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These Are the 10 Best (And Oldest) Trattorias in Italy

At these historic Italian restaurants, every delicious meal comes with a hearty serving of history.

Italy is an ancient country, where one of the main activities has always been to “mangiare, mangiare, mangiare” (eat, eat, eat) delicious and traditional dishes handed down across centuries. So, it comes as no surprise that there are dozens of trattorias serving guests a slice of history. Some of  Italy’s oldest restaurants date back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance–here are 10 to have on your radar.

1 OF 10

Osteria Antico Dolo

WHERE: Venice

Located in the Rialto Bridge market area, in the beating heart of Venice, was once part of a 15th-century brothel. Energy-packed food was served to exhausted post-coitus clients to get the money and the business going. Then in 1434, it was turned into a bàcaro, a typical Venetian tavern tucked away in a traditional calle alley. It still offers today what for centuries has been the real specialty of the place: tripe with different types of offals boiled according to an ancient recipe. It pairs perfectly with dry white wine from nearby Dolo, a splendid town on the Brenta Riviera.

2 OF 10

Osteria dell’Agnolo

WHERE: Florence

Gourmands of traditional Florentine recipes must come eat at Osteria dell’Agnolo. After roaming the Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery, getting lost in the maze of leather markets, you’ll be starving, and this place will satiate your hunger. Located in an ancient building that is far from being classy but rather humble and no-frills, it’s been open since 1580. Iconic local dishes are huge Chianina beef steaks (the animal is born and bred in the Tuscan countryside), savory lampredotto cow stomachs, handmade pici pasta, and ribollita soup. The restaurant serves the sort of nonna recipes locals adore and regularly stuff themselves with.

3 OF 10

Ristorante Corona

WHERE: San Sebastiano Curone, Liguria

Ristorante Corona is located in the offbeat hamlet of San Sebastiano Curone on Liguria’s wild hills. The “core” dates back to the Ancient Roman Empire, when it started as an inn on the “Via del sale” (the Salt Route), which for centuries, until the 1700s, connected Genoa to northern Italy for the transport of salt. Dishes on the menu include all sorts of handmade ravioli and gnocchi. There’s also an artisan gelateria and a bar for a quick post-meal, adrenaline-booster espresso to keep you awake even though that bloated belly calls for rest. Try not to succumb to pisolino (nap), something Italians excel at.

4 OF 10

Antica Trattoria Poste Vecie

WHERE: Venice

This restaurant in Venice used to be an old busy post office building that dates back to the Renaissance. Tucked away and hidden amid the canals, as per typical Venetian style, you must cross a narrow bridge in order to enter. There’s a dreamy vibe, a rich décor with frescos depicting the seven deadly sins, and ancient stone fireplaces where eaters would gather during cold winter nights to better digest their abundant meals. Old letters, stamps, and coins are pasted on walls. It’s seafood heaven, with the daily catch from the Lagoon: you can pick lobsters, scallops served in their shells, or spaghetti with squid ink.

5 OF 10

Ristorante Buca San Giovanni

WHERE: Florence

Prepare for a mystical meal. This establishment is located inside a 14th-century Florentine church’s underground crypt, with stone archways and religious imagery.

It’s like dining inside a cave. Buca in Italian means “hole.” Local lore has it was also a hiding place for the meetings of a local secret society, whose members would talk politics while indulging in quick meals. The cuisine is a mix of modern and classical, such as risotto with celery mousse and t-bone steak with marron glacés. Oh, if you’re claustrophobic, don’t fret: there’s an upper outdoor patio with views of the Duomo.

6 OF 10

Al Brindisi

WHERE: Ferrara

Wine lovers can’t miss this one. Located in Ferrara, in a narrow alley crushed against the cathedral, Al Brindisi is where everyone goes for a glass of heady red wine paired with cold cuts and cheese appetizers. In the past, it was also accessible by boat.

It boasts a Guinness World Record: the place has been serving meals since the 12th century, making it apparently the world’s oldest tavern. The first clients were the workers building the Duomo. In 1435 it was known as the Hostaria del Chiuchiolino (from chiù, a contraction of ciucco, meaning “drunk”). Surrounded by empty old bottles, it is said this is where astrologist Copernicus figured out the sun was at the center of the universe, not the Earth.

7 OF 10

Antica Locanda Mincio

WHERE: Borghetto

For a thrilling gastronomic experience in an atmosphere from another era, step into this 1400s tavern in the picturesque ancient stone hamlet of Borghetto, near Verona. It’s set along the banks of the fairy-tale-like Mincio River, surrounded by exotic trees and plants. Waterfront tables are al fresco under the shade of willow trees. Inside are fancy frescoes, a decorated wooden beam ceiling, and secret undergrounds that the owners claim are the ruins of a rudimentary tavern founded by the Templars to feed pilgrims. The top dishes are agnoli–a stuffed pasta covered in butter–and ravioli with duck and black truffle.

8 OF 10

La Campana


Dating back over 500 years, family-run La Campana is a traditional Roman trattoria tucked in an alleyway behind the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The owners claim it is the Eternal City’s oldest restaurant. The place started as a winery and then an inn for travelers and pilgrims going to see the Pope. Try fasting for two days before rushing here. You’ll be stuffing yourself with Rome’s iconic dishes such as fried artichokes alla Guidia, tagliolini pasta with fresh anchovies, and coda alla vaccinara–a yummy oxtail and vegetable stew so tender you can lick off the cartilage all the way to the bone.

9 OF 10

Osteria La Muda

WHERE: Treviso

It’s a gourmet Alpine chalet hailing back to 1470 that has weathered centuries of bitter winters, strong of the authority behind it. Set between the green rolling hills of Treviso’s Prosecco vineyards and the tall pinkish Dolomites, this hostaria was once an inn for passers-by and a customs house where traders paid duty on the goods transported across the Alpine border such as wine, salt, and fruit. It is the oldest trattoria in the Veneto region. The original, cozy wooden-and-stone decor has been maintained, and all food and ingredients are locally sourced from farmers. Ricotta-filled gnocchi and rabbit are the top dishes.

10 OF 10

Albergaccio Villa Machiavelli

WHERE: Tuscany

Albergaccio Villa Machiavelli is no ordinary historical tavern. Open since 1470, it wasn’t just a Tuscan rural postal station where travelers, knights, and disguised outlaws rested overnight with their horses. It’s where Italy’s most devilish statesman went to get drunk and find inspiration. Niccolò Machiavelli, the author of The Prince, killed time here in the company of prostitutes, butchers, and gamblers. Through an underground tunnel, today a wine canteen, he’d sneak away back to the adjacent building, which was his family farmhouse. The must-dish is the huge Chianina beef steak, so big it overspills the plate and takes two people to finish it up.