(CNN)Movie legend has it that when Robert De Niro needed to gain about 60 pounds 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 nine places:
1. Randazzo, Sicily
It’s too hot for snow-capped mountains, and they’re not famous for timekeeping, so why is this place known as Italy’s little Switzerland?
One word: Chocolate.
Chocolate here is a family passion going back generations. It’s still made using the same technique: by hand and in cold temperatures. The lack of industrial processes — just the same techniques used by the Aztecs — makes it unique.
The Baroque setting, with gargoyles jutting out of elegant palazzos, enhances the experience. The chocolate contains lumps of hard sugar that give it bite. It’s salty, with a rough edge and floury consistency.
Locals call it “glass chocolate.”
Pile it on: Caffe dell’Arte is a historical patisserie that makes chocolate variants with pistachio, vanilla, chili pepper, salt, cinnamon and bergamot. C.so Umberto 114, Modica; +39 0932 943257