Modern cultivation of the plant began in the fifteenth century in the Veneto region of Italy. The varieties of radicchio are named after the Italian regions where they originate. Radicchio farmers in the Veneto region have sought to have Protected Geographical Status applied to the names of these radicchio varieties to keep them tied to their original growing regions. Chioggia is the most common variety grown and identified in the United States with its maroon, round, grapefruit-size heads. Treviso is an elongated version of radicchio resembling a large Belgian endive, or a red romaine heart. Tardivo and Castelfranco resemble ‘flowers’ and are only available in winter months.
Radicchio is quite popular in Italy, and is gaining popularity around the United States for its versatility and nutrition. Radicchio is high in antioxidants, loaded with fiber, and contains high levels of Vitamins B, C, and K.