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(Note: lumache are also a broad, tubular pasta shape that vaguely resembles a snail)

Snails are more common up north; Lombards cook them with the typical accompaniments of garlic and parsley, or add spinach and onion to make a sauce ('in umido'). There is a smilar dish in Tuscany, where snails are called chiocciole.

Romans do them up simply with cherry tomatoes, mint and basil. In Calabria they're put in a stew with tomatoes, oregano and peperoncini. Around Italy you'll find cooks that put them on pasta and even in risottos.

In Sicily snails are called babbaluci. The Sards have been chasing them for millennia; piles of shells are always found at Neolithic settlements. Different corners of the island have over a dozen names for snails, including sizzigorrus, which seems to suit them perfectly.

lumache, lumachine di mare: chiocciole di mare, sea snails

An annual Sagra della Lumaca takes place in Valmontone in Lazio at the end of June, with snail dishes, sports, music and dances.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Gilberto Santa Rosa