Italy for Eaters:

From Sicily to Milan, Silvia Marchetti explores nine cities that will "destroy your waistline."

This article, written by Silvia Marchetti, appears on CNN.

Movie legend has it that when Robert De Niro needed to gain more than 27 kilograms to play an aging Jake LaMotta in “Raging Bull,” he called on a country he knew could help.


OK, France also lent a hand, but with its piles of pasta and ice cream, Italy is practically built for elastic waistbands.

While the so-called Mediterranean diet tends to be relatively healthy, some of it’s as calorific as it is tasty.

Anyone wanting to visit Italy but stay slim might want to avoid the following:

Randazzo, Sicily

This picturesque medieval town at the foot of Mount Etna has given birth to a divine cult of granita — a slushy and ice-cream hybrid that Sicilians call their own.

The dish traces its origins to Randazzo residents of years past mixing fruit juice with snow from Etna.

Yes, it has its imitators, but Sicilian granita is without equal.

This is a dense mixture of sugar and water, mixed with locally grown pistachios, toasted almonds and the best seasonal fruit — mandarin oranges, figs, cactus figs or mulberries.

Or, for flavor purists, just lemon or coffee.

Tourists eat it like a sandwich, served inside a brioscia con tuppo — a brioche bun shaped like a ball with a round “hairpiece” on top.

Locals have their own ritual.

They use the brioscia as a spoon.

And it’s not dessert but lunch.

It melts in the mouth quickly, but has lasting aftereffects.

After tasting granita, all other gelati will seem inferior.

Pile it on: Musumeci is an artisan pastry shop. Piazza Santa Maria 5 Ransazzi; +39 095 921196 

Sleep it off: Shalai Resort is a restyled historical mansion. Via Guglielmo Marconi 25, Linguaglossa; +39 095643128

Caserta, Campania

Yes, it’s known as a stronghold of the local Camorra mafia, but Caserta has a much more savory claim to fame.

It’s the home of the best mozzarella in Italy — and therefore the world.

This is the real one, made with buffalo — not cow — milk. Read more at CNN.

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