Guest Post: Traveling Gluten-Free in Italy

Last updated on:
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. Read the full disclosure policy here.

Today's guest post comes to you thanks to Cherise Joelle of Four Seasons Of Travel. Cherise is an Australian travel and lifestyle writer who is currently living in Florence. Her site offers an inside guide on the best places to see, authentic food finds (specifically gluten-free), and unique ways to travel through Italy and many other European countries. 

Traveling Gluten-Free in Italy

When I first started telling people that I was moving to Italy this year, their reactions were always the same: “Ohh, you’re going to have so much amazing pasta and pizza!” Hmm, I upsettingly thought, we will see about that.

You see, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease two years ago, which means that I cannot eat wheat, rye, barley, oats or malt – a big part of the Italian diet. It became my goal to travel through Europe (which I have been doing for the past six months) to discover which countries offer the most options for those with different dietary requirements.

Upon landing in Florence, I discovered that Italy is actually one of the most aware countries in Europe for those with Celiac Disease. I felt surprised and relieved that I could actually tell people how the pasta was! After learning that many Italians (especially in the south) have been diagnosed as Celiac, it was natural for me to search and find a variety of restaurants and café’s throughout not only Florence, but the whole of Italy that provide gluten free pizza, pasta and other options on their menu.

Mini pizza and arancino – a rice ball filled with sauce and cheese from Panaglu in Catania
Mini pizza and arancino – a rice ball filled with sauce and cheese from Panaglu in Catania

Where are the best cities in Italy for gluten-free food?

The best cities in Italy for gluten-free food have so far been in Sicily!

I travelled to both Messina and Catania, and each had wonderful gluten-free bakeries and restaurants. The quality of food was extremely high, fresh, and reasonably priced, which made such a difference. There is only one bakery in each city, however they each are extremely high quality.

In Messina there is a 100% gluten free bakery called Le Altre Farine Del Mulino, This little gem is located along the bay of Messina, nice and central, which makes it easy to pick up a yummy lunch. It is a goldmine of pastries and freshly baked bread all catering to a Celiac’s needs. YUM!

In Catania, the main bakery is called Panaglu. It is located further into the city center along one of the main cobble stone streets, and has a smaller but still great range of cakes, pizzas, and bread.

My favorite restaurant for gluten-free food was in Catania at Restaurante Primo Piano, which makes its own pasta, pizza, and desserts all catered to Celiacs.

The next best cities after that are Florence and Venice, which have a lot of “GLUTEN FREE/SENZA GLUTINE” marked on the menu outside of the restaurants. In Florence there is only one gluten-free bakery called Starbene Senza Glutine, which is tucked away on the outskirts of the city – perfect for gluten-free bread or a little sweet treat. Otherwise there are numerous restaurants and cafes that offer gluten-free pizza and pasta. These reviews and further information can be found here.

Chocolate croissant from Le Atre Farine in Messina!
Chocolate croissant from Le Atre Farine in Messina!

What to order off the menu?

If you’re in Italy and can’t find any specifically ‘gluten-free’ restaurant, I have my ways of making it work:

  • You can easily replace pasta and lasagna for risotto for the entrée.
  • For the main there are a number of options including arrosto di maiale (pork steak), pollo arrosto (roast chicken) or polenta (corn meal).
  • Dessert is time to stay away from cannoli (soo sad, my favorite!!) and go for pasta di mandorle, a biscuit made from almond meal, egg and icing sugar (almost as good) or gelato/sorbetto in a cup, not a cone.
  • Always be sure to double check that the restaurant prepares these foods gluten free and that they don’t dust the meats with flour.

Traveling through Italy gluten free doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any of the wonderful pizza and pasta any more.

For more information on a gluten free guide to cities all over Europe you can check out my site or the Associazione Italiana Celiachia website, which has a large portfolio of gluten free restaurants online.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for traveling through Italy gluten-free?


"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

Join the ADB Community!
Sign up here to get exclusive travel tips, deals, and other inspiring goodies delivered to your inbox.

6 Comments on “Guest Post: Traveling Gluten-Free in Italy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. My experience is that Italian menu’s indicate all allergy issues nowadays (obligatory by law I guess) and that glutenfree meal is possible everywhere. Maybe best to ask while making a reservation. Italian cooks are masters of improvisation and often very willing too help out.

    I don’t consider myself to be one hundred percent gluten-free, but I do have a sensitivity to it. This is a good assurance that we can be able to eat wherever we want to travel in Italy.

    You would never think that being gluten free in Italy is so easy. On the other hand the have probably one of the highest numbers of celiacs because their diet is rich in gluten, so it makes sense that they are more aware than other countries.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Good to know! My husband was just tested and we found out he has an allergy to Wheat,Gluten,Eggs, and Milk. Finding stuff for him to eat while out of the house has been a challenge. Great tips!

    What a great post. It’s important to be able to eat wherever you go!

    Sounds so good! I never honestly thought Italy would be too great at facilitating people with coeliac disease but i’m so very wrong!

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

As Seen On

As Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen On