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Popular Food in Vatican City: 9 Guides to Local Cuisine

Casual Eateries photo by freepik

Vatican City is a small independent state located within the city of Rome, Italy. It is the smallest country in the world, covering an area of just 44 hectares. Despite its small size, Vatican City is home to some of the most exquisite art and architecture in the world. It is also known for its delicious cuisine, which is a blend of traditional Italian and Roman dishes.

One of the most popular dishes in Vatican City is the Tofu Insalata, which is a tofu salad that features lots of green veggies and the most famous organic olive oil. It is a healthy and delicious option that is perfect for those who are health-conscious.

Another popular dish is the Cannoli, which is an Italian dessert from Palermo. Sicilian cannoli is one of the richest and most elegant desserts. They are deep-fried tubular dough shells filled with a delicious creamy filling.

Visitors to Vatican City will also find a wide range of Italian and Roman dishes, such as pizza, pasta, polenta, and risotto. These dishes are served in many of the city’s cafes and pizzerias, which are sprinkled throughout the city. Whether you are looking for a quick snack or a full meal, you are sure to find something that will satisfy your taste buds in Vatican City.

1. Traditional Dishes of Vatican City

Eating pasta photo by Ron Lach

Vatican City is not only known for its religious significance but also for its delicious cuisine. The city-state has a unique blend of Italian and Roman cuisines, which have been influenced by the popes who have resided there. Here are some traditional dishes of Vatican City that one must try:

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe photo by Popo le Chien

Cacio e Pepe, which means “cheese and pepper,” is a simple yet delicious pasta dish made with spaghetti, pecorino cheese, and black pepper. The cheese is melted with a bit of pasta water to create a creamy sauce that coats the noodles. It is a popular dish in Vatican City and can be found in most restaurants.


Tiramisu photo by azerbaijan_stockers

Tiramisu, which means “pick me up,” is a classic and tastiest dessert of Vatican City. It is a delicious blend of coffee, cocoa, and sweet mascarpone cheese. Savoiardi biscuits are soaked in coffee, then topped with delicious mascarpone cream cheese and sprinkled with cocoa powder. It is a must-try dessert when in Vatican City.


Supplì photo by kochtopf

Supplì is a popular food in Vatican City, bringing joy to both locals and tourists. These fried rice balls are made by mixing cooked rice with tomato sauce, minced meat, and mozzarella cheese. They’re then coated in breadcrumbs and fried until crispy and golden. With their savory taste and crunchy texture, Supplì are a delicious treat enjoyed by many in the Vatican.

Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca photo by Wally Gobetz

Pizza Bianca, which means “white pizza,” is a traditional dish of Vatican City. It is a simple pizza made with flour, water, yeast, and salt. The pizza is baked until it is crispy and golden brown, then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. It is a perfect snack to grab on the go.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo photo by Engin Akyurt

Fettuccine Alfredo is a classic Italian dish that has become popular worldwide. It is a pasta dish made with fettuccine noodles, butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese. The dish was created by Alfredo di Lelio, an Italian restaurateur, and has become a favorite in Vatican City.

These are just a few of the traditional dishes of Vatican City that one must try. The city-state has a lot more to offer, and one can explore the local cuisine by visiting the local restaurants and cafes.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara photo by DuckaHouse

In Vatican City, one of the popular dishes that visitors and locals alike enjoy is spaghetti carbonara. This classic Roman pasta dish is known for its simplicity and rich flavor. Traditionally made with spaghetti noodles, eggs, pancetta or guanciale (cured pork cheek), Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper, spaghetti carbonara is a comforting and satisfying meal.


Cannoli photo by solci_109

Cannoli is popular in Vatican City and nearby Rome. Crispy ricotta-filled tubes are beloved by all. Whether exploring Rome’s streets or taking a break from Vatican Museums, indulging in a cannolo is a must. With their creamy filling and crispy shell, cannoli represents the rich flavors of Italian desserts, making them a favorite for satisfying sweet cravings in Vatican City.

Penne Arrabbiata

Penne Arrabbiata photo by stockking

In Vatican City, you can enjoy penne arrabbiata, a spicy and tasty Italian pasta dish. It’s made with penne pasta cooked just right and mixed with a zesty tomato sauce flavored with garlic, olive oil, and hot chili peppers. Locals and tourists love this dish for its bold flavors and comforting taste.

