eating gluten-free in Italy

wild boar and truffle salami

It was so easy.

All I had to say was, “Io sono celiaco.” That’s it. No apologies, no shrugging of shoulders, no endless stories of how my intestines work if I ingest 1/4 teaspoon of gluten. In the States, I often feel like an other when I go to restaurants, or, at best – an advocate for the rest of us. Sometimes, I feel like I never stop talking about what it means to live gluten-free, because I am always having to explain myself.

But in Italy, after I said “Io sono celiaco,” or sometimes simply the phrase “senza glutine,” I could move onto other conversations. Better yet, I could tuck my fork into my food and not have to worry if I could take another bite.

I didn’t feel different there. I didn’t have to feel like I was making trouble. Asking for food without gluten was as effortless as saying I preferred water without ice. Or beef instead of pork. I was simply a diner, being taken care of, and well.

You see, in every place we ate in Italy, the waiters and chefs understood. From what I have been told (both here and in Italy), the Italian people have been educated about celiac. Children are now routinely tested for the disease before kindergarten, a test as ritualized as a standard set of vaccinations. If you work in food in Italy, you know how to feed people well, no matter what their allergies and concerns. And here is my favorite fact: adults with diagnosed celiac in Italy are given two days a month off, with pay, to go search out their food.

I’m telling you, we were tempted just to stay there.

Foligno before the Quintana

Because celiac is a recognized medical condition, most drug stores in Italy (called “farmacias”) have an entire shelf of gluten-free foods. Not all of them did, when we walked in. The smaller the town, the more farmacias you might have to visit before you find gluten-free bread. But we never visited a town that didn’t have at least a little: a box of gluten-free biscotti for nibbling; a gluten-free baguette for dunking in garlicky sauce; a package of gluten-free bread crumbs for creating dishes at home.

In Assisi, the first day we were there, I walked into the farmacia to investigate, since I had read about this before. Three steps in from the door, I stopped. That shelf contained more gluten-free products than I had seen at Whole Foods the week before. Tears welled up in my eyes. I can’t explain it, other than to say this – I felt heard. I felt I existed there. I didn’t feel so weird.

The bread, made by Dr. Schaer, lasted for two days. I tore one part of the small baguette into strips, and ate it with my cheese plate, for the antipasti I ate at the beginning of lunch that day. The next morning, the Chef and I ate breakfast in bed, with slices of bread and prosciutto. I’m telling you, it’s not a bad way to go.

Every one of the packaged gluten-free foods I ate in Italy was infinitely better than the ones I have eaten here. The pasta by Bi-Aglut was great, better than my old standby, Tinkyada. I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did. I studied every label, and most of my favorite bread rolls and baked goods contained corn flour, which I rarely use. Expect a lot of experimenting around here.

However, every one of my favorite line of products was made by a company called Giusto. Chocolate croissants, people. To my sadness, I cannot find a single distributor of their products in North America. If anyone knows of a source, let me know!

the breakfast room at the B and B

Breakfast is the only difficulty for those of us trying to eat gluten-free in Italy.

Most Italians have small breakfasts, nibbling on croissants, or toast with jam. When we walked into the breakfast room of our bed and breakfast in Rome (the photograph above), we were charmed by the homey table setting. But I was alarmed to see so much gluten on the table. Little cookies everywhere. Luckily, I had my supplies, and Eduardo provided me with prosciutto. I did just fine.

Still, if you are going to Italy, and you must gluten-free, it will be infinitely easier to start off your day with food if you stay in an apartment or a bed and breakfast where they can accommodate you.

morning coffee

And who is going to complain about the mornings when there is coffee like this?

We live in Seattle. I thought we drank good coffee.

We do now, because we brought cans of Illy coffee home with us.

Drink all the coffee you can while you are there. It will never taste the same, away from Rome.

on the table at Mastro Giorgio

Slow down and enjoy your lunch.

In Gubbio — a tiny town nestled against a mountain in Umbria — we ate a three-hour lunch in a quietly spectacular restaurant called Fornace di Mastro Giorgio. The food and decor were hushed fine dining, but the atmosphere made us feel like we were in a family home. Our friends Jen and Federico recommended it to us, and we are glad we listened. A few days later, we moaned about how much we enjoyed our meal. Jen exclaimed, “Oh, you should have told us in advance you were going. They are friends of ours. They would have taken care of you.” But there was no need. As strangers off the street, we were treated like kings and queens.

When the waiter brought the table an amuse bouche of roasted barley and vegetables, I demurred. A moment later, a small martini glass appeared before me, filled with fresh buffalo mozzarella, bright-red bites of tomato, and a flourish of green olive oil. I have never tasted anything so good in my life.

For my main course, the waiter flourished a Tuscan beefsteak before me, on an enormous platter. The chefs had already cut up the steak into slivers before it arrived in front of me. At first, I wondered if they thought me a child. But then, the salt tray appeared. The waiter gave me six different salts – Himalayan pink salt; Hawaiian volcanic black salt; Normandy sea salt, etc. – and suggested I try each strip of steak with a different salt. I love salt, but I have rarely tasted the difference between each one so exquisitely on my tongue.

What could follow such a course? A dessert served on a piece of black slate. As I sat in this room, built in the 1300s, I looked down at my plate to see a white meringue, a small cup of vanilla gelato (with meringue pieces mixed in), and a smaller cup of hot chocolate sauce so smooth that I could see the reflection of my face in it when I leaned in for a look. All of it rested on a jagged piece of black slate. After I licked the back of my spoon for the last taste, I said to the waiter, “That slate as presentation? Fantastic.”
He shrugged his shoulders and said, “It came from the roof.”

Who could miss gluten in the midst of this?

black truffle risotto

In Norcia — a town so well known for its exemplary pork products that the best butchers in Italy are called Norcineras — the entire town smells of truffles. As we walked down the main street, a young woman came out of a hotel restaurant and gestured us in. We all of us (the Chef and I, as well as Hubert and Pat) skirted away, thinking it was a tourist trap. The other restaurant that had been recommended by another Italian friend was closed for lunches on Wednesday, though. We doubled back to the first place, still a little wary, but drawn into the smell. I asked a waitress about my chances of eating safely. In broken English and voluminous hand gestures, she told me that two celiac chefs worked there. That made our decision. When the waiter set down a sizzling platter of black-truffle risotto before me, I couldn’t speak for a moment.

Later, we went on a search for chocolate with truffles. (I can’t seem to get enough of truffles, now.) One little shop, tucked into the corner of town, looked unassuming at first. But inside were walls of chocolates, and that haunting smell that causes me to wolf down scents with my nose as though I had never smelled before. The two older ladies offered us a small plate of broken pieces of chocolate. I almost reached, but I asked, first. When I explained that I have celiac, the older woman raised her eyebrows in recognition. She thumped her chest with her hand, and said, “I. Celiac.” She shooed me away from the profferred plate – that one had farro in it – came around the counter, took my hand, and led me to the wall of chocolates. With a jabbing finger, she pointed out every single chocolate in the store that I could eat.

Every day, when I eat a tiny bite of dark chocolate with black truffles here at home, I think of the kindness of that woman, and how much alike we are, halfway across the world.

Sicilian cassata with a gluten-free cone

In Rome, on the last day of the honeymoon, the Chef and I ate our last cup of gelato. We had eaten gelato every day. To skip that creamy treat would have been a sin. (Thank goodness we walked at least five miles a day.) Eating was easy, because every gelateria offered cups along with cones. Just as I was savoring my last bite, I looked up at the counter-top. Startled, I stood up and ran toward it — a box labeled “Il Cono per Tutti.” A cone for everyone. A gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free ice cream cone. Even though I had just finished a cup of gelato, I ordered a cone.

How could I resist?

salumi and drinks at the Central Bar

In the culture that loves and lives in food, eating gluten-free is graciously easy. Besides pizza and pasta, food in Italy also means grilled sardines, chickpea crepes, chewy salumi, and forest chicken roasted in myrtle and wild thyme. Since a significant percentage of Italian people suffer from celiac, the food producers intend to create the best gluten-free food in the world.

In ten delicious days of eating through Italy with my darling husband, I never once grew sick. We ate in restaurants for lunch and dinner, every day, and I never suffered from cross-contamination. I have never eaten so well in my life.

Of course, coming home wasn’t that easy.

On our 10 1/2-hour plane-ride home (after horrendous lines at the Rome airport, and a missed flight), we found that the gluten-free meal I ordered for the plane ride had gone missing, erroneously given to another customer. The same thing had happened on the way over (Delta Airlines, what is wrong with you?), but I had been able to prepare and pack food for the trip that time. It’s always harder on the way back.

When the Chef realized I would have to go nearly 11 hours without eating, he actually started crying. “Oh sweetie,” I said, putting my hand on the back of his neck. “I’ll be okay.”
“I know you will,” he said. “But I just want my wife to be able to eat. It isn’t too much to ask.”

Oh, how I love him.

After eleven hours without any food, we wandered the giant Atlanta airport where we had a four-hour layover before flying home. The Chef and I walked for forty-five minutes, desperate to find a place that looked safe enough for me. I actually cried this time. The contrast after being in Italy was just so stark. Weak from hunger, I finally settled on a bar where I could order a hamburger without a bun and a salad without dressing.

I grew sick. I was sick for the first three days we were home.

It shouldn’t be this hard.

178 comments on “eating gluten-free in Italy

  1. Zelda

    Isnt it amazing the different attitude? I’d LOVE for someone to understand that while I wont necessarily be ILL if I eat gluten (unlike you) – its probably much better for all involved if I dont.

  2. Livs lerreter og annet

    I so enjoy to read your blog. Usually I call a restaurant or a hotel before visiting, to eat safely. The best ones will make bread so that I too can enjoy the meals. The funniest call was to a small restaurant in Oslo, Norway. The person answering wondered if I came in a wheelchair!! After explaining what celiac disease is, we both understood that a visit to this restaurant was not possible as they used marinade including soya sauce.
    After your wonderfull description of Italy, I will not be afraid to go there.

  3. Anonymous

    Gluten girl, I’m not a particularly religious person, but I thank the higher up for you and this blog.

    Just knowing someone feels or has experienced the same feelings and has gone through the same journey.

    I’ve never been worried about the “glass ceiling” but have experienced the glass wall of gluten. One minute I would be fine and then bam, I would be flattened and ill.

    When you say you felt like crying I understand!

    Shawn Burdue Pierce

  4. Daniela

    My Mom started sending me gluten free stuff from Europe and a lot of products are from Italy. You know Dr. Schaer, right? In Austria they sell gluten-free part-baked ciabatta rolls which are to die for! And their gluten free selection of cookies and snack food is just amazing. I wish they would sell more of those things in the US (especially the bread!)

    I am sorry to hear that Delta Airline messed up your food order. I do understand that you started crying in Atlanta. There is nothing worse than being jetlagged and hungry 🙁

  5. madre-terra

    Transported again. Just about every morning my plump butt rises from the chair and I ascend into a land of heightened scensory. I get to start me day being reminded of the beauty of it all. Of life, of love, of it all.
    How wonderful to hear about Italy. We are in the middle of planning a trip to Paris for a very special birthday for our daughter. She wants to become a chef and wants to do a restaurant tour and go and see Cordon Blue. I’m thinking Italy is where we should go. If we get to Paris I will never in a million years be able to write about it as you would.
    Thanks for my inspirational mornings.

  6. Tracy

    Wow, the difference is amazing.

    I miss the coffee too. We used up the last of our Italian beans a few weeks ago.

  7. Pam

    I have the most incredible cream cheese stuffed pumpkin bread recipe – would you like it? Send me an email

    Seriously good bread and you just can’t have Thanksgiving without some sort of pumpkin dessert:)

  8. Caroline

    That’s the thing about Italian food, it’s really not all bread and pasta (and cheese) like Italian-American cuisine would have you believe.

    It DOES seem like a lot of Italians have Celiac– I’m of Italian descent and at least a little gluten sensitive, though I’ve never been tested for it. I love that they get time off of work just for having Celiac!

  9. Carrie

    No, it absolutely shouldn’t be that hard!

    Wow… I really must visit Italy!! I love how easily you made friends with every store owner and waitress. I’m still a little nervous about asking if (insert any food item here) is made with any kind of wheat, rye, oats, etc… Please check the package! I will get used to the frustration… but Italy sounds so wonderful!!

    I love your pictures!! Please keep writing about Italy! I’m in love!

  10. firefly

    I agree wholeheartedly, even more so because like 50 percent of celiacs I can’t eat anything with casein in it.

    It would be interesting to see the same 11 days in Italy without gelato or any kind of cheese (that lets risotto, pesto, and insalata di caprese with mozzarella di bufalo, not to mention capuccino, out as well).

    What is really needed is education about all forms of food sensitivities and allergies, not just gluten. The American diet is full of things that are there because of industry muscle (like high-fructose corn syrup) not because they present a balanced nutritional or taste palette or even because farmers can and will produce them.

    I went to Rome about 7 years ago, before I discovered I had food sensitivities, and I hope to go back someday, but I’ll have to learn the Italian for ‘no dairy’ as well.

  11. Shannon

    Your recent posts are making me want to hop a plane to Italy! I hope you two will put your talents to good use and be able to share some nice recipes soon 😉

    Thanks so much for this blog. It’s very inspiring.

  12. celeste

    i’m even more in love with italy after reading of your adventures there….cannot wait to visit with my sweetie.
    did you buy an extra suitcase to fill with all the glorious products you describe?

  13. Deb Schiff

    So happy Italy was wonderful for you! Also, very sad about the awful homecoming, but grateful the Chef is such a mensch.

  14. lynn

    Oh, sweetie, I wouldn’t blame you for sprinting back to Italy. How wonderful to be in a place where people understand and it’s not big deal. And you don’t get sick!

  15. Tevis

    I find it so concerning that people are extremely uneducated about celiac disease in the U.S. I recently was stuck in the JFK airport for hours and hours and the only thing I could eat was a banana, apple and an orange from a cafe. What kind of lunch is that? I think to avoid this ever happening again, I will have to move to Italy and enjoy food again. I greatly apprecaite this post. It gives us hope that things will soon change.

  16. April

    My family and I are going to Rome in December. I have never traveled overseas and I was concerned about what I would eat as a Celiac in the land of bread and pasta 🙂

    Thank you so much for the comfort I received from reading your post today. I am now very excited about our trip! The information about the “farmacias” is priceless.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have enjoyed your blog for more than a year now and I am looking forward to your book. I have even recommended to our local Whole Foods that they carry it when it comes out!

    1. Victoria from London

      I was going to post the same thought exactly, i’ve been missing my trips to Italy but it sounds like the ideal place to go now.

  17. CeliacChick

    Corn flour? Hmm…a lot of people, including myself are allergic to it. My biggest fear is that, like europe, the U.S. will start putting corn flour in all of it’s gluten-free products, but for now it seems like there is a wide variety of flours being used.

    I posted a comment about breakfast being hard in Venice on your last post, but it didn’t seem to make it into the comments section. :/

  18. Gaile

    wow, the contrast is astounding isn’t it? i’m so sorry you got sick – and as for Delta you should call and complain. Who knows, maybe they’ll give you a voucher for your trouble. And thanks for letting all of us know that italy is safe – i would love to visit someday now.

  19. jenmoocat

    I am sitting here at work, at 9:30 in the morning, with tears in my eyes.

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful words and images and stories of Italy…..

    Then, as soon as you started writing about the trip home….

    As soon as I READ the word “airport” — my stomach got tight and my shoulders got tense. For me, so many trips that I think about are aborted before I even start planning them because of how much I hate airports and flying and planes…. Not hate as in “afraid” — just the whole rigamarole….. And I don’t even have celiac!

    Big hug for you!

  20. Anonymous

    Barley? Really? A few of your previous eating out posts had me querying your celiac diagnosis (is it self-diagnosed?) such as the fries at the baseball (e.g. cross conotamination, dextrose in the fries bothers many celiacs), but barley? That is a glutenous product and if you ate it without reaction then you certainly have a misdiagnosis (probably not something you want to hear given your new book). But as a pedeatrician, I am concerned that you are in fact allergic to something else and not gluten (and also, of course, that you promulgate foods that are glutenous).

  21. Bengali Chick

    WOW. AMAZED. 2 days off from work a month? I would have thought Italians weren’t gf friendly/educated b/c there are so many pasta/bread dishes. I think I need to go and visit.

  22. nicole

    I’m sorry you got sick 🙁 I also flew Delta to Greece this summer, and on the way back through Atlanta, I wandered around looking for something vegetarian … and eventually ended up eating an icky bean burrito. I really wanted a Greek salad in that moment!

    But how wonderful Italy is so ‘gluten-friendly.’ Europeans seem so much more live-and-let-live sometimes — like, you’re a celiac? A vegetarian? No biggie, here’s what you can eat. When I was in Tuscany years ago we told out agritourismo hostess we were vegetarians, worrying it would make things very complicated … and she said “Oh, my sons don’t eat much meat!” and that was that. No problem at all.

    Now I’m wanting to go back to Italia to visit …

  23. sweetpea

    Wow, I guess I should have gone to Italy rather than Paris where it was impossible to find any GF food. I think the well meaning peditrician misread your post. I too would pine over a barley salad but it sounds like something equally wonderful was delivered to the table especially for you. O.K. on to to book tour details! I read somewhere your going to NYC, how fun.

  24. Anonymous

    Dear anonymous pediatrician,

    Please read more carefully. You’ll note that she “demurred”, which is a lovely way of saying that she indicated she could not eat the dish with barley. A different amuse was brought in its place.

    As far as questioning her diagnosis, I suspect that is a bit much to be doing for someone who presumably has never met the woman. Especially when you base the information on a less-than-accurate reading of her work.

    I will say though, your assumptions about what is and isn’t bothersome for celiacs is interesting to me. I have only experienced the other end of the spectrum, with doctors telling me that I (and other diagnosed celiacs) are simply crazy when we report sickness from things like our vegetables being “steamed” (read: boiled) in pasta water. I suppose having doctors err on the other side is a bit refreshing.

  25. Slacker Mom (aka Mrs. GF)

    I love hearing about your trip, your honeymoon. My husband and I went to the countryside of France for ours, and although a different country, the attitude, and the feeling seems the same. Thanks for refreshing those memories.

    You are blessed with the gift of the pen.

    Glad to hear that the journey to my grandparents country will be joyous. After reading “Eat, Love, Pray”, and that part about Naples and the pizza, I was nearly crying thinking about going there..seeing the streets that she walked I feel like I could go… and still eat, deliciously and culturally.

    Have a great day.

  26. Jeanne

    I totally agree with you! I had the same experience on an 8 hour layover at the Houston airport. Sad and frustrating. Also, not only is it bad that we can never find anything to eat here, but it’s even worse to be made fun of. Have seen the PEMCO Seattle “trading cards?” The slogan is: We’re A Lot Like You. Check out #78. I can’t understand why they would make fun of medical issues.

  27. Moby

    On Sunday we booked a spring trip to Italy, and now you’ve added to my happy anticipation. What culinary pleasures you describe…..thank you!

  28. Lisa

    Thank you for this. My three children have all recently been diagnosed with celiac. My test was negative, so we are just waiting for my husband to be tested. He’s been putting it off–I assume because he doesn’t want to know–but I think this post might help convince him to take the leap. He’s Italian-American; we honeymooned in Itay as well and go back as often as we can.

  29. Adrienne

    Shauna, I started reading your blog several months ago, after my diagnosis. Love it.

    We had planned to take a trip this fall, but I just didn’t feel that I could deal with the challenge on an international scale yet. (I’m not coping all that well stateside…) Yet when I started reading your posts about Italy, *I* cried, completely understanding what you meant when you said tears welled up while you searched for gf food. I read on in amazement. So now I’m going, and like you, I may just consider staying there. 😉

  30. Freckled Face Mama

    Throughout your whole post I cried. I cried out of happiness for you, the life that Italy has to offer those with celiac, the beauty of such an amazing country (I would love to live there forever), and then when you were “welcomed” home with the ignorance that abounds here in the United States. I so look forward to the many more stories you have of your adventure to Italy. My folks leave in six weeks for 10 days to Italy and I have directed them here to tempt their palate. Oh, I almost forgot… I am super excited about your book FINALLY coming out! Yahooooo!

  31. verismo


    Your writing here has done more for me on my journey to a gluten free life than any other single source or person. Because you are so open with your life and feelings, I feel that I know you, a little. Your joy in eating and in love give me hope. Corny, but true. 🙂

    I got a call for a cruise gig to Italy the same day that you posted “Lune del Miele.” (I’m a classical pianist) This seems beyond random. I’m not normally mystical, but your experience and my life seem to be running a parallel.

    Furthermore, I got the confirmation of the job this morning, on my birthday!

    My health is a little iffy right now, but I am saying “yes” to this experience, just like you have taught me.

    And “Io sono celiaco” has become my joyous mantra, not the dreaded intonation that begins any meal in a restaurant.

    Gratsie Mille per tutti!!

  32. Let Them (not) Eat Cake

    Wow, going to a place where I don’t have to feel like such an oddball inconvenience and explain myself constantly. Sounds like a dream!! Maybe someday…
    Thanks for your story, you’re an encouragement to so many Celiacs!

  33. moonshae

    Melbournians are spoilt – Illy coffee is available in supermarkets and many cafes. Spiga Bar (in Melbourne Central) serves awesome Gluten Free food and their pasta of choice is Bi Agult. The Sunnybrook Healthfood store in Ormond sells this fantastic pasta but it’s $10 a packet. Not an everyday treat but cheaper than a trip to Italy.

  34. beatgrl

    I got teary eyed when I read about your plane ride and airport experience.

    Being a long time “slow food” lover, I’ve dreamed of eating my way around Italy.

    Now that I know how GF friendly it is, I’m even more inspired.

    A pasta better than Tinkyada?

    Thanks for the blog, I’ll be back often. Cheers!

  35. What?

    roggyI too have coeliac and I am from Melbourne. You can also get Bi Aglut pasta from a shop on Lygon street (of course!) which is also an Italian Resturant that caters for Coeliac Disease.

    I have just discovered Sunnybrook to *bliss*.

    To whomever metioned the allergy to cornflour, a lot of cornflour is wheaten cornflour. You need to get pure cornflour. Unless you were referring to an allergy to corn – then ignore what i said.

  36. Anonymous

    I find it really hard to imagine not walking to the back of the plane and asking for a piece or fruit, a bag of peanuts and/or some cheese. All these things are available when one needs them, but you have to make the effort to seek them out. I made a 16 hr. trip and saw this several times. Next time, check! Glad you had such a good time in Italy!! Cece

  37. Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy

    It also struck me when I moved here…everyone in Italy has about 15 million different intolerances, allergies, and preferences. I have several friends who are gluten-free or lactose-intolerant but they always manage to find something to eat, usually without even having to ask.

