Popular Types of Pasta in Italy: A Culinary Journey

Italy’s love for pasta is as diverse as its regions, each boasting its unique pasta shapes and recipes.

Note: They don’t just stick with one type—variety is the zest of Italian life!

RegionPasta TypeSignature Dish
CampaniaPennePenne alla Napoletana with tomato sauce and mozzarella
AbruzzoSagneSagne e fagioli with a hearty bean soup
LazioSpaghettiSpaghetti alla Carbonara with guanciale and Pecorino cheese
VenetoBigoliBigoli in salsa with anchovies and onion sauce

In Campania, penne pasta reflects the region’s penchant for sauces that cling to its ridges.

Across in Abruzzo, they cherish the rustic sagne, a flat pasta that sings when paired with beans.

Rome, in Lazio, claims the glorious spaghetti alla Carbonara, a simple yet sumptuous affair.

Meanwhile, Veneto proudly presents their bigoli, a thicker take on spaghetti that soaks up every bit of flavor from its accompanying sauce.

Each region’s pasta tells a story on the plate, giving a taste of Italy’s rich culinary landscape.

Popular Pasta Varieties

Among the myriad pasta shapes, some have gained popularity for their texture, sauce pairing abilities, and regional significance.


Spaghetti is often the first pasta that comes to mind when people think of Italian cuisine.


These long, thin noodles are famous worldwide and form the backbone of classic dishes like spaghetti bolognese.


Penne pasta’s hallmark is its tube shape with angled cuts, which are exceptional at holding onto sauces.


Both smooth penne (penne lisce) and ridged penne (penne rigate) are beloved for their versatility.


Known for their corkscrew shape, fusilli are excellent at trapping sauce in their tight spirals.


They add a playful texture to any pasta dish and are frequently used in pasta salads.


Similar to spaghetti, linguine offers a flatter, more elliptical shape.


It’s ideally paired with lighter, seafood-based sauces, highlighting its gentle shape perfect for delicate flavors.


Lasagne comprises wide, flat sheets that are layered with a variety of sauces and cheeses, baked to perfection.

Each layer of lasagna sheet melds harmoniously with meat and béchamel for a hearty dish.


These small, hollow shell-like shapes are perfect for catching thick and chunky sauces.

Cavatelli have a satisfying bite and are often made with ricotta in the dough for extra richness.


Translating to “little ears,” orecchiette are small discs with a slight indention.

They’re a staple in the Puglia region and a great companion to vegetable-based sauces and legumes.


Hailing from the region of Emilia-Romagna, tortellini are small, ring-shaped stuffed pastas.


These can be filled with a variety of ingredients like cheese or meat and are often served in a broth.

About the author
Enzo Rossi
Meet Enzo, the Italian culinary maestro who's been crafting delectable dishes since the age of 8. Rooted in the rich traditions of Italy, his kitchen is a canvas for authentic flavors and Mediterranean delights. His recipes are designed for regular, everyday life. Buon appetito!

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