The Best Souvenirs You Can Get While In Italy, According To A Local's TikTok

After tasting some of the incredible food in Italy, from fresh pasta to liquid-gold olive oil, it could be hard to leave such delicacies behind. The next best thing? Bringing a taste of Italy back home with you. Instead of purchasing touristy T-shirts or kitsch magnets, the best souvenirs you should get in Italy are local Italian food items that are easy to transport, according to @localaroma's TikTok, who is renowned for her culinary insights. And not just any food items, but more specifically, regional specialties. If there is one key thing to know about Italian cuisine, regional diversity is its hallmark — much more so than many other places around the world. Embracing this local approach will give you a fast pass into authentic Italian gastronomy. 


Our favorite souvenirs from Italy. #souvenir #souvenirs #whattobuy

♬ original sound – Local Aromas

The boot-shaped country is comprised of 20 regions, each with its own culture, history, geography, and culinary treasures (which they take passionate, possessive pride in). The Campania region, for example, is unique for its fertile volcanic terrain, which produces DOP-certified San Marzano tomatoes for one of the most famous Italian contributions, pizza — born in Naples. Lombardy, located in northern Italy, is verdant and mountainous, perfect for raising happy cattle to make legendary cheeses such as Gran Padano and Gorgonzola. Sicily in the south is known for its love of heat, as chili peppers abound; plus, the Mediterranean provides abundant seafood. Tasting these dishes or ingredients in their birth region is a must — and the same goes for getting them as souvenirs. 

South to north: Italian food specialties

If you're indeed headed for Sicily, @localaroma recommends returning with specific foodstuffs in your luggage: almonds, pistachios, oregano, and classic Sicilian pasta shapes. The volcanic terrain of Sicily produces some of the best-quality nuts in the world, and likewise, native Sicilian oregano gets to grow in its natural habitat — high up in the coastal mountains. Regarding pasta, look for the uniquely Sicilian busiate, affogaparrini, and gnocculi shapes. 

Going up into Amalfi, look for limoncello. Made from the zest of locally grown lemons, alcohol, water, and sugar, this bright yellow liqueur captures the essence of sun-drenched Italian summers in a bottle. Central Italy is also known for porcini mushrooms, which you can purchase dried. These mushrooms are prized for their intense, earthy flavor and are a staple of many Italian dishes, including risottos and sauces. Off-center in Italy lies the beautiful island of Sardinia, famous for sheep's milk pecorino cheese. 

Do not return from Emilia-Romagna in the north without a block of Parmigiano Reggiano. Called the "King of Cheeses," this hard, granular cheese is aged for a minimum of 12 months. Authentic balsamic vinegar also hails from Emilia-Romagna in Modena. This vinegar is made from reduced grape must (freshly pressed grape juice) and undergoes an aging process of 12 to 25 years, resulting in a thick, glossy liquid that's perfect for drizzling over salads, cheese, and even desserts like gelato. Don't forget about truffles from Tuscany, pesto Genovese from Liguria, and Amaretti cookies from Lombardy.

Tips for transporting culinary souvenirs

Transporting consumable goods in your carry-on or checked luggage does require some airport security know-how and foodie finesse. Why? To ensure that you can bring them on the plane in the first place, that your edible souvenirs arrive in one piece, and that they actually remain edible. Ideally, avoid bringing anything raw or delicate, like fresh meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and frozen foods. According to the TSA, anything edible in a liquid or gel form has to abide by the 3-1-1 rule if packed in your carry-on. However, if packed in your checked luggage, solid or liquid food items don't have to abide by this restriction. Check out our guide on how to bring food through the TSA, as there are some notable exceptions.

If you're bringing perishables, like cheese, only purchase produce that can be stored at room temperature (for specific periods) and is vacuum sealed to ensure freshness during air travel. For liquids, such as alcohol, oil, or vinegar, opt for smaller, well-sealed bottles to avoid any spillage in your luggage. Make sure the bottles are easy to pack, and depending on the product, select those labeled with the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) certification for an extra touch of authentic Italian quality. As an additional precaution, pack your liquids in a resealable plastic bag. Anything fragile, like glass, should be bubble-wrapped. Ultimately, bringing home a taste of Italy with its regional culinary treasures is the ultimate way to extend and savor your travel memories.