    My vegan friends are having a harder time.

  38. Erin S.

    What a wonderful trip. It is so unfortunate that the US isn’t as advanced for us celiacs as Europe is. I cannot wait to get to Italy in 2008!

  39. Anonymous

    The pediatrician who made comment above obviously neglected to glance beyond the forbidden “barley” word before hastily passing judgment on both your medical condition and fabulous efforts to help those of us with gluten intolerance rediscover our passion for food.

    “When the waiter brought the table an amuse bouche of roasted barley and vegetables, I demurred. A moment later, a small martini glass appeared before me, filled with fresh buffalo mozzarella, bright-red bites of tomato, and a flourish of green olive oil. I have never tasted anything so good in my life. “

    Thank you for giving us such graceful portrayal of having your needs and desires so perfectly met!

    Until today, I’d come to accept the fact that I must forgo this tasty little profferal at many a special meal. All too often, these initial offerings are brought to the table with crispy breadcrumbs strewn atop or swimming in flour-thickened sauce. A tragic tale of flavor deprivation and automated surrender of otherwise delicious morsels to one’s unaffected dining companions.

    Well, surrender no more! What a delight to know that accommodations can (and will) be made, even from the very first first bite!

  40. Anonymous

    I was in Sicily this past March with my mother. I could not believe how incredibly easy it was to eat in Italy, and the fact that I could say “sono una celiaca” and have that mean something – in even the most provincial little trattoria – was amazing.

  41. Carlin Saldanha

    first of all I really enjoy your blog, and have referred a lot of gluten-free patients I have to your site for recipes (I’m a naturopath). Not only do I think you’re a great reference for gluten free recipes, but also a role model for how to live life positively and with a great attitude and zest, which I think is just as important (or more) for health than just what you eat.

    I did check out the Dr. Shar product website, because I thought I would use it to recommend to gluten-free people. However, I have to say as a naturopath I was really disappointed in some of the ingredients in their products. Whole food it is not. By this I mean ingredients such as yeast, dextrose, soy protein isolate, thickener E63, sugar, modified maize starch, E475 emulsifier, “flavouring”, and ammonium hydrgen carbonate all come up repeatedly in product ingredient lists. None of these are whole foods, nor are a lot of them great for health. That’s why I always recommend, when possible, making your own food with whole ingredients to those on restricted diets (like your recipes using teff flour, agave syrup, etc). I know during travel it’s difficult, but I just don’t think it’s advisable in general for people on gluten free diets to count on products filled with ingredients like these.

  42. shauna


    I know. I think the difference is that where we were in Italy, people really live in food. As much as they love pizza, pasta, and bread, people understand the connection between food and health.


    I know. Some people still want to think we’re diseased. I actually always call it celiac, instead of celiac disease. I don’t feel diseased at all!


    Thank you so much for your kind words. We are all in this together. The more we share our story, the more we can recognize ourselves.


    I would love to try those part-baked ciabattas! As the awareness of gluten-free grows, the availability of products will as well.


    Oh my dear, your description delighted me! But go to Paris. There is nothing like Paris. And you will find your own words.


    I know. I’m still gob-smacked by the difference.


    Is your pumpkin bread a gluten-free recipe? By all means, send it to me!


    I love the way that the Italians have responded to this. But the Irish have plenty of celiac as well, and the Aherns are Irish!


    You know, the waiters and chefs we encountered were so well educated on celiac that I didn’t have to quiz them or feel scared. That was the heavenly part — just feeling safe.


    I agree entirely with your ideas about American food. Everything we ate in Italy — minus the gluten-free packaged foods! — was fresh and in season. There just didn’t seem to be much processed foods.

    And you know, I saw soy gelato in a number of places where we indulged. I think you’d be okay there.


    Hop on that plane!

    As I explained in the last post, we will be sharing recipes again soon. But it is so damned busy around here right now. The Chef is about to launch a new recipe, which requires all his attention. And I’m emailing and telephoning ten hours a day, setting up a book tour. Soon!


    You know, we intended to bring plenty of gluten-free foods home. But the last day in Rome was spent at the Vatican, and we just didn’t feel like running around again after that. We brought some. But it’s just one more reason to go back.

    Deb Schiff,

    You found the right word. Mensch he is. He didn’t know that word before I taught it to him, because it describes him so well.


    Wonderful it was.


    I’m so sorry about your time at JFK. I have decided that airports are the bane of my celiac existence. WE have to change this!


    Have a wonderful time. Do all the research for yourself, learn how to say it in Italian, and I think you’ll have a safe, incredible time.

    Oh, and thank you for asking Whole Foods. Keep that up!


    I’ve read that about Sweden as well. I’d like to try to eat there as well!


    Yes, I know about the corn flour. It’s so hard to make everyone safe. I’ll play with it a bit, but I’ll keep making plenty of treats without it too!

    (your comment is there on that other post now!)


    I’ll try with Delta. But I don’t think it is just them. Instead, I think it’s the general attitude toward food allergies in this country.


    Thank you so much for your sympathy! I’m about to spend a lot of time in airports, so I’m going to plan ahead much better this time.

    Anonymous pediatrician,

    As several people have pointed out, you seem to have mis-read my piece. I passed on the barley. I would never eat barley! I demurred. That’s why they brought me fresh mozzarella instead. Also, you seem to have mis-read another post, because I have never eaten French fries at the ballpark. I wrote a piece back in April, saying that we ate at the alehouse across the street from the ballpark, and I had to pass on the fries.

    If you are going to make such disparaging remarks, I would ask you to read more carefully.

    Also (and this is for everyone), if you are going to comment under anonymous, please leave your name so I can address you as something other than anonymous!

    Bengali Chick,

    It was an endlessly surprising culture. So wonderful.


    I love that you had that experience at the agriturismo. I felt like a member of the family, everywhere we went.


    Thanks for pointing that out for the other commenter. And the book tour? That’s going up tonight!


    Thank you for standing up for me as well! I agree that many doctors just don’t understand. I have a hard time believing that the disparaging commenter is actually a pediatrician.

    Slacker Mom,

    You know, that book was one of the original inspirations for our honeymoon in Italy. I love it so. You will find your own experience there.


    I have no idea why people make fun of food allergies, but it happens all the time. Hopefully, we can change people’s minds.


    Yes, I’ve seen B-Aglut and Dr. Schar available online in the States. But Giusto? No sign of it yet!


    Goodness, I feel like I should work for the Italian tourist board! Yes, do go.


    Tell your husband to take the plunge and be diagnosed. It’s worth it, to be healthy.


    I’m so glad that I could help you with the trepidations of going to Italy, or anywhere else in the world. There are so many places in this wide world. I’m not going to let fear of gluten stop me from visiting any of them!

    Freckled Face Mama,

    Thank you for your wonderful comment. And please tell your parents that I said “Ciao!”


    Happy Birthday! And I am so happy for you. What a wonderful story. And I am so humbled and happy that I can help you at all.

    Let Them (not) Eat Cake,

    That was the most wonderful part. People understood. No one made disparaging remarks, or thought I was crazy, or accused me of having an eating disorder. It felt like home.


    I would love to go to Melbourne. We can get Illy coffee here too, but it just doesn’t seem the same!


    Eating your way around Italy sounds utterly dreamy. Do it. And tell us about it!


    She was referring to an allergy to corn, sadly. And there is cornflour available here that is not contaminated with wheat!


    Oh, I checked! Believe me. The air steward we had was so sympathetic, because one of his dearest friends has celiac. He brought me a couple of bags of peanuts. He offered cheese, but it was a flubby processed cheese, and I didn’t know about the ingredients. And no fruit. Sigh. Frankly, he gave us free cocktails! Fun, but I could only drink one on an empty stomach. The options on airplanes are woefully small.


