Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE.
Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century.Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity,abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world, with influences abroad.
Italian cuisine is characterized by its extreme simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients.
Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.
Ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated with variations throughout the country.