2. Common Ingredients in Vatican Cuisine

Ingredients of Italian food photo by freepik

Vatican cuisine is heavily influenced by Italian cuisine, with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Common ingredients in Vatican cuisine include:

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a staple in many Vatican dishes, including pasta sauces and salads. They are known for their sweet and tangy flavor and are often used in dishes that require a lot of flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is a key ingredient in many Vatican dishes, providing a rich, fruity flavor and a smooth texture. It is often used in pasta sauces and salads as a finishing oil on top of dishes.
  • Basil: Basil is a popular herb in Vatican cuisine, adding a fresh, sweet flavor to dishes. It is often used in tomato-based sauces, salads, and as a garnish on top of dishes.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a staple in many Vatican dishes, providing a pungent, savory flavor. It is often used in pasta sauces, meat dishes, and as a flavoring in salads.
  • Cheese: Cheese is a common ingredient in Vatican cuisine, with many dishes featuring varieties such as Parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta. Cheeses are often used in pasta dishes, salads, and as a topping on pizza.
  • Seafood: Vatican cuisine features a variety of seafood dishes, including grilled fish, seafood pasta dishes, and seafood salads. Fresh seafood is a popular ingredient in Vatican cuisine, with many dishes featuring local catches.

Overall, Vatican cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh, high-quality ingredients and simple preparation methods. Dishes are often light and flavorful, with a focus on showcasing the natural flavors of the ingredients.

See Also Italian Food Exploration

3. Influence of Italian Cuisine on Vatican Food

Vatican City, being surrounded by Italy, has been heavily influenced by Italian cuisine. The Vatican cuisine is mostly based on traditional Italian dishes, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The use of fresh herbs and spices is also a prominent feature in Vatican cuisine.

One of the most popular Italian dishes in Vatican City is pizza. Vatican City has many pizzerias serving delicious pizza. Pasta dishes are also a staple of Italian cuisine and can be found in Vatican City’s restaurants. The pasta dishes are often served with fresh tomato sauce and a variety of vegetables.

Another popular Italian dish found in Vatican City is gelato, which is a type of Italian ice cream. Gelato is often made with fresh fruit and is a popular dessert in Vatican City. Seafood is also commonly used in Vatican City’s cuisine, as well as meat dishes such as veal, pork, and game. Some of the most popular seafood dishes in Vatican City include octopus, squid, and shrimp.

See Also Best Pasta in Rome

4. Dining Experiences in Vatican City

Dining in Vatican City photo by pch.vector

Vatican City is a must-visit destination for foodies who wish to indulge in authentic Italian cuisine. The city-state has a rich culinary heritage that has been influenced by the neighboring regions of Lazio and Tuscany. Whether you are a casual eater or a fine dining aficionado, Vatican City has something to offer for everyone.


Imago photo by hotelhasslerroma

One of the fine dining options in Vatican City is Imago. This restaurant is located on the top floor of the Hassler Roma Hotel and offers panoramic views of the city. The menu features a fusion of traditional Italian and modern European cuisine. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list that includes both Italian and international wines.

5. Seasonal Foods

Italian cuisine photo by freepik

Vatican City is known for its delicious cuisine which is mostly based on traditional Italian dishes. The cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh, seasonal ingredients, with fish and seafood being commonly used. Visitors to Vatican City can enjoy a variety of seasonal foods.

During Easter, Vatican City is bustling with activity as visitors flock to the city to celebrate the holiday. Traditional Easter foods such as lamb, artichokes, and asparagus are served in many of the city’s restaurants.

In the summer months, visitors can enjoy fresh fruits such as watermelon, peaches, and cherries. These fruits are often used in desserts such as fruit tarts and sorbets. In the fall, visitors can enjoy seasonal dishes such as roasted chestnuts, pumpkin soup, and risotto with porcini mushrooms. These dishes are often served at local restaurants and cafes.

6. Desserts and Sweet Treats

Desserts in Vatican City photo by marymarkevich

Vatican City may be small, but it has a big sweet tooth. Visitors to the city can indulge in a variety of desserts and sweet treats that are unique to the area. From traditional Italian gelato to artisanal pastries, there is something for everyone.


Gelato photo by Alana Harris

One of the most popular sweet treats in Vatican City is gelato. This Italian-style ice cream is made with fresh ingredients and comes in a variety of flavors. Some of the most popular gelato shops in the city include Gelateria dei Gracchi and Fatamorgana.


Maritozzo photo by (と)

Visitors to Vatican City should also be sure to try the local specialty, maritozzo. This sweet roll is typically filled with whipped cream and served for breakfast or as a dessert. One of the best places to try maritozzo is Pasticceria Andreotti.