    Thanks for the wonderful insight into Italy. I’m afraid it’s probably hard to be a vegan anywhere, but I definitely wouldn’t want to try it in Italy!

    Erin S,

    Oh yes! Go!


    Yes! When you find the right restaurant, you will be taken care of, entirely.


    Isn’t it amazing? The difference is so astonishing. And there’s nothing like someone saying, “Oh, I can feed you safely,” to make us feel loved.


    It’s true that those packaged foods are not something I would eat every day. But that’s true of most of the packaged foods in the US as well.

    But when you are traveling, they are a godsend. At home, I can eat a handful of walnuts for a snack, or heat up some red quinoa and throw in some goat cheese. But when you are dining out in Assisi, it’s so damned pleasing to have a gluten-free baguette to gnaw on with your cheese. You know?

    All things in moderation, I believe.

  43. Jen

    Now I want to go to Italy even more and take my mom with me! To just enjoy the food without having to worry about her getting sick! I’ll be looking forward to the new recipes you develop and the three copies of your book that are now on their way to me 🙂 That’s right, I needed one for myself and two for gifts!

  44. Meg

    Ritrovo, chefshop and DeLaurenti all might be able to get hold of Giusto products for you, and they’re all Seattle-based companies, so you’d have the added benefit of being able to walk in and make them feel guilty, er, I mean, let them put a face to a name. The people at chefshop are absurdly nice, and seem to enjoy getting their hands on difficult-to-find products. And I would think that both Metro Markets and PCC might be pretty responsive (and looking to get an edge on Whole Foods and their gluten-free sections). It’s not as easy as it was for you in Italy (and I seem to remember the pharmacy food in Assisi more than 10 years ago largely consisted of baby zwieback crackers and lozenges, so they’ve come a long way, and the US could, too), but it’s something, isn’t it?

  45. Alison

    I have been hearing about the celiac testing for children in Italy for some time now, but have wondered “what is it really like for a celiac in the land of pasta?” Your account has made it so clear that we have some catching up to do here in the U.S. It also made me want to go back to Italy! Thank you for this.

  46. cyberprof

    Shauna, I’m so teary eyed.

    I’m Italian and Irish (not sure which gave me the celiac yet- maybe both!). We were planing a trip to Europe next year with our kids. I wanted to go to England or Ireland, thinking that I could explain in English about the no-gluten requirements. I don’t speak Italian, though I’ve always wanted my relative to teach me, starting when I was 10 years old.

    Anyway, after reading about your trip, I think we’ll go to Italy, or maybe southern Switzerland. We are going to do a home-exchange, where we stay in each other’s houses.

    I can’t imagine what it would be like to go into a restaurant and not worry about being sickened.

    And for the flight, I’m going to bring Tasty Bite indian meals and lots of Lara bars. I never go anywhere now without the Lara bars. In fact, at my sister-in-law’s wedding in August, I could eat nothing, so I whipped out the Lara bar. That’s why I’m excited to go to your book opening on the 22nd- imagine! a gluten-free cocktail party that I didn’t cook myself!


  47. Li & David

    “Lo sono celiaco.” Oh, if only it were that easy here! Thanks Shauna, for the beautiful stories. I’m looking forward to every word about Italy! ~Li

  48. Li & David

    “Lo sono celiaco.” Oh, if only it were that easy here! Thanks Shauna, for the beautiful stories. I’m looking forward to every word about Italy! ~Li

  49. Li & David

    “Lo sono celiaco.” Oh, if only it were that easy here! Thanks Shauna, for the beautiful stories. I’m looking forward to every word about Italy! ~Li

  50. Li & David

    “Lo sono celiaco.” Oh, if only it were that easy here! Thanks Shauna, for the beautiful stories. I’m looking forward to every word about Italy! ~Li

  51. Sheltie Girl

    I’m delighted that you had such a wonderful time on your honeymoon.

    Delta should be more organized about giving out specially ordered dinners. What if they had given your gluten free dinner (& not nut free) to the person who ordered a nut free meal…scary. The flight attendants should also have made an attempt to serve you some of the snack foods they carry on every flight (i.e. apples or even peanuts).

    For your experimentation with corn flour try Authentic Foods. They sell a corn flour that is gluten free.

    I’m glad you guys got back safely and I’m sorry you were so ill on your return.

    Take Care,
    Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

  52. Lyrically speaking

    It would be nice to live in a gluten-free world and not be tempted to eat the wrong kind of food, I enjoyed reading this and all the pictures you shared with us.

  53. s'kat

    Wow, what a beautiful, amazing journey. When my husband and I went to Italy last year (a year already tomorow!), we also encountered a less than satisfactory journey back home.

    The contrast- is unsettling. “Welcome to America!”

  54. jill

    Thank you for your report on Italy. It is so encouraging because I’ve never been and want to go. Gluten free cones even! That’s wonderful!

  55. C

    Thank you for this post. It really made me think, and it crystallized something that’s been bothering me about the american attitude to food.
    Loving food doesn’t mean you have to eat everything. It’s not about quantity, or even diversity. It’s about enjoying what you can have and making the best of it. We Americans are so concerned with abundance that we feel threatened when someone has restrictions. It doesn’t match up with what we think of as “normal”.
    Ah hell, I don’t know how to say it, but the fact remains. If the Italians can be so comfortable with gluten-free food, there is absolutely no damn reason why America should be having such a problem.

  56. Luisa

    I’m sorry, honey. I can’t imagine – at all – that kind of frustration especially after such a wonderful trip. You’re a strong woman. xo

  57. marisa

    As always, another fantastic post. I have never wanted to go to Italy…until now.

    I have a smile on my face b/c Amazon says that my book will arrive tomorrow! Keeping my fingers crossed until it arrives! Such great writing! And such great food!

  58. Cate

    No, it shouldn’t be that hard, but I am so glad you had such a wonderful time there. My parents go to Italy a few times a year for business, and just came back 2 weeks ago from the last trip. Food and the treatment and celebration and passion for it is so different there. While there and out for dinner with the clients, the client went into the kitchen to talk to the chef and see which fish was freshest that night, and how it should best be prepared. And that’s not unusual over there. Imagine doing that here!

  59. Sea

    Hi Shauna,
    This post really resonated for me. It reminded me of a trip to Europe with my now DH (we got engaged in front of the Trevi fountain)… and i guess reminded me of how much I would love to go back. At the time I didn’t know much about gluten free travel- ironic, as I’d been gluten free for such a very long time, so i didn’t eat all that well. It was much easier in Italy than in France, even so. But the food is amazing- we loved the little tapas in Venice- and, best of all, the espresso. Ah, italian espresso. *sigh* Thank you for sharing your trip with us all.

    Hey- you’re coming to San Francisco, yes? You should stop in Mountain View- there is a wonderful local bookshop that often has book authors come in and do readings. It’s on Castro street, a great little international restaurant district. I’ll check the name of the bookshop and post it for you- I think it might be a good fit. It’s also down the street from my house, haha, so maybe I have a little teeny ulterior motive. 😉


    PS airport food sucks. I’ve eaten more potato chips and soda at airports out of starvation than anywhere, anytime else. hiss. sorry about the letdown- I know that feeling well.

  60. Anonymous

    Thanks for posting about eating GF in Italy. Now, I can’t wait to study there this May. I’ll be staying in Florence and then touring wineries, an olive oil press, a prosciutto producer, and a parmasean cheese producer. Plus, visiting farmer’s markets and hearing lectures on sustainable ag. I’m excited. And have started to learn Italian in my free time. I have mastered the “Io sono celiaco. Che cosa posso mangiare?” and “senza glutine”. I wonder if those GF products would be available for purchasing online? Maybe I’ll befriend store owners over there and convince them to export them!

    And airports are the worse for finding GF food. I bring my own food, but when I run out I become a fruitarian practically, bah!

    And NYC is the best for GF dining in America. I thought living in the Twin Cities was great for that, but I must say that NYC has way more restaurants with GF menus/items. You should check out Risoterria while you are over there. They offer GF pizzas, risottas, and paninis. Plus they have GF breadsticks and GF beer (New Grist is my favorite). And the bakery BabycakesNYC is amazing! I had one of her GF carrot cupcakes with coconut frosting. Two of my non-celiac friends tried the stuff and loved it too!

    And being a student and a nutrition student at that, I have stumbled onto some recent research of which I just wrote a paper on. Basically, there have been some studies done in vitro on human models and in vivo in rats where an enzyme derived from a certain bacteria has been ingested along with gluten and the bacterial enzyme renders the gluten proteins non-toxic to us genetically susceptible individuals with celiac. More studies of course have to be done and on humans before anything comes to the market. Yet, you wouldn’t have to be afraid everytime you ate something a host gave you or at a restaurant even though your host assured you it was GF. I have had this happen to me on more than one occassion (soy sauce and other sauces are usually the culprits….people just aren’t educated about it but i love them for trying). You would just take the enzyme with your meal (in pill form I would hope!) and any accidentally ingested gluten would not cause you harm. It would make a celiac’s life a lot easier.

    Anyways, this is already way too long! Sorry!


  61. JenG

    I just discovered your website. Per the advice of a physician, I put my daughter on a gluten-free, casein-free diet, 10 years ago. We never looked back!
    She and I just sat here and cried reading about your trip to Italy – to be understood! To know that what you are eating is safe! What a joy that would be… we will be saving our pennies to go to Italy.

    Thank you!

  62. Kendra

    Bravo Shauna! It shouldn’t be this hard!
    I’ve lived peanut, soy, and milk free for over 20 years, and more recently adopted a corn and gluten free lifestyle when I developed new food allergies.
    Although products and options have greatly improved, we still have a long way to go.
    This weekend I’m heading to a conference at a resort – I can’t beleive the scrutiny and questions I have received from the food staff about my request for simple, unprocessed foods.
    I dream of the day I don’t have to struggle to eat healthy away from home.

  63. Brynn

    This is vague, but hopeful:

    An old friend used to work for a natural products marketing company (New Hope Communications). I learned, second hand, that she recetnly visited a trade show of her former employer in search of new opportunities in the natural products field. She interviewed with an Italian company looking to broaden their market for gluten-free products to the US. I don’t know any more than that. Maybe there is hope that we’ll all be able to enjoy the tastey treats you sampled on your honeymoon.

  64. Anonymous

    Hi–my 6 year old daughter has celiac and we spent 3 weeks in Italy this summer and we had the same wonderful experiences that you had. Risotto is her favorite meal now! And the selection at the farmacias was amazing–even the frozen section with ice cream, tortellini, etc. I also want to tell you about Salute pasta. It is made in Italy and tastes exactly the same as kind with flour. I live in London and can only find it at one grocery store chain, but seriously, it is amazing. My daughter much prefers it to Tinkyada. So–see if you can find Salute. I highly recommend it!! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  65. Anonymous

    Okay – first off I so wish I’d know you had a layover in Atlanta. We could have picked you up for a safe dinner downtown and gotten you back to the airport in plenty of time for your flight.

    I’ve only been to Italy once, and I wasn’t diagnosed with Celiac at the time so I ate whatever I wanted. I’m so glad to know I can easily go back and eat so very well!

    My trip to London and Paris last May, proved to be a bit of an eye opening experience for me as well. Celiac was very well known in London but the food we had was uninspired, save the fabulous afternoon tea (meal) at The Dorchester Hotel. The gluten free tea sandwiches were to die for!

    In Paris, I ate out each meal for 7 days without issue and found gluten free bread at a tiny health food store near the hotel. I supplemented my breakfast and lunch with gluten free crackers and pretzels but for dinner I ate like royalty. It was like being on a different planet – the kind where servers don’t look at you like you’re crazy every time you explain your dietary requirements. And you know what? Like you, I too will not rest until that changes in these United States of America! It’s either changing, or I’ll be retiring in Italy…

    Can’t wait for your book – out in two days right? It’s the first step for the winds of change regarding gluten free living. You’re exactly right – it should not be this hard.

  66. charlotte s

    your blog is beautiful and full of enthusiasm! this post was a pleasure to read! I’m glad you had a magical time in italy 🙂

  67. Beth

    Enjoyed the Italy blog. Now I won’t be so afraid to travel to
    Europe, most especially Italy.

    Arizona does happen to have a gourmet pizza restaurant, Picazzo’s, that has a rather full gluten free menu. The staff do know what you are talking about and do prepare and cook the gluten free pizza in a separate contained area from the “regular” pizza.
    It was heartwarming to eat there and know that they understood and were taking care of you. They also have gluten free beer. There are several locations in Arizona, wish they were nationwide!

  68. Anonymous

    We feel your pain. My son was served french toast(not gluten free) on a 10 hr. flight to Tokyo on United. Good thing I packed snacks. Alex will be at your cooking class Nov 6 at PCC. Please help this 17 year old cook!

  69. Natasha

    I was captivated by your writing and couldn’t stop reading … I came upon it through a Celiac List group I belong to. Being a small entrepreneur whose grandmother’s tea cakes were a hit at every family gathering, it was a true ‘awakening’ when my customers asked “do you have anything that is flourless or sugar free?” That was MY wake-up call/introduction to the Celiac/diabetic world. So you think it’s a challenge to ‘eat gluten fre…try eating gluten and sugar free’! It took me a year to comeup with a cookie that didn’t taste like saw dust and was gluten and diabetic friendly! Anyway…I wanted to send you and Chef a wedding gift, but have no idea where you will be next! Natasha’s Health Nut Cookies is where I can be reached! Can’t wait to read your entire book…that is when I have my head out of the oven!

  70. the veggie paparazzo

    You have inspired me to say ‘yes’ and go to Italy gluten-free (and casein-free, tomato-free, soy-free, etc.) when my husband goes for a work trip in April. How exciting! Thanks.

  71. Amelia

    Wow – I now have hope I can go to Italy again, and not be sick the entire time! I went before I ‘listened’ to my diagnosis, and was so sick in Florence I couldn’t even get out of bed to see the Uffizi. Thanks for writing about it! (as I sit here getting sick from my latte becauase I forgot to harrass them about their syup/soymilk ingredients…)

  72. Jessika

    Celiac disease is more common in Europe, perhaps this explains the sensitivity to accomodation?
    Not all are of course, meaning restaurants etc., but it is evolving. I have a friend that is allergic to wheat and the grains that contain gluten (mind allergic not gluten intolerant) and this provides some trying moments over time. I’m allergic to other things and I have most often been offered food that is off the menu, though they cannot assure me that trace amounts of something won’t be present. Fortunately I am not THAT allergic anymore. Restaurants and food stores in general should know though that word of mouth travel fast among those who need dietary considerations by necessity of life. Go there, by god don’t go there!

    (found my way here via wednesday chef)

  73. Jessika

    And oh, forgot, here, Sweden, there’s half of an smaller aisle for dry gluten free foods at the supermarket and a section of frozen breads in the frozen foods section. I never realised the assortment was so impoverished.

  74. Tatiana

    Hi there,

    I am not gluten sensitive, but love your blog for it’s joie de vivre and great writing. I wanted to suggest though that if you can’t find the Italian brand distributor in the US – do it yourself. See if you can get a distributorship agreement for your regional area, dedicate an area of your site to shopping for this brand and see what happens. You can then offer the products to your local stores and even approach big chains like Whole Foods. That will ensure the supply of great products in your area and may grow into a great business that you may or may not manage yourself. Just a thought.

  75. Anonymous

    I just returned from a trip to Rome and I flew on British Airways and I have to say the GF meals and snacks were the best I have had outside of my own home. The only downfall is that BA only provides these meals on the long-haul flights. My friend is deathly allergic to tomatoes and flew on Delta and could not eat a single meal on her way home.

  76. Brian

    The italian attitude is wonderful. I traveled there shortly eaafter going gluten free and was released from my fear of traveling.

    Illy isn’t the only way to get good coffee in Seattle. You can roast your own (as I do) or get it from the Vivace window on Broadway. Best Joe in town, by far. Really really really far.

  77. Anonymous

    I’m sitting here reading this and tears are streaming down my face.

    Will be travelling to Italy in 2 weeks, can hardly wait. Thank you for your great blog.

  78. Jessica Pietrosanti

    Thank you so much for this post! I am an American currently living in Poland, and it has been a challenging few months living here without being able to speak very much Polish. I have found a number of great treats by companies like Glutenex, Besgluten, and Schar.

    My husband and I will be traveling to Rome for Christmas this year and I was wondering if you could possibly send me the names of a few restaurants you would recommend in Rome.

    I have enjoyed reading your blog! Thank you!

  79. Anonymous

    I can not thank you enough for this blog. We’re planning a trip to Italy and my son can’t do gluten. I thought we were doomed until now.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write this.

  80. nearlythebionicwoman

    Wow! First of all, I can't' believe how far down I had to scroll just to leave a comment! You are an inspiration that I only hope to be.

    I never did find out the answer if I am truely intolerant to Gluten however I have SLE w/kidney failure and Fibromyalgia so I do know that I hurt a lot less when I do eat GF.

    I am going to Italy next month and thought that I would just have to deal with the pain so that I could enjoy the food. Thank you so much for posting this amazing article so that I see it can be done.

    Would you mind if I refer to your blog and this post when I am ready to post on mine about my own adventures??

    Thanks so much,
    Christina~nearly the bionic woman

  81. Christina Baita

    Me again. I was finally able to read the whole post and see that your meal on the plane was given away! I fly for Comair (part of Delta). One reason I love flying for the "commuter" as I HATE hearing, I feel like the passengers are my guests and not just another number. Either way, I appologize.

    I so look forward to visiting Italy with new eyes. One's that do not need gluten to eat in such a beautiful country.

  82. nearlythebionicwoman

    I went in to a grocery today and cannot find the pasta that you speak of. I was so impressed by the amount of GF foods that were available there. So exciting! They even had desserts in the pastry section that were not unreasonable priced. I will post some pictures soon.

  83. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for your blog on Italy. I'm a celiac who has always wanted to go to Italy. The thought of never being able to go because of food issues, literally, made me cry. My husband wants to go in September..and now I know I can…THANK YOU AGAIN!

  84. Germaine Family

    Wow! I've always wanted to go to Italy but was so afraid (being a country known for pasta) I would starve. This lifts my spirits immensely.
    Thank You.

  85. ~M

    Hi Shauna!

    My husband and I also have plans to honeymoon in Italy in a few weeks. Do you have any suggestions for guidebooks, accommodations, attractions, etc.

  86. joel bramble

    Thanks so much for this, as I will be stopping at a few places in Italy on a cruise in a couple of weeks and was a bit concerned about what gluten-free (and dairy and soy-free) options I might find there.

  87. Charlotte

    We LOVE Italy! The small towns are the best. It's hard to find bad food except in the tourist areas and the obvious ones like ristorante Cinese etc.

    I understand how you feel when you came back to the US. On the way home we spent the night in Philadelphia and the breakfast was full of packaged food with lots of chemicals 🙁

  88. Brittlynnr

    Hi! I'm an American living in Italy. Actually, I got my blood taken for an allergy test two days before I left and was sent my results after I arrived in Milano: turns out I not only have a gluten allergy, but also dairy and eggs, and a myriad of other wonderful things.

    I am Ms. Cornetto-e-Cappuccino any-time-of-day, and I was so happy to be moving to the land of pane-e-formaggio…so this was really bad news for me. But as your blog said, and as i discovered only minutes ago, there ARE options here! Thanks to you, I look forward to a smoother transition than i could have achieved on my own (or, apparently, in America!)

  89. Jess

    Oh, how happy I am now! My friend and I are planning a trip to Rome for this summer, and I have been terrified to look at the gluten-free situation over there for weeks. I finally googled "eating gluten-free in italy" and guess whose blog popped up! I was worried that I'd have to order a cup of sauce and a straw while my friend enjoyed plates piled high with pasta, bread, pizza, and lord knows what other delicious items that I would be forbidden from having. Oh, and neither of us drink coffee, tea, wine, or any other alcohol, so I was quite afraid of what brand of freak I was going to be labeled as after arriving in the place I've wanted to go MY WHOLE LIFE!!!

    I recently went to Las Vegas for a weekend trip, and I didn't even try to explain to the servers there what I needed or why. Even though I was super careful, I was sick for 4 days, and the rash all over my legs is just barely starting to heal.

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Not looking forward to coming back, but I'm so looking forward to going now!

  90. Anonymous

    great post, we (myself, my celiac husband and our possibly celiac baby) are off to Italy next month and this made the whole eating thing alot easier to handle. especially after our trip 3 years ago not knowing he suffered from celiac but sick and falling asleep at the dinner table each night.
    thank you!

  91. Anonymous

    Hey great blog. We, as a family of 4, are about to embark on a 5 week tour of Italy and France. Your blog has been very informative and I thank you so much for sharing. I think France will be a little more difficult ….GF Boy, Australia

  92. Amy Stolzenbach

    Thank you so much for writing about your experiences. I found your blog when I typed "gluten-free, florence". I've been gluten-free for two weeks and I have an upcoming trip to Italy. My visions of pizza and pasta from our last trip were swirling down the drain. I'm so relieved to find out that the farmacias carry gluten-free products!!! Needless to say, it's been a long road for me, but at least now I don't have to stress so much about our trip. BTW – I live in Seattle too and the best Italian-authentic coffee is at Herkimer Coffee on Phinney Ridge. While I agree that Illy coffee is good, it's many weeks old by the time it reaches you here in the states. I'm a little biased about Herkimer since my husband roasts coffee there, but I have first-hand knowledge that he created his espresso blend after our last trip to Italy when we fell in love with their coffee. Give it a try!

  93. Stargazer Lily

    Thank you so much for posting your story! I am crying for joy as I write this. I did not believe I would ever be able to fulfill my dreams of traveling in Europe, due to my gluten and dairy issues, but you have given me hope. I am planning my first trip to Italy in the Spring!

  94. Julia

    This might sound silly at first, and maybe it's just that this is becoming a common thing, but I think that we are soul mates or something because I am also gluten free and marrying (in October 2011!) a chef! And!!! We also live in the Northwest! We are planning our trip to Italy and the other night I almost started crying at our table when I expressed how scared I am that I'm going to spend our entire trip there feeling sick and wanting to die! Thank you so much for this blog, as hilarious as it is (that anyone ever wouldn't look forward to a trip to Italy!), I think that I can now actually look forward to our trip to Italy!

  95. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this article!!! Im a college student in the Northeast and am looking to study abroad in Italy next year and was worried I wouldn't be able to due to my celiac's but after searching I am so relieved!!!

  96. Anonymous

    I'm glad that you liked Italy, but it cracks me up how people go to the old world for a week, fall in love with it, then think it's all roses for everyone who lives there. The grass is always greener, I guess.

    Maybe in the much wealthier northern region of Italy there is more education about celiac disease, but I lived in Sicily for 3 years and can say that eating was not such a simple matter for me.

