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pumpkin, squash or gourd

Confusingly, either zucca or zucchetta can mean any number of varities of squash, pumpkin and decorative gourd. They're a standby all over Italy, in soups, pies and tarts, and especially as a filling for pasta, such as Mantua's tortelli di zucca. The flowers, like those of courgettes, are popular stuffed with ricotta and deep-fried: fiori di zucche.

barucca veneta: big, round, yellow and gnarly (the name means 'warty') but a favourite in the kitchen.

berettina piacentina: grey-green, looks like it's wearing a beret.

bottiglia del pellegrino: 'pilgrim's bottle'. The only native Italian gourd, this was indeed used as a container for liquids in the old days.

pumpkin padana: beautiful orange and geren stripes.

serpente di Sicilia: see cucuzza.

zucca cedrina: white fleshed pumpkin, similar to the anguria bianca and often used to make jam.

zucca delica: green, round or slightly flattened pumpkin.

zucca di Albenga, or tromba, trombetta di Albenga: huge, elongated green or orange squash.

zucca di inverno: big tan-coloured variety that will keep in a dry place through the winter.

zucca di Maura grigia: grey, one of the biggest (up to 35 kilos).

zucca di Napoli: long, green or light orange and hourglass-shaped.

zucca marina di Chioggia: a big bluish, ugly, lumpy pumpkin, considered by many the best for cooking.

zucca violino: round orange squash.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: vegitalyguide