating in Italy.
Tony visited Italy many times and there are many restaurants visited by Anthony Bourdain in Italy; he made more trips there than to France or Spain. More interestingly, he visited with the women he loved: watching Italy episodes means you’ll see both Ottavia Busia-Bourdain and Asia Argento on-screen too. His fascination with Italian filmmaking also came through with the creative ways some destinations were shot, and I think it’s safe to say that Tony loved Italy, in many different ways.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy and want to know where Anthony Bourdain ate in Italy, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a list of all the cities and regions he visited, plus links to dive more into the specific places you plan to go on your own trip. Ready to enjoy all the flavors that Italy has to offer? Buon appetito!
Cities Visited by Anthony Bourdain in Italy
Similar to France, Anthony Bourdain visited a number of cities in Italy – but spent more time exploring larger regions (below) to get a sense for all the country has to offer. Let’s start with the cities as these are the most commonly visited by travelers, and then you can get inspired to explore further in the next section.
Naples happens to be my favorite city in Italy, and it’s the highest in the alphabet on this list, so where better to start? Unfortunately, of the places Anthony Bourdain visited in Naples, only one is still open today: Pizzeria Pellone.
There, Tony tries the essential Neopolitan dish: Margherita pizza made traditionally. Even as someone who enjoys the atrocious Meat Lovers from Dominos, there is no better pizza in the world! Be sure to read my full recap of Bourdain’s visit to Naples.
Having visited Rome three times, Anthony Bourdain recommends a lot of places in Rome – which is optimal as it’s usually the epicenter when people visit Italy. Here’s the full list of places he ate that are still open today:
- Betto E Mary
- Cacio e Pepe
- Cafe Faggiani
- Cafe Vitti
- Freni e Frizoni
- Osteria dal 1931
- Ristorante Roma Sparita
- Sora Lella
- Trattoria a Casa di Rita
- Trattoria Il Timoniere
- Trattoria Morgana
- Trattoria Pigneto
- Trattoria Settimio
Be sure to read my entire recap of Anthony Bourdain’s trips to Rome to learn about each place and what to order when you visit.
Venice is the final city that Anthony Bourdain focuses on during his visits to Italy; he spends a lot of time considering the past and future of the city – but of course enjoys the flavors of Venice too. Here’s where he ate:
- Al Covo
- Antica Locanda Montin
- Cantina do Mori
- Il Diavolo E L’acqua Santa
- Trattoria Borghi
- Trattoria da Romano (in nearby Burano)
While you might think it’s hard to find the “true” flavors of Venice during your visit, these spots are a good place to start. Be sure to read my entire recap of Tony’s visits to Venice to learn what he ate too.
Regions Bourdain Visited in Italy
As mentioned, Anthony Bourdain spends most of his time in Italy exploring various regions and smaller cities within them, rather than focusing his time in the major cities. Below is a list of the places he visited and ate in each part of the country.
As part of his trip to Naples, Tony also explores the Amalfi Coast. This area has since become an iconic and popular Italian destination – and you can still visit one of the places Anthoy Bourdain ate in the Amalfi coast during his visit: Ristorante Al Convento.
Be sure to read my recap of his Naples and Amalfi Coast visit for all the details.
If you’re looking for a less popular foodie destination in Italy, the Emilia-Romagna region is a good bet – though admittedly, it’s certainly more on travelers’ radars after Bourdain’s visit. Tony visits a handful of places during his road trip driving a cherry-red Ferrari:
Read my full recap of Bourdain’s visit to Emilia-Romagna with chef Chef Michael White if you’re planning a trip to this region.
While exploring Southern Italy – particularly Puglia (more below) – Bourdain also crosses into the small mountainous region of Basilicata.
There, he has one meal that you might want to travel just to replicate: he sits down with esteemed director Francis Ford Coppola at the Palazzo Margherita Hotel for a meal of hyper-local dishes. While discussing Southern Italian history and filmmaking, they dine on lampascioni (deep-fried hyacinth bulbs), cotenne (pig skin with parmesan and herbs with pomodoro), and a pie with lamb chops and capuzzelle (lamb’s head).
I don’t have a recap specifically for Basilicata, since this is the only place he visits and eats in this region.
In neighboring Puglia, there are a few more options if you decide to visit “The Heel of the Boot” to follow in Bourdain’s footsteps and forkfuls. Here’s where he ate in this part of Italy:
Be sure to check out my complete recap of Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Puglia; this is the least-visited part of Italy so a great region if you want to truly escape the crowds that swarm over the rest of the country.
Earlier in his career, Anthony Bourdain visited Sardinia, homeland of his wife Ottavia and her family. This was a delightful trip to watch, as Tony really looked like he felt at home and surrounded by love and his own family.
If you want to seek out a similar feeling, here are the places he ate during that trip:
My full recap of Tony’s trip to Sardinia covers all the dishes he tried – which are definitely not the same Italian foods you might find elsewhere in the country.
Speaking of foods which won’t taste like what you expect, Sicily is a must-visit if you’re exploring Italy and the huge variety of flavors it has to offer. Here are the many places he ate, which you can plan a Sicilian road trip to enjoy:
- Antica Focacceria San Francesco (Palermo)
- Catania Fish Market (Catania)
- Hotel Baia Turchese (Lampedusa)
- Macelleria Equina (Palermo)
- Mercado del Capo (Palermo)
- Monaci delle Terre Nere (Zafferana Etnea)
- Osteria Nero D’Avola (Taormina)
- Trattoria Piccolo Napoli (Palermo)
My complete recap of Anthony Bourdain’s Sicily trip will help you decipher menus and choose what ot eat at each of these spots.
Last but certainly not least, Tuscany – long known as the destination for great food in Italy. Of course Anthony Bourdain made a visit to this part of the country, exploring by car. (Interestingly, he doesn’t really visit Florence, Pisa, or other large cities in the area.) Instead, you can seek out similar meals to what he ate at these places:
My recap of Tony’s Tuscany trip covers all the details, and has some beautiful food pictures that make my mouth water every time I review this list.
And there you have it – a list of everywhere visited by Anthony Bourdain in Italy, from regions to cities to restaurants themselves. Have any questions about planning a trip to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain in Italy? Let me know in the comments below!