These are officially the best pastry shops across Italy

From the creamy cannoli to crunchy biscotti, Italy is home to some of the world's most mouthwatering pastries, and if you're looking for the very best of the bunch, this list could provide the answer.

These are officially the best pastry shops across Italy
File photo: dp3010/Depositphoto<

The Gambero Rosso – the equivalent of the Michelin guide or the Bible for Italian foodies – has released its annual list of the very best pastry shops up and down the country.

Announced just in time for the Christmas season, the guide could serve as inspiration for anyone seeking the perfect panettone or pandoro, or as the basis for a pastry-themed road trip next year. 

In total, 560 shops were included in the guide, from all corners of the country.

Eateries were awarded points for different categories, prioritizing form and substance, and those with scores over 90 earned the 'Tre Torte' title ('three cakes', the guide's version of three Michelin stars). This year, 21 bakeries were given the honour, an increase of three compared to last year's ranking.

READ ALSO: Meet the Brit who battled for baking glory on Italian TV

Leading the pack for the second year in a row was the Pasticceria Veneto in Brescia, with 95 points. The bakery is run by Iginio Massari, who has published several books on cake-making and is one of the judges on Italian MasterChef, as well as training the Italian team for the annual 'Pastry World Cup'.

This year for the first time, the awards included a prize for the best savoury pastries which, the judges noticed, were “experiencing a moment of glory” in the culinary world. The winner of the acolade was Martesana in Milan, a local institution which was celebrated for its 'mignon salati' available in 12 varieties.

Want to be ahead of the curve in dessert trends? The Cannavacciuolo Bakery in Novara, Piedmont was crowned the best new opening of the year, with the judges saying the chef “blends the best regional traditions and an interesting creative vein”.

Here's the full list of the spots given the 'Tre Torte' award.

1. Pasticceria Veneto, Brescia
2. Dalmasso, Avigliana
3. Biasetto, Padua
4. Maison Manilia, Montesano sulla Marcellana
5. Besuschio, Abbiategrasso
6. Gino Fabbri Pasticcere, Bologna
7. Pasquale Marigliano, Ottaviano
8. Pasticceria Agricola Cilentana Pietro Macellaro, Piaggine, Sardinia
9. Acherer, Brunico
10. Nuovo Mondo, Prato
11. Belle Hélène. Tarquinia
12. Bompiani, Rome
13. Cortinovis, Ranica
14. Cristalli di Zucchero, Rome
15. Dolce Reale, Montichiari 
16. Ernst K Knam, Milan
17. Rinaldini, Rimini
18. Sal De Riso Costa d'Amalfi, Minori 
19. Sciampagna, Marineo
20. Caffè Sicilia, Noto, Syracuse
21. Antico Caffè Spinnato, Palermo

READ ALSO: This tiny mountain resort is home to Italy's newest three-star restaurant



La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]