Monday, November 26, 2007

A Celiac's Guide to Eating in Italy

Book store and library shelves are chock-full of guidebooks to help travelers get the most out of their trip to Italy. Advice is offered about which famous sites to see, where to stay, and what to eat. But not a single guidebook points the celiac traveler in the direction of a gluten-free meal!

Below, then, is a list of some of the major tourist destinations in Italy and the names of restaurants near these sites that can accommodate the gluten-free diet. I can personally recommend most of the restaurants. Many are drawn from the more than 855 hotels and restaurants that have been trained by the Italian Celiac Association (AIC). These are indicated with a *. For a complete list of AIC venues, go to As updates become available from fellow travelers, I'll include their comments and the dates of their travels - with their permission, of course.

  • *Ristorante da Poggi, rio terra de La Madalena, 2103 Cannaregio, Tel: 04-1721199. Located between San Marcuola and Ca’ d’Oro vaporetto stops.
  • *Trattoria Cammillo, Borgo S. Jacopo, 57, Tel: 05-5212427. Near Ponte S. Trinita.
  • *Ristorante Ciro & Son’s, Via del Giglio, 26/28r, Tel: 05-5289694. Near San Lorenzo.
  • *Ristorante La Gratella, V. Guelfa 8 R, Tel: 05-5211292. Near Galleria Dell’Accademia.
  • *Ristorante I Quattro Amici, V. Orti Oricellari, 29, Tel: 05-52154513. Near train station.
  • *Ristorante Il Portale, V. Alamanni, 29r, Tel: 05-5212992. Near train station.
  • *Alex Café, Via Vittoria Veneta 20, Tel: 06-4823618. Metro: Barberini. Located directly across the street from the Cappuccin Crypt. The price is high, quality mediocre, and service fair. I've had much better meals at much lower prices, but it was nice to get gluten-free pasta in a centrally located restaurant. (Update by KathleenO'Neil: A fancier place in a glass-enclosed space on the sidewalk, offers a gluten-free menu in English and other languages (they cater more to tourists). The food was good, but not exciting. April 2008)
  • *La Mimosa Fiorita, Via Bari 11 A, Tel: 06-44291958. Metro: Policlinico, and then there’s about a 3-4 block walk. (Update by Kathleen O'Neil: A nice family-run restaurant with GF pasta, pizza and other offerings - my waiter was also Celiac and took good care of me. There was no official GF menu, but I just described what I wanted and they were very accommodating. I enjoyed the seasonal roasted vegetables a la carte as my antipasti, and they made me some focaccia with pizza dough as my bread. April 2008)
  • *Renovatio, Piazza Risorgimento 46 A, Tel: 06-68892977, Located in the vicinity of the Vatican, near Via Crescenzio.
  • LaTavernetta di Pepi Claudio, Via Sistina 147. Tel. 06-4741939, Located between Barberini and Spagna (Spanish Steps) Metro stops. The owner and his daughter took very good care of me. For more information see "Reflections of Rome" in November 2006 archives. (Update by Kathleen O'Neil: No set gluten-free menu, and the waiters I spoke to didn't know what Celiac was, but the manager did and explained it to them. I had a basic, good but unexciting meal of roasted chicken and a vegetable. April 2008)
  • Miscellanea, Via Della Paste 110 (a block toward Via del Corso from the Pantheon). This is a very casual sandwich and salad place. There are no GF sandwiches, but many of the salads are natually gluten-free and are meals in themselves. (Update by Kathleen O'Neil: No GF menu, the owner wasn't there when I came by, and the waiterI spoke with didn't know about Celiac. Only the salads looked safe - it's a pretty Americanized pasta and pizza place. It advertises itself as a restaurant for American students, so they do speak English well. April 2008)
  • Giulio’s Osteria del Crispi, Via Francesco Crispi 19. Tel. 06-6785904. Reservations required. Located between Barberini and Spagna (Spanish Steps) Metro stops. I ate here on two separate trips to Rome, and each time had a wonderful meal - the best was an asparagus risotto. (Traveler Kathleen O'Neil said the restaurant was closed when she was there in April 2008, and possibly no longer in business. My observation was that this restaurant is open only certain days of the week and even then only certain hours of the day. So call and inquire).
  • Il Tulipano Nero in Trastavere (SW Rome), off Piazza San Cosimato, Via RomaLibera 15, 06-5818309. A casual, neighborhood pizzeria and restaurant that has a gluten-free menu, including gluten-free pizza, pasta and a British GF beer. The pizza crust was the best I've had - just like the real thing. I went there twice and ordered a pizza to go for the next day's lunch (something that confused my hotel's staff - they apparently don't believe in eating cold pizza there.) Save room for the GF desserts, including tiramisu. (Info provided by Kathleen O'Neil, April 2008)
  • *Best Western Hotel Spring House, Via Mocenigo 7. Tel. 06-39720948. Located past Vatican City, about 5-6 blocks from Ottaviano S. Pietro Metro, and about 2 blocks from Cipro Musei Vaticani Metro.. I didn't have an opportunity to stay here, but I did contact them and learned they have gluten-free food at their breakfast buffet for guests staying at the hotel, and was told there are many restaurants not far from the hotel that offer gluten-free food.
  • *Hotel Holiday Inn Eur Medici, V. le Castello della Magliania 65. Tel. 06-65581. This hotel is located near EUR, which is halfway between the airport and downtown. They provide a free shuttle bus to downtown. Otherwise, it's 6 km from the Metro Magliania, and then you must take Bus 771 to the hotel. The Muratella city train is 200 meters from the hotel. Gluten-free options are offered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Non-guests must make restaurant reservations.
  • Gelateria: 1) Gelateria Buccianti, Piazza Cavour 18 (near Castel Sant'Angelo) Has GF cones, but said only the fruit flavors were GF (not sure if that was due to potential cross-contamination or ingredients). Liked the raspberry.2) Il Gelato di San Crispino, 42 Via Della Panetterra (right around corner fromTrevi Fountain). No cones, almost all flavors are GF (so try the chocolateand the hazelnut!) 3) Fior di Luna, Via della Lungaretta, 96 ( Another place without cones, also sells chocolates. 4) A gelato place in Piazza Sant Eustachio has the GF cones, but I didn't try their gelato (I didn't write down its name). You should still ask if the gelato is GF, even if they have the cones. I asked at one gelateria on Viadei Serpenti that had GF cones, but they said none of their gelato was safe since they didn't thoroughly clean the gelato mixer between batches. (All gelateria info provided by Kathleen O'Neil, April 2008)
Cinque Terre

  • *La Barcaccia, Via Molinelli 6/8, Monterosso al Mare, Tel: 01-87829009.
  • Ristorante Pizzeria Vulnetia, Piazza Marconi 29, Vernazza, Tel: 01-87821193.
  • Nello la Taverna, Via Porrione 28, Tel: 05-77289043. Near City Tower in Il Campo.
  • Osteria Il Ghibellino, Via dei Pellegrini 26. They have aGF menu. (Info provided by Kathleen O'Neil, April 2008)
  • Gelateria: 1) Il Gelato, Piazza del Campo 41 2) Super Parma, 27 Banchi di Sotto. (Info provided by Kathleen O'Neil, April 2008)
Naples/Sorrento/Amalfi Coast
  • *Pizzeria Ciro a San Brigida, via S. Brigida 71/75, Napoli. Tel. 081-5524072. Located near the Galleria.
  • *Ristorante Pizzeria La Fenice, via degli Aranci 11, Sorrento. Tel. 081-8781652.
  • *Osteria La Stalla, via Pieta 30, Sorrento. Tel. 081-8074145.

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