How to Eat Gluten-Free in Italy

Could you imagine anything worse than a two week trip in Italy without being able to eat pizza and pasta?! I have a hard time wrapping my brain around such a concept, and an even harder time knowing why someone would consider a trip to the land of “BEST. FOOD. EVER.”, if they couldn’t eat most of it.  

Such was almost the case of a recent trip to Italy that I planned. I believe that food is an integral part of any vacation, and I knew that some research and planning needed to be done so that this trip to Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome could be vegetarian and sans gluten— yet still amazing in the foodie department. 

If you live in southern California like I do, you might think that being a gluten-free vegetarian is no big deal when eating out.  We cater to that like we cater to people who like hamburgers.  In fact, I choose gluten-free option sometimes just because I happen to prefer the taste at a few of my favorite restaurants.  Crazy, I know. 

But small towns in Italy are not like Los Angeles. Their Venice and our Venice cater to very different types of eaters! Up until recently it would be virtually impossible to walk into a restaurant and ask for their gluten-free options without getting told off in Italian I presume.  But times are changing and Italy has joined in.

As part of my custom and creative itinerary for their Italy vacation, I created a list of the best gluten-free restaurants available in each location, and reservations at some of the more popular ones, like Ciro & Sons in Florence, that happens to have won 1st Place in the World Championship for Gluten-Free Pizza! Certain restaurants, like this one require reservations if you plan on ordering their gluten-free pizza and I wanted to make sure my clients got in on that goodness!

But one of my favorite things we were able to plan and schedule for them, was a private cooking class in the home of a chef that allowed for a gluten-free, vegetarian menu— completely catering to their tastes and dietary needs.  For four hours they were able to learn how to make authentic Italian dishes that they could actually replicate at home, and enjoy some delicious Italian wine in warm and personal setting. 

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It’s moments like these that are possible when you work with someone who wants to understand and know you on a personal level. Travel planning should always include your special needs and desires. I work hard to make the very best moments of your trip a reality, and I happen to believe that should always include the ability to eat pizza and pasta in Italy— with or without gluten!

If you would like to customize a trip to Italy, full of all the things that would make it perfect for YOU, please contact me to discuss your dream trip!

p.s. In case you are interested in a sampling of the gluten-free friendly restaurants I found in Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome, click here to download that list.