Rome and Florence are both beautiful cities in Italy that are rich in history, art and culture. However, even though both cities are in the same country, they have major differences in their lifestyles, shopping habits, nightlife, activities, and most importantly, their cuisines. Either you spend a weekend or a month in each city; you can tell the differences right away.
Food is the key to most people’s hearts and Italy doesn’t fail to do it right. Italian food is known for being local and seasonal. Italy has a movement called “slow food”, which consists of food that is produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally sourced ingredients (Google Dictionary). However, because of the high demand of vegetables during off-season times, these are being imported from other parts of Europe instead of being fresh. This is more common in the south and cities such as Rome, where the amount of tourist each year (especially in the summer) is very high. However, it fits to say that food still taste quite exquisite.
Roman food is based on the use of inexpensive cuts of meats, fresh vegetables (especially artichokes), deep-fried methods, and the use of Pecorino Romano. Although pasta is essentials for every Italians meal, pasta rules in Rome. In Rome pasta is served with less focus on red sauces and more on with sauces based of butter, olive oil, and cheese. However, they use a lot of tomatoes in their dishes. The pasta sauces that are used demonstrate the simplicity of Roman cuisine. On the other hand, Florentine food is simple and abundant with local produce, mellow cheeses and grilled meats. Here lie four fundamental ingredients: bread, extra-virgin olive oil, Florentine steaks of beef (which is to die for), and lastly, wine (hint that Tuscany is the home of Chianti wine).
Most popular dishes in Rome are prepared with long pastas such as spaghetti, fettuccine and linguine mixed in sauces such as carbonara, amatriciana, cacio e pepe and gricia. While, in Florence bread is the main ingredient in a lot of dishes. For antipasti bruschettas and crostini are very popular. We can find bread in hearty soups such as ribollita and papa al pomodoro, on salads such as panzanella, or just by itself with a little bit of olive oil. Finally, when you visit Florence you can leave without tasting the Bistecca alla fiorentina as your main course.
For those with a sweet tooth, you can find gelato in every part of Italy, especially in every corner of Rome. However, Florence is known for its own version of tiramisu called Cantuccini and Vin Santo. You can also find a sort of sponge cake dusted with icing sugar and cocoa in the form of the Florentine lily called Schiacciata fiorentina. This one is a seasonal dessert that you’ll find around Carnival time in the winter, or schiacciata con l’uva, which appears in the late summer and early autumn. This autumn version is a sweetened flat bread made with ripe red grapes, best eaten a day or so after it has been made when the sweet juice from the grapes has soaked in to the dough. (WalkAboutFlorence). Another dessert delicacy is a Sienna specialty; commonly found in Florence as well called Panforte.
For someone that tried both cuisines, I prefer Roman cuisine because of its simplicity and versatility to make pasta as different dishes depending on the ingredients used. However, Florence gives a better variety in dessert and more exquisiteness in wines. Italy in general clearly has one of the best cuisines and healthy diets in the world and I can’t help but eat it all.