Many people dream of dining in Italy, twirling their forks on a delicious pasta bolognese or eating an entire Neapolitan pizza. But those dreams can quickly turn to nightmares for those with celiac or gluten intolerance. Pizza, pasta, lasagne, bread...is there any way to eat gluten-free in Italy and still enjoy yourself?
Fortunately, yes! Prontopia recruiting manager Flavia lives in Rome and was diagnosed with Celiac 10 years ago. Here she provides expert tips on how to eat gluten-free in Rome and the rest of Italy.
If you’re celiac living in Rome, Prontopia is here for you! We can shop and deliver from Vivi senza glutine Roma to ensure you have everything you need to cook delicious, gluten-free meals any time! If you’re visiting Rome, our Prontopia locals can also help you find the best gluten-free restaurants, bars and shops near your hotel or vacation rental.
Flavia’s advice for a great Gluten-Free trip to Italy: "Italy can be scary for someone with celiac disease. It was scary for me, when I got the diagnosis, ten years ago. My advice is: don’t panic, just come prepared! Because if you are prepared, you will have some of the best food experience in Rome and nothing to envy to the gluten-eaters."
It is said "SENZA GLUTINE", pronounced /ˈsɛn.t͡sa 'glutine/.
In the supermarket;
In a pharmacy (not fresh food);
In a bar (not always, you need to ask);
In Restaurants (some are certified, other they provide gluten free meals).
There is “Gluten Free” or “Senza Glutine” indication on the package
There is this symbol on the package
An entire GF department in a supermarket
Ask people for assistance
In Italy, all celiac people with a diagnosis have a stipend of 90 euros per month (more or less, depending on the age, on the sex, and region) to spend on gluten-free products from the Health Department.
We can spend it only in Pharmacies or GF specialized stores. But how can you find these stores (and even hotels, b&b and Restaurants that offer a complete and safe gluten free experience)?
The Italian Coeliac Association, AIC, is in charge of celiac people, the process of their diagnosis, info about their health, practical issues related to the coeliac disease and the approval of dedicated restaurants or hotels, where there is no risk of cross-contamination. Places with the AIC label are trained and monitored periodically by the AIC, and follow AIC rules for preparing safe, gluten-free food.
Beside the AIC app, I suggest you check out a very cool Facebook page (only in Italian) if you’re visiting Rome. It is called Roma Celiachia. It is a group of people from Rome who give advice about where to eat; they also review restaurants. Some of the places mentioned in this group are not on the AIC circuit, but maybe the owner has a celiac relative or, for other reasons, they are very aware of the gluten free diet and cuisine. In that case, there is no concern of cross-contamination!
Thanks to the AIC app and the Facebook group, you can come up with a list of places to visit during your stay (everything is in Italian, but you can ask a Prontopian to give you some recommendations based on the places you want to visit in Rome).
My advice is also to look online and make sure there are some good reviews from celiac people. Few more tips:
COFFEE: do not take coffee from an automatic machine! It is contaminated with bailey coffee (orzo);
BEER: a lot of bars and pubs now have gluten free beer to offer during an aperitivo. Restaurants have also gluten free beers. Just ask “Avete birra senza glutine?”;
GELATO: you will be happy to know that there is an artisanal chain called Fatamorgana that has ONLY gluten free gelato both flavours and cornets. Grom gelateria (another chain) is also gluten free.
If you decide to go to a “no gluten free dedicated” (no AIC) restaurant, always ask:
if they fry stuff on the same oil with gluten food,
if the meat is cooked on the grill right after or together with the bread,
if the gluten free pasta is cooked on the gluten pasta boiled water (it might happen),
If the vegetables you asked are cooked on the gluten pasta boiled water.
There is no limit to the questions you can ask to make sure that you eat your way safely through the eternal city.
Here are few useful links: https://www.celiachiaitalia.com/ (only in Italian) https://www.celiachia.org/ (only in Italian) http://www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com/blog/gluten-free-rome/ https://www.romeing.it/gluten-free-restaurants-rome/
Now that you have everything you need to enjoy a great gluten-free experience in Rome, mangia bene!
Roman living in Venice. Plant lover, avid reader and seasonal yogi