RE: Regional Italian
Absolutely right, Tony.. the same goes for a Greek, who if you asked was Turkish they would never speak to you again. But that's all just politics, like with the Scots and the Welsh.
Truth is, Sicily tends to use more of ingredients like eggplant and peppers, but also some typical North African touches like saffron and couscous. A few of their signature dushes include Pasta alla Norma, which is fried eggplant incorporated into tomato sauce and Pasta con Sarde, with sardines. Their cuisine uses many Middle Eastern touches, most evident in their pastries with almond paste, pistachios, rose water and/or orange blossom water. They have even been known to create a sweet "cuscus" made entirely from ground pistachios.
Neapolitan cuisine is equally known for it's rustic fare, though incorporated mainly by Spanish influences for their heavy use of tomatoes and peperoncino. Of course, this influence on their magnificent dolce is also quite profound. Pastry cream is a must anywhere in Naples, and used to fill numerous cakes and desserts. One particular treat is a stiff crema, more like a cheesecake, cut into pieces, floured and fried. A coronary nightmare, but well worth the experience!!! Their famous seasonal favorites are about as favored as Sicily's, and include sfogliatelle, pastiera (Neapolitan Easter Wheat and Ricotta cake), and baba au rhum, brought over by the French who originally adapted it from Poland.