Last updated on January 23rd, 2024
We have all heard of Lasagne alla Bolognese but did you know Italy has eight main different types of lasagna? It’s true! Italy is guilty of loving their lasagna just as much as they love their other carb-heavy dishes.
And I can’t say my Italian family is any different. Lasagna makes its way onto my family’s dinner table several times a month, if not every weekend and at the top of the list is our favorite, lasagne bolognese.
And while it’s true that Italians don’t ever get tired of their own Italian food, I get tired of preparing the same things. I bake all different types of lasagna but I am careful to stick to Italian tradition (my husband is Italian afterall, and would have my head if I tried to experiment too much with the classic types of lasagna).
So here it is, my top types of lasagna to try in Italy or to make at home. In this article, I will cover the most popular types of lasagna in Italy, how to pronounce them and where to eat them.
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What Is Lasagna?
The three main components of lasagne are:
- Lasagna pasta (usually egg noodles)
That’s it! The concept is very easy but it’s in the sauce that really defines the different types of lasagna in Italy.
How To Pronounce Lasagna In Italian
Lasagna in Italian is actually called lasagne, pronounced lah-SAHN-yeh.
The word lasagna in Italian means just one single sheet of flat lasagna pasta but the whole tray of lasagna is referred to as lasagne, the plural form of lasagna.
Learn More: For more miscommonly pronounced Italian words, read 36 Most Commonly Mispronounced Italian Foods – Speak like an Italian 101
Lasagne Alla Bolognese
(Pronounced lah-sahn-yeh ahl-lah boh-lohn-yeh-seh in Italian)
Lasagne alla Bolognese is the most popular and famous type of lasagna in the world. Originally from Bologna, this hearty lasagna is made from rich egg pasta sheets layered with a béchamel sauce and hearty meat ragù. The authentic recipe for lasagne alla Bolognese is made without mozzarella or ricotta.
The lasagna is finished with a heavy dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano, the nuttiest and richest of all the aged Italian cheeses, giving the lasagna an extra crunchy and salty crust.
Like all lasagne, this one is baked in the oven until oozing and completely melted together, creating a rich and filling piatto unico or single dish meal served on its own with a contorno or side salad.
The best lasagne alla bolognese is still from Bologna but it’s very good throughout the entire Emilia Romagna region. I suggest ordering it from very good restaurants, not places like tavole calde that are going to reheat lasagna and serve it as if it was just freshly made.
Lasagne Alla Ferrarese
Where To Eat It: Ferrara (Emilia Romagna)
(Pronounced lah-sahn-yeh ahl-lah fehr-rahr-eh-seh in Italian)
Lasagne alla Ferrarese is not as well known as other types of lasagna because it’s usually only eaten in Italy for festive holidays and celebrations in Ferrara.
This type of lasagna is still very regional, meaning that I don’t really see it outside of Emilia Romagna.
It’s made similarly to lasagne alla Bolognese but with a slightly different meat ragù and layered with a fresh spinach and egg pasta. The meat sauce is rich, made with the combination of pancetta, pork, beef, prosciutto crudo and chicken livers. That’s a whole lot of meat!
The fresh spinach pasta is then layered with béchamel sauce and the meat sauce and cooked until bubbling and piping hot.
Fact: White sauce, known as béchamel in Italian, is often seasoned lightly with nutmeg, giving it an earthy and warm depth.
Lasagne Al Radicchio
Where To Eat It: Treviso (Veneto)
(Pronounced lah-sahn-yeh ahl rah-deek-keeoh in Italian)
If you haven’t been to Northern Italy in the winter and experienced the local radicchio food scene, then you haven’t fully experienced Italian food yet!
Northern Italy grows so many different varieties of radicchio, all of which are used to make a wide array of regional dishes, including lasagne. Lasagne with radicchio and sausage is just the main umbrella category when it comes to types of lasagna made with radicchio.
Many Italians, including my family, like to add sausage to the mix when sauteeing the radicchio but others prefer leeks or even locally produced speck, walnuts and garlic.
Radicchio di Treviso is the most traditional variety of radicchio to use in this type of lasagna, characterized by its long, oblong shape.
When making radicchio lasagna, it’s traditional to add regional cheeses such as taleggio but scamorza cheese, gorgonzola or fontina are other popular choices in Italy. The rich cheese compliments the butter radicchio and rounds out the entire dish.
This is one of my family’s favorites and although we don’t live in Northern Italy, we get pretty good quality here in Tuscany that is shipped from up North. When making this at home, stick to the seasons and use the local radicchio variety for best results
Good To Know: The regional name for this lasagne is pasticcio di radicchio. Keep your eyes out for this on menus if you are in Northern Italy.
Lasagne Alla Napoletana
Where To Eat It: Naples (Campania)
(Pronounced lah-sahn-yah ahl-lah nah-poh-lee-tah-nah in Italian)
Lasagne alla Napoletana, sometimes called lasagne di Carnevale, is not everyone’s cup of tea but it couldn’t embody its home city of Naples more.
To make this lavish and rich lasagna, lasagne sheets are layered with fresh ricotta, the regional recipe for meat ragù, mini meatballs and hard-boiled eggs. Sounds strange? It kind of is but it’s good!
