Italianismi – Pasta: a truly Italian Passion

“Italianismi nel mondo” is a project by Casa Artusi in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Five thematic videos cover pasta, coffee, pizza, dialects, and phenomena of linguistic and gastronomic counterfeiting, vividly illustrating how Italian linguistic culture expresses the essence of Italian taste.

In this chapter of the series Italianismi nel mondo, Monica Alba, recounts that extraordinary journey that made pasta, and its designations, the quintessential symbol of national gastronomic identity.

Italian pasta, like maccheroni and ravioli, has been a staple in the diet since the Middle Ages, as seen in Boccaccio’s Decameron. Maccheroni and ravioli are highlighted in the imaginary land of Bengodi. Maccheroni, evolving from ‘gnocchi,’ took on various shapes across regions with unclear etymology. Its export to Spain, France, and England occurred in the 15th-16th centuries. Ravioli’s history dates back to the 14th-century Riccardiano 1071 manuscript, possibly originating from Genoese terms or having a Venetian connection. ‘Raviolo’ initially referred to the filling, and the distinction between tortelli and ravioli emerged in the 19th century.


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