Traveling with any kind of food restriction is undoubtedly stressful. It requires adequate research and consistent troubleshooting when expectations aren’t met. And when your food restriction is necessitated by an allergy or disease, this stress increases twofold. To choose a dietary lifestyle is one thing, but when a dietary lifestyle chooses you it’s a whole other ball game. Fortunately (or unfortunately), gluten-intolerance is quite common. In Italy especially, gluten intolerance/celiac disease is not taken lightly. This may come as a surprise to you (as it did to me), as Italy is the paradise of the gluten trifecta—bread, pasta, and pizza. However, Italians have actually been leaders in celiac disease awareness and in adapting food culture to accommodate an increasing demand for gluten-free cuisine. With this guide, you’ll discover that gluten-free eating in Italy is more than possible.

So celiacs and gluten-free friends—no need to fret! You can indulge while in Italy without too much additional planning. This guide will highlight some strictly gluten-free restaurants, list common Italian foods made sans-gluten, give tips for addressing restaurants when ordering, and teach some Italian!

Highly-Rated Gluten-Free Restaurants:

When on the hunt for a gluten-free eatery, keep your eyes peeled for the red “Associazione Italiana Celiachia” sign. This signals that the Italian Celiac Association has deemed the restaurant safe for people with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance.

Mama Eat


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Mama Eat boasts a dedication to “taste, quality and tradition—with and without gluten.” Rated 4.5/5 on Trip Advisor, one reviewer even called Mama Eat a “Celiac’s Paradise!” They offer gluten-free, and traditionally made dishes with two separate kitchens to avoid any risk of cross-contamination. Mama Eat also offers vegetarian and vegan options. Their menu hosts a variety of classic Italian dishes many celiacs have had to refuse for years. Imagine digging into a bowl of fresh carbonara without an ounce of anxiety—yes please!

Ristorante Quinoa

Ristorante Quinoa is the first 100% gluten-free restaurant in Florence. Also verified by the Associazione Italiana Celiachia, you can dine without hesitation. And because their menu is seasonal, your food will incorporate the freshest, local ingredients. Their dishes are inspired by local and Asian cuisines.



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Grom is a 100% gluten-free gelateria dedicated to completely natural gelato made with traditional methods. They use fruit harvested at peak ripeness, while excluding use of any coloring agents, emulsifiers, or artificial flavorings. Their tiramisu gelato is swirled with marscapone, espresso, chocolate chips, and biscuits—are you drooling yet? I am. Grom’s twenty-four store fronts are scattered all over Italy making fresh, wholesome gelato accessible for the duration of your visit!

For more restaurant options, check out this list!

Traditionally Gluten-Free Italian Dishes:

Though these dishes are typically made without gluten, always inform the restaurant about your condition before ordering to prevent use of contaminated surfaces when they prepare your meal.

Risotto: A dish made by slowly cooking rice with butter, onion, wine, broth, and sometimes meat and vegetables.

Insalata Caprese: A refreshing salad made with mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and tomatoes.

Bolognese Sauce: A meat and tomato-based sauce—usually served over pasta. Though pasta is not traditionally gluten-free, bolognese sauce usually is.

Farinata, Cecina, or Panelle: All variations of a chickpea flour flatbread.

Pesto: Another sauce made with basil leaves, pine nuts, cheese, olive oil, garlic, and salt.

Polenta: Cornmeal boiled and served as a porridge, baked, or fried and paired with meat or vegetables.

Caponata: Made with eggplants, garlic, other vegetables, and dried cranberries fried in oil.

Stracciatella Soup: Eggs mixed, and cooked into a meat broth. (Double check that broth does not contain gluten)

Porchetta: Pork roast.

Panna Cotta: Thick custard made with cream, eggs, sugar, and gelatin.

Torta Caprese: Flourless chocolate cake.

List inspired by this guide. I recommend checking it out for more detailed information.

Restaurant Cards:

If you are not a native Italian speaker, it is a good idea to have a restaurant card on hand. This is a simple print-out that explains your dietary restriction in Italian. You can find these all over the internet. Click here for a free version you can print out at home.

Important Italian Phrases:

person ordering at restaurantsenza glutine, per favore: gluten-free, please

sono celiaco/celiaca: I am celiac

sono intollerante al glutine: I am intolerant to gluten

grano: wheat

germe di grano: wheat germ

segale: rye

orzo: barley

farina: flour

semolino: semolina

farro: spelt

Keeping a dictionary on hand can be helpful as well when understanding a menu or ingredient lists for products in the grocery store!

I hope this guide has convinced you that a visit to Italy is more than worth it, even if you suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance!