When it comes to food, Italy is a country that knows how to do it right. From pasta and pizza to wine and gelato, there are endless options when it comes to Italian cuisine. But one of the best things about Italian food? The soups! From classic favorites like minestrone soup to regional specialties like Zuppa d’Orzo, there are some amazing soups in Italy waiting for you to try.
Here are some of the most delicious Italian soups and where they are popular in. Whether you’re looking for a hot and hearty meal or something light and refreshing, these soups are sure to satisfy you.
Most Famous Italian Soup
Minestrone soup is probably the most famous Italian soup outside of Italy. It’s a thick and hearty vegetable soup that can be made with any vegetables you have on hand. The classic recipe includes potatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onions, and tomatoes.
However, there are endless variations of minestrone soup, so feel free to add whatever vegetables you like. It is a recipe from the olden times as every household has their own version of it. This soup is typically made with a beef or vegetable broth, but it can also be made with water.
If you want a heartier minestrone soup, you can add some pasta or rice towards the end of cooking, like the Maltese version. Minestrone soup is a great way to use up any vegetables you have on hand, and can be either an appetizer or a filling meal depending on how you make it.
Seafood-Based Stews and Soups In Italy
Zuppa di Pesce
Seafood lovers rejoice! Zuppa di Pesce is a seafood soup that originates from the coastal regions of Italy. It’s typically made with a variety of seafood like shrimp, scallops, lobster, and fish. The seafood is cooked in a tomato-based broth with onions, garlic, and celery.
Zuppa di Pesce is a hearty soup in Italy that you can enjoy year-round. If you’re in Venice, make sure to try this delicious soup at one of the many seafood restaurants. You can also find it along the Amalfi Coast and other coastal regions of Italy.
This is a classic Italian soup from the Liguria region in Northern Italy. It is usually made with whatever fish is available, you can even mix a variety of fish if desired. The traditional version of this Ligurian fish soup uses the stockfish with vegetables, walnuts, bay leaves, potatoes, and wine.
However, it can also be a very simple dish, requiring just fish, tomatoes, garlic, peas, parsley, and bread. The bread is used to soak up the tomato sauce and create a thick and creamy soup.
The soup is best cooked in a clay pot, which helps to keep the fish moist. Buridda can be served with a drizzle of olive oil and some crusty bread on the side. This is another great Italian soup to enjoy during the summer months!
Caciucco alla Livornese
Caciucco alla Livornese is a fish or seafood stew that originates from the city of Livorno on the Tuscan coast. The stew is made with a variety of different seafood, including fish, shellfish, and squid. The seafood is cooked in a tomato-based broth and it’s typically served with crostini (slices of toasted bread).
Caciucco alla Livornese is a very popular dish in Italy, especially in the Tuscan region. If you’re a fan of seafood, this is definitely a stew you need to try!
Vegetarian Soups In Italy
Note that while most of these soups are generally vegetarian in nature, there can be non-vegetarian versions due to variations in recipe. This can include the addition of meat or the use of meat-based broth. If you are eating out and have dietary restrictions, make sure to check beforehand with the restaurant.
Ribollita, which translates to “reboiled”, is a Tuscan soup that was created as peasant food during medieval times. It was originally made with leftover bread and vegetables, which were then boiled again the next day.
Nowadays it’s still considered a traditional poor man’s dish, as it’s very cheap and easy to make. The most common ingredients used in Ribollita are cabbage, cannellini beans, carrots, potatoes, Tuscan kale, and onion. These are all cooked together in a vegetable broth and then left to simmer for hours until the soup has thickened.
If there is leftover bread, it is added to soak in the delicious broth. You can also toast the bread and just have it with the soup. That said, the “leftover” part is optional, the soup goes just as well with fresh Italian bread.
Vellutata di Zucca
This Italian soup is a velvety smooth pumpkin soup that is popular in the fall and winter. It’s made with fresh pumpkins that are roasted, then pureed with broth, somtimes potatoes, milk, and cream. The result is a thick and creamy soup that has all the flavors of fall in it.
Pumpkin soup is popular in many countries, but the Italian version is definitely one of the best. You can find it all over Italy in the fall and winter, but it’s especially popular in the Northern regions.
If you’re lucky enough to be around during pumpkin season, make sure to try this delicious soup in Italy.
Pasta e Ceci
Pasta e Ceci is a simple but delicious soup made with chickpeas, pasta, and vegetables. It’s a popular dish in Rome and all throughout central Italy. The soup is usually made with dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight and then cooked until they’re soft.
The softened chickpeas are then mixed with vegetables like tomatoes, celery, carrots, and onion to create a broth. The pasta is then added into the flavorful chickpeas and vegetable broth. This traditional Italian soup is traditionally eaten on Fridays when consumption of meat is discouraged for religious purposes.
One of the simplest soups in Italy to make, but is still a largely satisfying dish.
Pappa al Pomodoro
This Tuscan soup in Italy is made with fresh tomatoes, bread, and garlic. It’s a very simple dish that only requires a few ingredients, but it’s incredibly flavorful and filling. The bread is soaked in water or broth until it breaks down and forms a thick paste. Then, the tomatoes, garlic, and bread are combined and cooked together until the soup is thick and creamy.
