Hopefully, you’ll have read the title of this article correctly and realize it’s a foodie’s guide to the city of Pisa in Italy and not a foodie’s guide to pizza. They may be similar, but they’re definitely not the same.
Pisa in Italy is renowned for its rustic Tuscan cuisine. From the primi piatti to the entrees to the bread you’ll be mopping the juices from your plate with, food is a huge part of this city’s culture. Many of the dishes being served today have been around for centuries, which could be why they’re so good. They’re just too tasty to be forgotten.
Any foodie visiting Pisa will have a gastronomic experience that can only be called a taste revelation. There really is something exceptional about meals prepared from local produce that are eaten under the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. They’re simply bellissimo.
Before you head out on a culinary journey through Pisa, make sure your bags are safe. Visit luggage storage in Pisa to drop everything off, and then you can freely move about the city.
Where to Have a Great Food Experience In Pisa
To really immerse yourself in the culinary culture of Pisa, you need to know where to go. Here you can find out where the market used by the city chefs is, which is the best restaurant to go to for traditional food, and what food festivals take place in Pisa.
Mercato delle Vettovaglie
No true foodie can resist sniffing out the local food market no matter what city they visit. In Pisa, the one you should head for is the Mercato delle Vettovaglie.
The Mercato delle Vettovaglie is held in the Piazza delle Vettovaglie, a characterful quadrangle surrounded by historic buildings and lined with an arched walkway. Every morning from Monday through to Saturday, you can browse the stalls stacked high with locally grown fruit and vegetables.
You might not be planning on doing any cooking, but you won’t be able to resist purchasing some of the freshly baked bread, two or three samples of local cheese, and a selection of cured meats which added together make the perfect picnic lunch.
Gourmet is the Norm in Pisa
Anywhere else in the world, a restaurant that has truffle on the menu is considered to be gourmet, but not in Pisa. Black truffles are harvested in the countryside around Pisa from May to September, and white truffles from September to December. It’s a common ingredient used by the city restaurants to add that special touch to many rice and pasta dishes. Here are some fantastic places to try:
Trattoria La Ghiotteria – The Trattoria La Ghiotteria is a traditional Italian restaurant specialising in risotto and pasta dishes topped with or including truffle. Located on the Vicolo delle Donzelle, the dishes to try here are seafood pasta with truffle shavings and caviar or ravioli with creamy truffle sauce.
Il Peperoncino – Il Peperoncino is a restaurant on the Via Santa Maria that’s worth going out of your way to find. It’s not flash by any means, but the traditional Tuscan food they prepare is totally next level. If you can resist the rest of the menu, then the dish to try here is the riso al tartufo, the truffle risotto. It can show any gourmet restaurant what gourmet really is.
Bistrot San Domenico – The Bistrot San Domenico on the Corsa Italia in Pisa is renowned for adding a touch of flair to the traditional dishes of the region. Here you’ll find proteins like tripe, wild boar, octopus, and salt cod that are popular with the locals on the menu. The wild boar pappardelle and the tripe dish, trippa alla fiorentina, should be ordered by someone at the table.
Food Festivals in Pisa No Foodie Should Miss
Pisa is one Italian city that likes to celebrate food in a big way by holding several incredible food festivals throughout the year. Knowing about them will make any foodie sad they can’t attend them all and definitely feel totally deprived because they don’t live in this food-oriented city.
Pisa Street Food Fest – The Pisa Street Food Fest is a three-day event usually held at the beginning of May in the Piazza Don Minzoni. The piazza is crammed with food trucks serving Italian and international cuisine, there’s live music for entertainment between tastings, and plenty of temporary bars serving chilled local wine and craft beer.
Fest Food Festival – The Fest Food Festival is another three-day food festival that takes over the Viale delle Piagge around the middle of June. The festival focuses on promoting Italian products, so be prepared for an indulgent few days of trying all of the different foods on offer.
San Miniato National Market Festival – The San Miniato National Market Festival is a food festival any serious foodie would be over the moon to attend. It’s not held in Pisa but in the neighbouring town of San Miniato, which is world-renowned for its unusual white truffles.
The San Miniato National Market Festival takes place over three consecutive weekends in November in the town’s cathedral square. The festival is mainly about the gourmet ingredient but also showcases other local products like wine and cheese.
Learn From a Local
There is so much to learn about the regional cuisine of this part of Italy that it can be truly beneficial to take a food tour with a local guide. A local guide will take you on a walking and tasting tour of Pisa and fill you in on all the intricacies of the dishes you sample.
Most food tours take around three hours and are conducted from midday onwards, so don’t eat a big breakfast before you go. As well as being introduced to dishes like ribollita, a hearty Tuscan vegetable soup, you’ll get to try different wines and tuck into a scrumptious Italian gelato. Food tours don’t get better than that.
Pisa is a foodies paradise where you can discover all the great things about the food of the Tuscany region. No matter how long you’re in this amazing city, as far as food goes, it honestly won’t be long enough.