How many Italian words for pasta?

OK you know spaghetti. And lasagne. How about Agnolotti and Bigoli? The Italians have just about as many words for pasta as the Eskimos have for snow. If you're like me, you get really confused with the pasta listed on the menu when you eat out. If you're not too embarassed to ask the waitress to describe the pasta, you then have the problem of the waitress giving you an accurate description. How do you describe shapes if they are all vaguely similar?

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the definitive pasta guide here (thanks to and Wikipedia):


  • Cavatappi
  • Cavatelli
  • Conchiglie
  • Farfalle
  • Fusilli
  • Gemelli
  • Gnocchi
  • Lumaconi
  • Orecchiette
  • Pappardelle
  • Pici
  • Radiatore
  • Rigatoni
  • Stringozzi
  • Strozzapreti
  • Tortellini
  • Trofie
  • Vermicelli
  • Penne
  • Orzo
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    About The Author

    Kenneth is Director of Euroasia. He is passionate about languages and cultures.