7. Common Beverages

Photo by lookstudio

When it comes to beverages, Vatican City has a rich history of wine production and consumption. The city-state is surrounded by some of Italy’s best wine regions, and you can find a variety of local wines in many restaurants and bars.

Apart from wine, coffee is also a popular beverage in Vatican City. The city-state has a rich coffee culture, and you can find many cafes and coffee shops serving different types of coffee. In the following, we will discuss the most famous of them.


One of the most popular wines in Vatican City is Frascati, beloved for its crispness and fruity notes, making it a popular choice among residents and visitors. It is a white wine that is produced in the nearby town of Frascati.


Tuscan red wine photo by Bill Frazzetto

Another popular wine in Vatican City is the Tuscan red wine, Chianti. This wine is cherished and enjoyed by both the religious community and visitors to Vatican City. It is a dry red wine that pairs well with meat dishes and has a strong, fruity flavor [2].


Cappuccino photo by Anubhav Arora

One of the most popular coffee drinks in Vatican City is the cappuccino, which is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. It is usually served in the morning and is a popular breakfast drink.


Finally, water is the most commonly consumed beverage in Vatican City. The city-state has a high-quality water supply, and tap water is safe to drink. Many restaurants and cafes also serve bottled water, which is a popular choice among tourists.

8. Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Photo by freepik

Vatican City is a small city-state with a limited number of restaurants, but visitors will still be able to find plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The city-state has a strong tradition of Italian cuisine, and many of the dishes are naturally vegetarian or vegan.


iVegan products photo by francesco basco

One of the best places to find vegetarian and vegan food in Vatican City is at the iVegan supermarket and fast food restaurant located a few minutes walk from the Vatican Museums entrance.

The shop sells a large variety of vegan food products such as plant-based cheeses, tofu, and tempeh as well as cosmetics. The restaurant serves a range of vegan burgers, wraps, salads, and smoothies.

Mater Terrae Restaurant

Mater Terrae gourmet vegan and vegetarian restaurant photo by biohotelraphael

For those looking for a fine-dining experience, Mater Terrae gourmet vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Rome (Piazza Navona) is a must-visit. The restaurant offers an à la carte menu, and a few tasting menu options complete with appetizers, first and main courses, and dessert.

The restaurant is located in the 5-star luxury Bio Hotel Raphael, one of the best hotels near Piazza Navona. Visitors can also find vegan and vegetarian options at some of the other restaurants in Vatican City. The Loft, Scialla the Original Streetfood, and Mordi Sandwiches are some of the popular restaurants that serve vegetarian and vegan food.

9. Food Souvenirs from Vatican City

Vatican City is not only famous for its religious significance but also its delicious food. Visitors can take home some of the best food souvenirs from Vatican City that are unique to the region. Here are some of the most popular food souvenirs that visitors can buy:

Olive Oil

Olive oil photo by Couleur

Olive oil is a staple ingredient in Italian cuisine, and Vatican City is no exception. Visitors can buy high-quality extra-virgin olive oil that is produced locally. The oil is made from hand-picked olives that are grown in the surrounding hills of Rome. It has a fruity flavor and is perfect for dressing salads or dipping bread.


Wines photo by PhotoMIX-Company

Italy is famous for its wine, and Vatican City is no exception. Visitors can buy wine that is produced by local vineyards. The wine is made from grapes that are grown in the fertile soil of the surrounding hills. It has a rich flavor and is perfect for pairing with Italian cuisine.


Pasta photo by Couleur

Pasta is a staple food in Italy, and visitors can take home some of the best pasta from Vatican City. Visitors can buy pasta that is made from durum wheat and is produced locally. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and is perfect for making authentic Italian dishes.


Chocolate photo by Pixabay

Visitors can also take home some of the best chocolate from Vatican City. The chocolate is made from high-quality cocoa beans and is produced locally. It comes in a variety of flavors, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.

Popular Food in Vatican City: The Essentials

In conclusion, Vatican City offers a wide variety of popular food options that cater to different tastes and preferences. Visitors can enjoy traditional Italian cuisine such as pasta, pizza, and gelato, as well as local Vatican dishes such as Swiss Guard Goulash and Fettuccine alla Papalina.

For those looking for a quick and affordable meal, street food options such as supplì and panini are widely available. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a cup of espresso or cappuccino at one of the many cafes scattered throughout Vatican City.

Overall, Vatican City’s culinary scene is a unique blend of Italian and Vatican cuisine that is sure to satisfy any food lover. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a quick bite on the go, Vatican City has something to offer.