Italian cuisine is food typically from Italy. It has developed through centuries of social and economical changes, with roots stretching to antiquity.
Significant changes occured with the discovery of the New World and the introduction of potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, maize and sugar beet, this last introduced in quantity in the 18th century. Italian cuisine in known for its regional diversity, especially between the north and the south of the Italian peninsula. It offers an abundance of taste, and is one of the most popular and copied in the world.
It influenced several cuisines around the world chiefly that of the United States.
Italian cuisine is generally characterised by its simplicity, with many dishes having only two to four main ingredients.
Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preperation.
Ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many dishes that were once regional, have proliferated with variations throughout the country.