Tomatoes in Italy: Symbol of Culinary Heritage and Cultural Identity

Tomatoes are an integral part of Italian cuisine and social culture.

There are approximately 300 different varieties of tomatoes grown in Italy, which underscores their importance in local gastronomy.

The most popular varieties of tomatoes are:

Raspberry, San Marzano, Plum, Cherry, Beefsteak i Oxheart.

Tomatoes are an integral element of Italian cuisine, social culture, and the identity of Italians, although contrary to belief, they do not originate from Italy or even Europe.

History of tomato

The tomato originates from America, specifically from the regions of present-day Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. Initially, tomatoes were golden in color and highly valued by the Aztecs and Incas.

It wasn’t until the 16th century that tomatoes were brought to Europe by the Spaniards, and they reached the territories of present-day Italy in 1503 during the partition of the Kingdom of Naples by France and Spain.


Tomatoes are used in many traditional Italian dishes, such as spaghetti alla puttanesca, bruschetta, and caprese, due to their unique flavor, juiciness, and versatility. Tomatoes add a rich aroma and depth of flavor to these dishes.


A small-town, juicy tomato with an intense flavor and aroma.

San Marzano

A long, meaty tomato, often used for making sauces due to its low water content and exceptional flavor.


Long and narrow tomatoes with an intense flavor, perfect for cooking and preserving.


Small, round tomatoes, sweet and juicy, often eaten raw in salads or as a snack.


A large, meaty tomato with an intense flavor, perfect for slicing for salads and sandwiches.


A tomato shaped like a heart, juicy and aromatic, often used for making preserves and sauces.

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