The traditional recipe is strict on the use of Costoluto Fiorentino tomatoes and Pane Toscano bread. However, they are not always available, particularly outside the Tuscany region, so whatever works!
Pappa al Pomodoro is typically served with a drizzle of olive oil and basil on top, and it’s the perfect dish to enjoy when tomatoes are in season. If you’re in Tuscany during the summer, make sure to try this delicious soup! You can have this soup both warm or chilled, so if you are feeling too hot during the summer, try the latter.
Other Popular Soups In Italy
The Zuppa Imperiale, or imperial soup, is a dish that was inspired by the Austrian Krinofel Soup. It is an extremely simple yet soulful soup that warms the heart. This is a very popular dish in the Emilia-Romagna region.
Zuppa Imperiale contains cubes of dumpling dough made with semolina, egg, and butter, cooked in a light but rich meat broth. A warm bowl of this Italian soup is great for the winter, and thus a common dish during Christmas as well.
Passatelli In Brodo
This soup is made with Passatelli, which are small pieces of dough that are extruded through a Passatelli maker or grater. The dough is made with eggs, cheese, and bread. Once it’s extruded into the broth, it cooks until it forms little dumplings. The soup is typically served with Parmesan cheese on top.
This dish is popular in the Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions, but it is one of the more common soups in Italy and can be found all over the country. It’s a hearty soup that is great for winter, as it’s both filling and comforting. If you find yourself in Italy during the colder months, be sure to give this Italian soup a try.
Fagioli e Cotiche
This is a traditional Roman-style soup or stew that is made with beans, pork rinds, and vegetables. It’s a very hearty dish that is perfect for a winter meal.
The key ingredients are cannellini beans, kale, carrots, celery, garlic and onions. The beans and pork rinds are boiled separately in water or broth until they’re soft. They are then mixed with the vegetables and cooked together until the soup is thick and creamy.
The result is a flavorful and wholesome stew and soup in Italy that makes a hearty meal for any occasion.
This delicious soup hails from the southern region of Italy, where the recipe kind of varies slightly across different cities. Each city and area puts its own spin on this Italian soup. For example in Puglia, it is known as Minestra Maritata alla Pugliese.
The name Minestra Maritata translates to “married soup”, which refers to the fact that this soup traditionally contains both meat and vegetables.
The vegetables used in Minestra Maritata vary depending on the season but typically include potatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage, and beans. The meat used is usually beef, although pork or lamb can also be used.
The soup is flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, including garlic, rosemary, sage, and bay leaves. Once it’s all cooked together, the soup is served with a drizzle of olive oil and in some regions, grated cheese on top.
Pasta e Fagioli
If you’re looking for a hearty Italian soup, then Pasta e Fagioli is the one for you. There is a constant debate on which region of Italy this thick and filling soup originates from, with Campania, Lazio, and Veneto being some of the common names thrown around.
This is because the soup is so common and versatile that everyone has their own home recipe for making it just the way they like it. And this varies across states. In general, it’s made with a combination of beans, pasta, vegetables, and ditalini (a type of small tubular pasta).
Pasta e Fagioli translates to “pasta and beans”, which are the two key ingredients in this soup. The beans are typically soaked overnight before they’re cooked with olive oil, garlic, celery, and pancetta. Once the beans are soft, small pieces of pasta are added to the pot along with vegetable broth and left to cook until al dente.
Zuppa d’Orzo (Barley Soup)
This is a soup that’s not as common as the others on this list, but it’s definitely worth trying if you come across it. Zuppa d’Orzo is a type of barley soup that originates from the Trentino-Alto Adige region in Northeastern Italy.
This Italian soup is made by sauteeing chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery, onion, or anything type of seasonal vegetables. Barley is then thrown in to saute for a while before water or broth is added. It is left to cook until it has a nice creamy consistency that is just amazing.
Zuppa d’Orzo is usually served with a drizzle of olive oil and you can even add grated Parmesan cheese to give a thicker texture and more flavor. It’s a simple soup but it’s packed with flavor and it’s the perfect comfort food for a cold winter day.
Zuppa di Verze e Patate
This Italian soup is a wintertime favorite, as it’s both hearty and filling. It originates from the region of Veneto. The key ingredients are savoy cabbage (which is a winter vegetable), carrots, onions, and potatoes. The vegetables are chopped and tossed into a pot to be cooked in water or broth until they’re soft.
Once the vegetables are cooked, they are mashed together with a potato masher or an immersion blender to create a thick and creamy soup. That is the simple base recipe and you can add other ingredients like sausages or bacon if you want that smoked flavor similar to some Polish soups.
Zuppa di Verze e Patate is another soup in Italy that is easy to make and perfect to enjoy on a cold winter day!
Sampling Italian Soups In Italy
These are just some of the most delicious Italian soups you can find in Italy! The European country is well-known for its pasta dishes, but it also has some delicious soups that travelers should try. From traditional age-old recipes to modern international selections, soups in Italy form a part of the gastronomic experience. Regardless if you are shopping in Milan or sightseeing in Florence, be sure to enjoy some Italian soups along the way.