Traditionally, this kind of lasagna was made during the Carnival festivities as a special treat for locals who could typically not afford to eat so lavishly. Some varieties are made with the addition of mozzarella and local sausages.
If you are ever in Naples in the winter, keep your eyes peeled for this type of lasagna. I suggest ordering it in the winter, not the summer as it’s so heavy!
Where To Eat It: Le Marche
(Pronounced veen-chee-grahs-see in Italian)
Lasagna vincisgrassi is Le Marche’s most famous dish of all, beloved by all Italians. It still remains quite regional, meaning you won’t find it outside Le Marche but when you go there, you can’t miss it – it’s everywhere!
Vincisgrassi is made like most other layered lasagne dishes with béchamel but is set apart by the meat ragù recipe made with chicken giblets. Depending on the season, locals may add wild game for an ever richer and more earthy version (duck is a popular choice).
Don’t be afraid to order this for your kids if you are traveling in Le Marche. Don’t tell them there are chicken giblets and they won’t even realize!
Lasagne Alla Genovese
Where To Eat It: Genova (Liguria)
(Pronounced lah-sahn-yeh ahl-lah geh-noh-veh-seh in Italian)
If you like pesto, you are going to love this lasagne alla genovese, sometimes called lasagne al pesto e patate (with pesto and potatoes).
I was initially turned off by the idea of adding carbs to my carbs with potatoes in my pasta but the people from Genoa knew what they were doing.
Liguria is famous for their pesto, especially in Genoa, the region’s capital. While most tourists order the trofie al pesto (homemade pasta with pesto), I think this Italian lasagna is the real star. It’s also one of the most unique types of lasagna that you can recreate at home.
The potatoes add a creamy element and when paired with the rich béchamel , it’s truly decadent. Layers of fresh pasta are stacked with paper thin slices of cooked potatoes, white sauce, locally made pesto and parmesan cheese and baked until crisp.
Lasagne Con Melanzane E Ricotta
Where To Eat It: Sicily
(Pronounced lah-sahn-yeh cohn meh-lahn-zah-neh eh ree-coht-tah in Italian)
Sicilians love their eggplant and their version of lasagna is no exception to the rule. This eggplant and ricotta lasagne is made with the addition of thinly sliced eggplants layered with a mixture of ricotta cheese and pine nuts (Arabic influence coming in).
The best varieties are made when the eggplant is fried but it’s often made with broiled eggplant. I like both but the fried version is much more flavorful and rich, not surprisingly.
Some also add a tomato sauce into the layers, which is what I like to do as well.
Lasagne Ai Semi Di Papavero
Where To Eat It: Friuli-Venezia Giulia
(Pronounced lah-sahn-yeh ahy seh-mee dee pah-pah-veh-roh in Italian)
Lasagne ai semi di papavero is perhaps the strangest of all the types of lasagna that you will see in Italy. And why, you ask? Because it’s sweet!
Lasagne ai semi di papavero is made with fresh pasta sheets that are layered with a sweet mixture of poppy seeds, butter, and sugar.
Although traditionally sweet, it’s not uncommon to find savory versions as well with prosciutto crudo, leeks, and/or gorgonzola cheese
I honestly have never had this so I cannot vouch for this dish. I have seen it only once on a menu when I was in Friuli but I wasn’t brave enough to try it. Needless to say, I have never tried to make it at home either.
Bonus: Lasagne Con Le Verdure
Where To Eat It: Make it at home
Vegetable lasagna isn’t an actual recipe in Italy but rather, it’s more of a concept, and one that my family embodies 12 months a year. I add this as a bonus because it’s an idea that is adapted to the seasonal produce in Italy.
You may not see this on a menu but you might be served this at an Italian friends home while visiting.
Lasagne con le verdure is essentially a vegetarian lasagna made with whatever seasonal vegetables that tickle your fancy.
This variety is made by layering fresh egg pasta sheets with béchamel sauce, parmesan cheese and sauteed vegetables of your choice.
My family’s favorite combination is zucchini and carrots. I grate both and slowly sautée in olive oil until tender. I then layer this between the white sauce, cheese and fresh pasta sheets, sometimes adding bits of mozzarella that has been drained of excess liquid. It’s then baked until brown and we have a home run vegetarian dish ready in no time.
Types Of Lasagna – FAQ
In Italy, we can say there are eight main types of lasagne but in America, lasagna is usually categorized by ingredient: meat, vegetarian or cheese-based. In Italy, all versions have cheese and most are made with some kind of meat.
Lasagna in Italy refers to a baked casserole dish made with wide, flat pasta (often handmade with eggs) and layered with meat ragù, béchamel, cheese and/or vegetables. Types of lasagna differ from region to region in Italy and still today, primarily remain local to that particular region (for example, lasagne alla Napoletana is only made in Campania).
The best city in Italy for lasagna is Bologna in Emilia Romagna, home to the world-famous ragù alla bolognese, a rich meat sauce, characterized by the addition of cream. While Bologna is the origin city of lasagna, you can find extremely good lasagna throughout the entire region.
What makes lasagne such a popular meal in Italy is how simple it is. It may have several steps to compile, but the 3 main components of a lasagne are lasagna noodles, sauce and cheese.