Some people travel to Italy to see ancient ruins, learn a language or confront their pigeon phobia at St Martin’s Square in Venice.
But for me, I had another mission on my mind: to eat my body weight in as many regional sandwiches as I could.
Most cultures have their signature interpretation of a sandwich, in Vietnam, it’s bánh mì, in Malta it’s hobz biz-zejt, in France it’s the croque monsieur.
But in Italy, there’s more than one sandwich that defines the land, with most regions proudly serving their unique bread-to-filling offering. Here’s a shortlist belonging to a very long list of some of Italy’s best.
Trippa alla Romana panino
This is a saucy sandwich. Not in a scandalous and full-of-hot-gossip way, but in the way that it’s drenched in sugo and you may need to use an obnoxious amount of napkins while eating it.
Trippa alla Romana is tripe, slow cooked in a simple red sauce. It’s a Roman staple today but originally emerged from peasant kitchens that could not afford prime cuts of meat so instead got creative with animal offcuts.
In Rome, you’ll find many street vendors serving warm trippa alla Romana stuffed in soft panino with generous shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino that melt atop.
Whether it’s sliced or a roll, bread is often the common sandwich denominator but in Puglia, they do things differently. This region’s sandwich of choice is puccia, which swaps bread for excess pizza dough that’s then baked into a puffy,…
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