All you need to know about apples in Italy: the most popular types, apple growing regions of Italy and fun facts about Italian apples.
When you think of Italian food, chances are your mind wanders towards pasta or possibly specialty productions such as parmesan or parma ham.
These are important Italian delicacies; however, there is another quality food Italy produces in significant amounts: apples!
Apples are Italy’s largest crop: Italian trees produce over 2.000.000 tons of apples of different types each year.
This amount means Italy is the second larger producer of apples in the EU – the largest is Poland.
Italy is also the EU’s largest grower of organic apples, which account for over 9% of the total.
I bet this was a fun fact about Italian food you did not know!
Italian apples are delicious: they come in several varieties and they grow in different regions.
Today, we look at the most popular types of apples in Italy, the region where they grow and we are going to close with a link to my favorite recipe to make an Italian apple cake!
Most popular types of apples in Italy
|Type of Apple / Name||Italian Region of Production|
|Golden Delicious||Trentino, Alto Adige, Lombardy|
|Braeburn||Alto Adige, Piedmont|
|Fuji||Trentino, Alto Adige, Piedmont|
|Gala||Trentino, Alto Adige, Lombardy, Piedmont|
|Gloster||Trentino Alto Adige|
|Granny Smith||Trentino, Alto Adige|
|Morgenduft||Trentino, Alto Adige|
|Red Delicious||Trentino, Alto Adige, Lombardy, Piedmont|
|Steiman Winesap||Alto Adige|
|Pinova||Trentino, Alto Adige|
Slow-food certified apples of Italy
As well as well-known and internationally available apple varieties such as Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths, Italy also produces special types of apples unique to some localities and certified by the ‘Presidio Slow Food’ quality mark.
These are ancient types of apples have characteristics that are unique to the terroir they originate from, are of high nutritional quality and taste and carefully protected in terms of cultivation techniques.
Among the several, you may know ‘antiche mele dell’Alto Friuli’ (from Friuli Venezia Giulia), Mele dei Monti Sibillini (from Lazio), Antiche mele del Trenitno (Trentino Alto Adige), Antiche mele dell’Etna (Sicily) and Antiche mele Piemontesi (Piedmont).
Popular apple varieties in Italy
Golden delicious apples are the most popular yellow apples in Italy.
Their most famous production area is Val di Non, in Trentino; however, they grow extensively in Alto Adige and Lombardy too.
Golden delicious apples have yellow skin, sweet taste and crunchy consistency: they can be used for eating and cooking.
Fun fact! Apple trees make wonderful blossoms that make Trentino one of the best areas to see flowers in Italy!
Red delicious is the most popular type of eating apple in Italy.
Characterized by smooth, deep red skin, Red delicious apples are sweet, juicy and are delicious eaten raw or in cooked dishes such as pies.
Granny Smith apples
Granny Smith apples are not originally from Italy; however, they grow well in Trentino Alto Adige, where they mature towards the end of the apple season, in late October.
Granny Smith Apples have green skin, very crunchy pulp and a distinctive acidic yet pleasant taste.
Due to their low sugar level, they are popular with people on low0sugar diets or in pies.
Royal Gala apples
Royal Gala apples are very popular red apples.
Ready from mid-August, they are red apples with a crunchy, sweet and juicy taste with minimal acidity.
Born from crossing Golden Delicious and Kidd’s Orange varieties and originally from New Zealand, gala apples grow well in Italy and are popular as easting apples and in apple smoothies especially.
Annurca Apples are a popular variety of apple from the South of Italy, Campania especially.
Small, round and with red skin with delicate yellow stripes, it is one of the most ancient apples in Italy and seems to have been mentioned by Pliny the Elderly in the I century AD!
Crunchy and juicy, annurca apples are popular as easing apples (alone or in salads) and they can successfully be used for is and cakes.
Fuji apples are originally from Japan, where they have been grown since the 1930s, but found excellent growing grounds in the north of Italy, where they now grow in abundance.
Their skin is red with yellow-green veins and their pulp is firm and crunchy. Their taste is aromatic and makes them popular as eating apples and for apples pies and fritters.
Pink lady apples are born as a combination of Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples have beautiful red and white skin.
Juicy, sweet, only slightly acidic and crunchy, they are among the most popular eating apples in Italy but they also work well in cakes and pies.
Renetta apples are a particular type of apples growing in Trentino with wrinkly skin of yellow-ish color.
Sweet, not too juicy nor too acidic, you can eat them raw but excel when cooked: they are the apple of choice for pies and strudel and one of the most beloved cooking apples in Italy.
Born from mixing Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton apples, Braebrin apples have light red skin and a sweet yet slightly acidic taste.
They are very popular as an accompaniment to savory dishes such as salads or cheese boards.
Morgenduirf means ‘morning dew’ and this name picks up on the main characteristic of this apple; its refreshing properties!
Morgendurf apples have red, delicately striped skin, crunchy pulp and a not-so-sweet, acidic taste that makes it popular as eating apple, especially after sports.
Pinova Apples are very sweet apples with distinctive red and yellow skin.
They are born from combining Clivia and Golden Delicious apples and have a crunchy, juicy and compact texture that makes them especially popular as an eating apple.
As their name suggests, Jonagold Apples are born from combining Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples.
They have red skin with yellow patched around the pitch and a sweet yet refreshing taste that makes them especially popular for smoothies and blends.
Gloster apples are red apples with an aromatic taste and crunchy pulp. Growers love them because their trees are resistant to spring frost and produce abundant crops.
Eaten raw, they are exceptionally juicy, sweet with a touch of acidity.
Elstar apples are a variety made by crossing Ingrid Mari and Golden Delicious apples.
Ready from late august, they have yellow skin with red areas and a juicy, sweet and aromatic taste. They can be eaten raw or cooked.
Steineman Weisap Apples
People who know apples consider the Steinman among the best of the best.
Slight asymmetrical in shape and with slightly bumpy skin, the Steinman has a crunchy pulp, a very aromatic taste and it is sai dot have relaxing properties!
Campanina Apple (Mela Campanina)
Mela Campanina grows in Emilia Romagna and more precisely in the area of Modena.
Also known as ‘mela della nonna’ (granma’s apple), this variety has been cultivated in the area for many years: its characteristics are small-ish fruits, yellow-green skin and sweet yet slightly acidic taste.
Campanina apples are delicious eating raw but are even more popular for making jams and preserves.
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of the apples of Italy! Buon appetito!