top of page

Most Loved Italian Sweet Pastries Of All Time

There are so many exquisite Italian pastries that limiting ourselves to just four was hard. The selection here is in no particular order. Some choices are obvious and some more obscure but we wanted to represent the range of pastries available up and down the country, from the extreme north of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia to the southernmost point of Sicily. So, marvel at the variety of pastries on offer and be sure to try as many of these out as possible on your next trip to Italy.



Italian deep-fried doughnuts known as bomboloni are one of the traditional sweets of the Carnival season, but nowadays they can be prepared throughout the year. Even though bomboloni are said to be of Tuscan origin, they are commonly sold as a snack in numerous pasticcerias, bakeries, and coffee shops throughout the country.

However, in Tuscany and further to the north of Italy, bomboloni are simply sugar-coated, while in Lazio these delectable treats take on a more decadent appearance, as biting into their sugary crust reveals a silky cream on the inside. The so-called bombolone Laziale is typically filled with either classic custard cream called crema pasticcera, or sometimes even chocolate cream.

Pillow-soft, airy, and amazingly light, the delicious bomboloni are best enjoyed while they're still warm, regardless of the preferred variety.



These decadent, crispy fried pastry tubes filled with luscious ricotta cheese cream are perhaps one of Sicily's best known desserts outside of Italy. Cannoli are believed to have originated around Palermo during the 9th century, while Sicily was under Arab rule.

Legend has it that they were originally prepared by the women of the ancient city of Qal'at al-Nisā' (lit. castle of women), the modern-day Caltanissetta, which at the time served as the harem of a Saracen emir. Later on, the recipe later somehow found its way to the monasteries of Palermo where nuns would prepare this lavish dessert during the carnival season.

Cannoli have come a long way since then, becoming incredibly popular throughout Italy.



Pasticciotto is a popular Italian dessert consisting of a shortcrust pastry filled with flavorful pastry cream. Traditionally, the crust is made with lard, so that it is moister and softer than the regular crust prepared with butter. It is recommended to consume pasticciotto fresh out of the oven when it is still piping hot.

Many believe that the dessert was invented in the 18th century by Andrea Ascalone, a chef from Galatina.



Sfogliatella is one of the most famous Italian pastries, with many regions offering their spin on the recipe. Although traditionally associated with Naples, it is believed that the original sfogliatella was invented around 1700 on the Italian Amalfi Coast, as a creation of nuns from the Santa Rosa monastery.

This version was filled with luscious custard cream and black cherries preserved in syrup, and although the nuns were forbidden to have contact with the external world, the recipe was somehow obtained by a Neapolitan chef who started preparing his variety of these delicious sweets which soon became a Naples favorite.

Nowadays, they are offered in two main varieties: riccia and frolla. Sfogliatella riccia is regarded as the traditional and the most common variety. It is an elaborate dessert made with multiple layers of paper-thin dough arranged in a clam-shaped pocket, filled with a delicious cream made with semolina, water, ricotta, sugar, eggs, cubed candied fruit, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

Traditionally, sfogliatella should always be served freshly prepared, while still crispy, preferably warm and dusted with powdered sugar.


Courtesy: lucasitaly, Tasteatlas,

46 views0 comments


bottom of page