It’s not hard to find gluten-free pasta or food in Italy despite what you’d think, with this being the land of pizza and pasta. Being diagnosed celiac or being sensitive to gluten is more and more common, and with that has come a greater awareness in Italy toward the needs of those who follow a gluten-free diet. This is good news if you’re traveling in Italy and cannot eat gluten. With a bit of organization and basic information, don’t worry – you won’t have to miss out on any of the fun! Here’s some guidelines of what and where to eat gluten-free in the main Italian cities.
This article is based on personal experience: we are Chiara and Gaia and we have a non-profit cultural association called Cucina Giramondo Senza Glutine, loosely translated as “Eating around the world without gluten”. This project comes from a combination of our different experiences and our common love for cooking. Gaia’s daughter was diagnosed at age one with celiac disease and now is twelve and adores her mom’s numerous breads, sweets and gluten-free pasta, a passion that was born of necessity but became something of an obsession. Gaia is the traveling foodblogger of our duo. Together, we organize gluten-free events and cooking courses in Florence, with a desire to prove that eating gluten-free isn’t a death sentence.
What to eat gluten-free in Italy: not just gluten free pasta
Where to eat and what to choose? You’re always safe in a bakery or pastry shop that is dedicated to gluten-free options, while it’s pretty hard to find places that offer traditional and gluten-free solutions in one place since it’s hard to avoid contamination – as you know, gluten-free products need to be sealed.
Which restaurants? The Associazione Italiana Celiachia (AIC) provides a website called Alimentazione Fuori Casa with a listing of certified restaurants where you can be sure to eat safely (the website is, however, in Italian). There are also numerous blogs with tips on where to eat gluten free in Italy; we love the map made by Gluten Free Travel And Living.
If you’re eating somewhere that is not on the AIC’s list, you’re going to have to be ready to assert your needs and ask as many questions as you have to. If you’re getting vague answers, we recommend walking away. Luckily, most restaurants are happy to accommodate you, but appreciate advance warning. Pizza places that have gluten-free pizza require 1-2 days advance notice to make the dough just for you.
Where to eat gluten-free in the main cities in Italy
The list below is based on personal experience – we’ve tested them! We also have good news for you: wine is always gluten-free (though beer isn’t, unless certified as such).
- Glu-Free Bakery (in the main photo) – this bakery is Celiac paradise but even people who can eat normal pastries love it. There is so much good stuff, bread, pizza, stuffed fried rice balls… the croissant is truly notable, a rare case of a truly crumbly one with no aftertaste.
- Le Specialità – An excellent pizza place, though not cheap
- Mama Eat – Come for the pizza, stay for the amazing fried vegetables and mozzarella sticks! Traditional roman pasta dishes amatriciana and carbonara are also available to you.
- Napoleoni – a historic pastry shop with gluten free options
- Pandalì – This simply decorated bakery offers bread, cookies, filled pizza, fried stuff and sweets made with locally-source, stone ground flour. Best of all it’s a good place for a casual lunch or take-out.
- Croquembouche – artisinal pastry and gelato shop with a thousand amazing options including macarons and mini sacher tarts!
- Pasticceria Gualtieri – this historic pastry shop has vegan and gluten free options
- Bottega Artigiana del Gusto – Many dishes here are naturally gluten free!
- La Sorbettiera – a super artisan gelato shop in piazza tasso with seasonal treats (and yes you can eat it!)
- Our favourite pizzerias are: Ti Do una Pizza, Ciro & Sons and Pizza Man.
Gluten-free Palermo (Sicily)
- Fud Bottega Sicula – a central sandwich shop
- Rascagni – bakery and pastry shop
- Pizzeria Mascagni – traditional pizza napoletana
We’re very fortunate that Italian restaurants are becoming more and more sensitive to food allergies in general, and gluten-intolerance specifically. This means that, with most places offering gluten-free pasta, pizza, bread and other options, you can safely travel in Italy and fully enjoy its gastronomic goodness!