Cheese lover? If you’re looking for a second home in Italy then look no further than this list.
Italy has 23 towns that have been awarded so far for their dairy and gastronomic excellence by ONAF, the National Organisation of Cheese Tasters that was set up with the aim of promoting the qualities of Italian cheeses to an increasingly wide and well-informed public through cheese tasting.
They have created this list of the “Città del Formaggio” (cheese towns) that identify those places that are culturally and economically home to cheese production and promotional events in this market which are also relevant in their social context.
The first ‘cheese destination’ of Italy
The first municipality to be awarded in 2020 was Santo Stefano Quisquina, in the province of Agrigento, Sicily. It gives its name to a well-known PAT cheese (traditional agri-food product) and is home to companies that process the milk of animals living in the picturesque pastures of the Sicani Mountains. Cheese production here is part of the local culture so that each year they organize a food festival (sagra) dedicated to the cheese.
The most recent award winning ‘cheese town’ of Italy
Vallo di Nera, a medieval hamlet set in the evocative scenery in lower Umbria, has been the most recent town to receive this prestigious award in August 2023 and also the only one in the region.
The Valnerina area and Umbria in general are known for their selection of fine cheeses that fully express the essence of the territory. The award given to Vallo di Nera is a tribute not only to this village but also to all the local companies that contribute to cheese production and meet annually in the heart of this small castle town that hosts ‘Fior di Cacio’ cheese festival which has become a landmark in the Umbrian gastronomic scene. It celebrates the art of artisanal cheese-making and its authentic flavours.
Among the dairy treasures are for example its ‘Pecorino a latte crudo’ and ‘Caciottone Misto’.
List of the ‘cheese towns’ of Italy
Besides Santo Stefano Quisquina and Vallo di Nera, here are the other ‘cheese towns’ of Italy.
Cheese towns of Italy awarded in 2021
- Bergamo (Lombardy)
- Bracciano and surroundings (Rome area, Lazio region)
- Novara di Sicilia (Sicily)
Cheese towns of Italy awarded in 2022
- Agerola (Napoli area, Campania region)
- Asiago (Veneto)
- Borgo Valbelluna (Veneto)
- Capaccio Paestum (Campania)
- Enna (Sicily)
- Forlimpopoli (Emilia-Romagna)
- Gioia del Colle (Puglia)
- Melle (Piedmont)
- Pandino (Lombardy)
- Perosa Argentina (Piedmont)
- Roccaverano (Piedmont)
Cheese towns of Italy awarded in 2023
- Alvignano (Campania)
- Farindola (Abruzzo)
- Genova (Liguria)
- Godrano (Sicily)
- Istrana (Veneto)
- Manciano (Tuscany)
- Morbegno (Lombardy)