Italy’s elusive white and black truffles are an iconic delicacy and we share the eight varieties to try on your Italy tour revolving around the country’s culinary heritage.
Nature’s bounty bursts throughout the Italian peninsula and the prized truffle is one of the country’s most sought-after foraged goods. White and black truffles hide in small quantities throughout Italy’s vibrant topography, populating rolling hills, speckling the soil along grand cliffs, and inhabiting the plentiful forests.
In this Italian truffle guide, we share what you need to know about the culinary favorite and which ones to try as you travel to hotspots across the country.
Truffle hunting in Italy involves dogs foraging for the delicacies, accompanied by truffle hunters.
Various breeds, including spaniels, beagles, and malinois, are typically chosen to uncover truffles in Italy as they do not harm or disturb the root structure of surrounding trees where truffles grow.
When visiting Italy on vacation, you can join truffle hunters and their trusted canine companions on truffle hunting tours in lush forests veiling the Italian peninsula. You can also participate in Italy’s famous truffle festivals to taste the decadent mushrooms.
The variety of truffles in the Italian wild can reach more than 100 species. The list below showcases the main, treasured truffles that you will hunt on truffle tours and try in dishes prepared by Italian chefs and gourmets.
1. Black Winter Truffle
Visitors to Italy may confuse this truffle with the iconic black truffle as it looks similar. However, it maintains a less pungent aroma and has a pleasant, smooth flavor. Hunters traverse the landscape in search of the truffle between January and March, making winter one of the best times to visit Italy for food tours showcasing the flavors of black and white truffles.
Where to Find Black Winter Truffles: Umbria • Piedmont • Emilia Romagna • Tuscany • Lazio • Abruzzo • Molise
2. Tartufo Moscato
Tartufo Moscato has a black rind with a spicy, intense aroma that is similar to muscat wine. Hunting season lasts from February to March, making a visit during these months the ideal time to taste its distinct flavor. Spreading across the Tuscan region, you can enjoy this truffle on Tuscany tours and vacations.
Where to Find Moscato Truffles: Piedmont • Tuscany • Umbria • Le Marche
3. Tartufo Bianchetto
The smooth, beige exterior of Tartufo Bianchetto gives it the appearance of white truffles, but the Marzuolo does not ripen the same way and has a distinct, but not intense, scent of sharp garlic. It is best harvested between February and April, especially in Emilia-Romagna, meaning Emilia-Romagna itineraries can reveal the depth of this mushroom's flavors.
Where to Find Bianchetto Truffles: Emilia Romagna • Tuscany • Umbria • Marche • Lazio • Campania • Molise
4. Tartufo Nero Liscio
This rare species of black truffle has an aroma similar to white truffles, but with a more robust, garlicky flavor that lingers when used in specific Italian dishes. It is best picked between August and September, specifically in Piedmont, a region you can explore on northern Italy tours and vacations.
Where to Find Nero Liscio Truffles: Piedmont
5. Tartufo Estivo o Scorzone (Summer Truffle)
This common black truffle has a rounded shape with brown and black skin, and presents fruity notes similar to that of the burgundy truffle. Its delicate scent and familiar shape are similar to porcini mushrooms. You can typically tuck into the ripest truffles in July during tours of the best cities in Tuscany for food.
Where to Find Summer Truffles: Tuscany • Piedmont
6. Tartufo Nero di Fragno (Winter Scorzone)
The dark flesh makes the Winter Scorzone reminiscent of the burgundy truffle, but with an intense hazelnut aroma. They are harvested from September to late December, but can sometimes be picked until late January. Besides being found across northern Italy, you can try them locally grown in Molise on southern Italy tours and vacations.
Where to Find Winter Scorzone Truffles: Umbria • Piedmont • Emilia Romagna • Tuscany • Lazio • Abruzzo • Molise
7. Black Truffle
The black truffle is the second-most commercially valuable truffle species and known locally as Tartufo Nero Pregiato or Tartufo di Norcia. It is round with a dark brown body and black-brown skin, and emits an aroma reminiscent of undergrowth, strawberries, and wet soil. The black truffle typically grows with oak, hazel, or hornbeam trees between November and mid-March, a great time of the year to visit southern Italy and towns in Molise.
Where to Find Black Truffles: Piedmont • Marche • Molise
8. White Truffle
The white Piedmont truffle is one of the rarest Italian truffle species and is an expensive luxury referred to as “White Diamond”. Their irregular shape features a beige surface that ages to brown and provides a musky scent filled with garlic, honey, and butter. They grow symbiotically with oak, hazel, willow, beech, and poplar trees between September and November, some of the best times to visit northern Italy.
Where to Find White Truffles: Piedmont • Tuscany • Umbria • Lazio
Whether you wish to visit Italy to partake in truffle-hunting tours on the emerald hills of Umbria or indulge in the rich flavors of Bologna cuisine, find inspiration for your trip and enjoy the best truffles to try in Italy on Italy food tours and vacations.
If you wish to learn more about Italy’s breathtaking regions and culinary traditions, feel free to explore our Italy food and wine travel guide.