The Italian word zucca is used to describe both pumpkins and gourds. The varieties of pumpkin grown in Italy are typically the big orange pumpkins we carve on Halloween, as well as the dark green ones native to the north, such as marina di Chioggia. The quality and flavor of the pumpkin depends largely on the quality and nature of the terrain and soil. Even when they share soil, the flavor of pumpkins varies tremendously; two fruits from the same plant can be remarkably dissimilar in taste. Recipes and seasonings vary accordingly.

During the winter season, pumpkin is used for the filling of tortelli. Pumpkin is also used to flavor risotti, using a pumpkin broth and often a hefty serving of parmesan.