I am a list maker. Always have been and always will be. There’s something about checking off those boxes that makes me feel accomplished. Anyone else do this too? I tend to do this when I’m searching websites and links for information as well. I usually make a Pinterest board including all my trip ideas or save the links to a document for reference.
My parents recently hopped on a nice long flight over from Alaska. My mom has celiac, meaning that she cannot have anything with gluten in it (such as wheat, barley, rye). By now most people have heard of gluten intolerance or celiac so I won’t go deeply into the details here. So when my mom mentioned she wanted to go to Italy, I began searching restaurants and places we could go that have gluten free dishes. When I began my search my assumption was that Italy isn’t exactly the best place for someone with celiac, but from what I discovered I couldn’t be more wrong.
Before leaving for Italy, I found many blog posts that talk about having celiac in Italy, traveling with celiac, visiting Italy with celiac…basically all the same questions I had. What I concluded is that Italians are actually quite sensitive to celiac disease and children even get tested for it as a regular checkup. I also read and confirmed with a friend that you can bring your own gluten free pasta and they will cook it and do their best to find a sauce or something to go with it. Italians want you to enjoy your meal, even if that means you cannot have exactly what they offer on their menu. This is yet another reason I love Italy! Germans aren’t as inclined to change the menu. Maybe this has something to do with their need for order. I can attest to this, as I’ve experienced this first hand on many occasions.
The farmacia’s (drugstores in Italy) also have gluten free items. Many Italian dishes are naturally gluten free but you’ll just want to check the sauces or sides that accompany some dishes. Things like fresh seafood, meats, polenta, risotto (yum!), prosciutto, cheese, and salads without dressing are gluten free. We stopped by a Farmacia in Verona and nearly their entire upstairs was filled with yummy ‘sensa glutine’ options. I was really impressed with the quality of selection, and even more impressed at how tasty everything was.
The last night in Verona we stopped by a restaurant, Ponte Pietra, right next to the pedestrian bridge. The menu out front had all of the gluten free options with asterisks so we thought we’d try it out. Once we walked inside we noticed a balcony out back and asked to sit out there. Luckily they had room outside because the view overlooked the river and beyond, and was quite beautiful. The restaurant offered my mom some gluten free bread in addition to the normal table bread given, and even made a gluten free dessert for her as well (off the menu). It was a great end to our night and I couldn’t recommend this place enough. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos because by the last night we were all exhausted from traveling so much and just wanted to hang out! Yes, I was a terribly blogger on this last trip.
I found this very helpful link below for gluten free foods by Schaer. It lists all the locations that sell their gluten free items and there’s even a place in my town. A few blogs have mentioned this brand and we bought a few items. They did not disappoint! – Link to Schaer
Here are just a few links that I found to be very helpful in my quest for gluten free eating in Italy!
Her descriptions of the food she ate will make anyone, gluten free or not, want to eat everything she had!
There is a lot of information on this website and includes a few helpful phrases for travel.
This article discusses more in depth on why Italians are well versed with gluten allergies and also includes a long list of their own resources
Print a Gluten Free Restaurant Card
Visit this link at Celiactravel.com to print out your own restaurant card to bring with you!
In Florence (Firenze)
Gluten Free Patisserie – Located at viale Spartaco Lavagnini 2, Florence. (39) 055491884
There are many other gluten free blogs out there, but I wanted to share that I can confirm that it’s really not difficult to be gluten free among the land of bread and pasta. Honestly, it was much more difficult to eat gluten free when we arrived back in Germany.