Last updated on February 9th, 2024
Trust me, I know. I have carried out four pregnancies in Italy and despite my countless efforts to eat larger meals and keep hunger at bay, snacking was my best friend as my bump got bigger.
In this article, I will share with you my favorite snacks to keep on hand or in mind while pregnant in Italy. Most of these snacks can be found throughout the entire country and usually fairly easily.
My favorite snacks to eat in Italy while pregnant are readily available around any corner and many are easy to keep in your bag for later.
For more about eating in Italy for expecting mothers, read Eating in Italy While Pregnant, Eating in Tuscany While Pregnant, 10 Foods You May Want to Avoid in Italy While Pregnant, and 10 Foods I Ate in Italy While Pregnant.
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(Pronounced foh-cahch-chah in Italian)
Focaccia (Liguria) is Italy’s most popular and beloved flatbread (known as schiacciata in Tuscany). You can buy it plain or all’olio (with olive oil) or topped with any combination of ingredients such as olives, tomatoes, onions, Italian cheese, or grilled vegetables.
If you want to make snacking easier, ask for a large piece tagliato a strisce (in small strips). If hunger strikes, just grab a piece of focaccia from your purse.
(Pronounced pah-nee-nee in Italian)
Panini are regular sandwiches in Italian filled with really whatever you want. Panini in Italy are not meat heavy and are usually only made with one kind of meat. Choose a meat, a cheese, a vegetable if you want and you have an amazing snack to keep you going between meals.
When ordering a panino, choose from sandwiches on the menu or make your own. You can absolutely choose whatever you want at any sandwich shop if you don’t see the exact combination you are looking for.
Good To Know: Panini is the plural form of panino, meaning just one sandwich. A panino in Italian does not mean a hot, grilled sandwich as it does in English.
Cecina is a kind of chickpea flatbread served as a street food or appetizer in a casual Italian eatery. Cecina is particularly good for vegan and gluten-free travelers in Italy. Although usually eaten as a snack it’s quite filling and paired with a couple sides you can make a whole meal out of it.
In Tuscany it’s called farinata but it’s the same thing. It’s full of protein and is best enjoyed freshly baked. Livorno, Pisa and Genoa are the most famous towns to eat it in!
Make It: Cecina is a very easy recipe to recreate at home. Follow my full instructions for Tuscany’s Best Street Food is Vegan: Cecina (Chickpea Flatbread) Recipe from Italy.
Pizza A Taglio
(Pronounced peetz-zah ah tahl-yeeoh in Italian)
Pizza a taglio is basically pizza by the slice in Italian although it usually comes by a square. Sometimes you will see it called pizza pinsa or pizza pala but the idea is the same. Order whatever amount you want and choose to have it warmed up or eat it at room temperature.
Look for it at casual pizza ‘windows’, bars, bakeries or even grocery stores.
My Picks: For my favorite pizza in Florence read Best Pizza in Florence, Italy – From a Local and in Venice Best Pizza In Venice, Italy – My ‘Don’t Miss’ List.
(Pronounced pee-ah-dee-nah in Italian)
A piadina is a flatbread (similar to a thick tortilla) from Emilia-Romagna usually enjoyed as a sandwich stuffed with any combination of cheese, deli meat and vegetables. Just stay clear of cured meats like prosciutto and salami. Choose something like mortadella, prosciutto cotto or go vegetarian.
Good To Know: The best and most famous piadine are from Rimini on the east coast of the Italian peninsula.
(Pronounced geh-lah-toh in Italian)
Italian ice cream or gelato is one of the best snacks for pregnant women during the summer. I always found the fresh fruit ones to be more refreshing but the creamy flavors gave me more energy. Get a scoop of each and you will check all the boxes.
Cicchetti are small, savory bites from Venice best compared to Spanish tapas. You can order them at any bacaro or bar in Venice with a glass of wine, Spritz or other non-alcoholic beverage for a quiet snack between sightseeing.
The combinations are endless but the most famous are small open faced sandwiches, small bites of fish, squares of polenta topped with local ingredients or mini meatballs (the list is endless!). To know more about cicchetti, read What Are Cicchetti? + Where To Eat Them In Venice and My Favorite Cicchetti In Venice – The 10 Best Bacari To Try,.
Pregnant In Venice: For my detailed insights and experience on eating in Venice with a bump, check out Eating in Venice While Pregnant.
(Pronounced grah-nee-tah cohn bree-osh in Italian)
Granita is frozen, crushed ice flavored with sugar and some kind of fruit juice or coffee originally from Sicily but today enjoyed throughout Italy. It’s the best for pregnant women in the summer when you need something refreshing yet without weighing you down or giving you heartburn.
If you need something more though, order it with a giant fresh brioche (pastry) and enjoy!
(Pronounced cah-stahn-yeh ahr-roh-steh in Italian)
Castagne arrosto are roasted chestnuts that you will see sold by street vendors especially in the fall and during the Christmas holidays in Italy.
They are filling and help you warm up on cold evenings when the sun sets early! Usually you can buy them in bags (small or large) with which you will be given a second bag to throw the shells in as you munch your way through the chestnuts (please use them and don’t throw them on the ground!).
(Pronounced trah-mehz-zee-noh veh-neh-zee-ah-noh in Italian)
A tramezzino is a soft, crustless white bread sandwich that you can find throughout Italy at any bar but particularly popular as a street food in Venice. They are stuffed with different fillings such as tuna and eggs, ham and cheese, and mozzarella and tomato, characterized by the addition of lots of mayonnaise!
Just be sure you don’t get them with uncured meats or cheeses. For my favorite places to eat them in Venice read 5 Street Foods To Try In Venice & Where Eat Them.
Tip: You can also purchase a tramezzino in Italian grocery stores. They aren’t bad though and are great in a pinch.
Snacks To Pick Up At Markets In Italy
Visiting an open air market in Italy is one of my favorite off the beaten track activities to recommend to friends and travelers. It’s a cheap and authentic way to taste the local flavors and dishes of the region you are visiting. These are my favorite snacks to shop for at food markets in Italy.
- Fresh produce (look for water spickets to wash fruit throughout cities and towns)
- Regional bread
- Baked goods
More On Markets: For my favorite markets and specifics on shoppings at markets in Italy read:
Incredible Food Markets in Italy
My Favorite Food Markets in Florence LINK
Rules for Shopping at Markets in Italy
How to Shop at Markets in Italy
Snacks To Buy At Grocery Stores In Italy
Italian grocery stores are quite fun to walk around in as a tourist. It’s full of all the wonderful food that you pay an arm and a leg for back home. You can read a detailed list of my favorite supermarket snacks here but for pregnant travelers, stick to these:
- Parmigiano snacks
- Granola bars
- Nuts & dried fruit
- Deli sandwiches