    The social aspect of food is so strong there. Maybe in a fancy restaurant a chef will make you whatever you want, but most Sicilians very rarely eat out. If they do, it's pizza, and I have yet to see a gluten-free pizza in Sicily.

    If you live in Sicily, you eat every meal with your friends, family or co-workers, in someone's home. If you refuse to eat food that everyone else is eating you risk alienating yourself.

    None of my roommates could ever comprehend my refusal to eat pasta, bread and meat (i'm a pescatarian. "come on, just a little bit" they'd say). I should have just told people I was celiac rather than gluten intolerant because to this day even my husband (also Sicilian) still believes that I am "exaggerating" and that I should eat a plate of pasta with him every now and then. Nevermind the headaches, bloating, constipation and skin eruptions that follow.

    Then there's my mother-in-law, who continues to try and force feed me pasta and pastries, thinking that I won't eat them because I think I'll gain weight.

    In my experience Americans are much more accepting of those with dietary restrictions and dietary preferences. I can't tell you how many times my husband has ordered vegetarian pizzas and panini that came with "just a little bit" of prosciutto in them…That has never happened here.

  97. Aubriele Rowe

    i loved your blog, the difference is so amazing. I'm thinking of moving to Italy, its easier for us there. 🙂

  98. Fae

    I, too, after reading your blog on gf in Italy, am ready to move there! How absolutely amazing and wonderful of you to document your journey and so candidly.

    I love that the slate came from the roof and that your honey was so compassionate for you when you couldn't eat for 11 hours. Oh, what we go through.

    So wonderful that you have the support you do. And now we have a country too.


  99. Nick Huggins

    Wow, how fantastic! What an amazing article, thank you so, so much! Reading your article has totally relaxed me. I’m going to Itsly in June on our honeymoon and I woke up at 4am this morning (in Januaty) in a total panic! Although here in England we do get quite a lot of gluten free food from Italy, you do worry that by going to Italy, you’re going into the Lion’s den! I can feel myself really relaxing about going now. So much do that I may not come back from Italy!! Thank you again.

  100. Linda W

    My husband is anxious to go to Italy but I am very concerned about finding enough to eat. I am allergic to wheat, cow’s milk products, yeast, black pepper and more. I am also under treatment for reflux and cannot consume much in the way of spices, coffee, tea, or alcohol. Eating at restaurants anywhere is a challenge. Do you think Italy is even possible for me?

  101. Rita Poli

    Ciao a tutti!
    I’m Italian and found your blog quite by chance but glad I did. I enjoyed your story and happy it was a positive one, it’s true that eating gluten free in Italy is becoming easier and easier (I can’t say the same for France or US for example, while our vacations in London was ok but once again thanks to Italian restaurants …) though I’m not sure that celiac are entitled 2 days off a month (I’m the mother of a 15 years old celiac boy), at least not in Tuscany, they certainly receive a sort of bonus from the regional government for buying g.f. food (some 100 dollars a month) in farmacie, supermarkets etc.
    I’m soon going to open a small b&b near Florence, I want guests to find here gluten free breakfast or food, I know what it means when you have to explain what being a celiac is…
    By the way, we come to New York last year and had the same problem with the food both ways (Delta!), supposed to be gluten free but just ordinary bread and crackers going with a very sad sort of salad, you can’t do this to an Italian celiac adolescent!!
    I’m not a very good cook but I’m improving day by day, my pizza is really delicious and so were the tortelli di patate (sort of small pieces of home made past with a fill of smashed potatoes, the specialities of Mugello area) I made yesterday, something I bet you never had over there…

  102. Sarah

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences with the world. My mom and I (and my kids) have been gluten free since May last year. We’ve been campaigning to get my dad to at least try it!!! Anyway, when he learned about a week ago that my mother “really truly” has no intention of ever eating gluten again, he became very despondent. “But what about our trip to Italy,” he wondered. So of course, I told him, “gluten free girl went to Italy for her honeymoon and she writes all you have to do is say no gluten! Google it!” He feels much better and even posted a link to his FB!

  103. Gale

    For a good part of our married lives, the running joke between me and my husband has been where to retire–France or Italy? One for bread, the other for coffee? But add pasta to the equation, and Italy always wins. Hard to believe I didn’t really want to go to Italy on my first trip there. We’ve been back several times and have been nurturing our dream to retire there one day. Until celiac. Who could forego all that pasta? Sorry, Tinkyada, but there is just no comparison. Then my husband came across your site and shared it with me as I was bemoaning my fate. He had just asked how come I never seem to get sick in Italy–even before I took on the gluten-free diet. Probably because they have real food…. But real GLUTEN-FREE food?!?!? Thanks to your post, tonight’s pasta from Schar’s actually had flavor! Had I known on my last trip to Bolsano & Innsbruck ( Dr. Schär’s territory), I would have just stayed. It is especially heartening to know that Italy hasn’t ruined corn the way the US has; I really do find corn flour so much tastier than all the tasteless brown rice stuff here! I’m once again looking forward to being adopted by Italy, thanks to your reminder of its varied pleasures. See you there?

  104. Rachel

    Hi Shauna,

    I love your blog! It has helped me cook for my 10 year old daughter.
    We are in Rome right now. The food is wonderful and safe! Do you remember the name of the Gelateria or where it is, that serves GF cones?


  105. Astarte

    Thank you so much for this post! When my friend invited me to Italy, my first thought was “How am I going to eat with all that pasta?” You have calmed my nerves and I’m more excited than ever to go! No cross-contamination, that’s like a miracle in itself! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  106. Gayle

    Thank you for the article on eating in Italy. I have allergies to all grains and rice, corn and soy. Any help would be appreciated because we are heading to Italy next week on the 7th. Even if I don’t hear from you, you have given me hope! Gayle

  107. Lindsey

    I am going to Italy in a week and I was so glad to stumble on this post. I am living in Spain where, like in the US, I feel like a freak most of the time. I haven’t read all of the posts/comments, but have you ever been to Ireland? It is considered one of the most celiac friendly countries in the world and everywhere I went–from tiny pubs in Galway to cheap pizza places in Dublin, had a gf menu. It was difficult to leave.

  108. Marian

    @Lindsey – Ireland is not as coeliac-friendly as you think, sorry about that! Try living there for a start, you’ll see (I’m an Irish coeliac). The UK, France and Europe on the other hand – divine! =D Haven’t been to Italy yet, must go after reading this blog! Fair play to you, girl! Your words give me a desire to take the week off and TRAVEL!! Also delighted to hear your partner is so understanding – the good ones are so hard to find! Especially those that understand GF, LF, etc. Best of luck for the future, and take care!

  109. Olivia

    I’m about to go to Italy and came across your blog. I always get so ill when I travel because I end up having to eat so many luna bars/oatmeal/poor foods to not risk an allergic reaction. So glad to know Italy is understanding. Argentina, I found, was the same way.

    Random: I filmed a commercial for Marys Gone Crackers! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  110. Meg

    I recently moved from the US to Sweden and it is so easy to find gluten free food here! What is even better is when I go to eat with new friends I don’t have to be embarrassed when I say oh I cant eat gluten…they just say Really I have so many friends with that! Do you want/need help ordering? I also have two friends here who are doctors, one educated in Italy the other in Poland. They were both shocked when I told them that people in the US don’t know what gluten or celiac disease are! They told me it was one of the very first things they learned in medical school! I hope the US catches up quickly so it isn’t so frustrating when I go home to visit my parents. Very glad that it is safe to eat in Italy! What other countries are ok?

  111. Rashmi

    I was so glad to read your blog. We’re going to Italy and I wondered how I would survive. Did you find that the local small restaurants also had gluten free or did you go into a dozen before finding one. I’m actually lactose intolerant and vegetarian on top of needing to be gluten free.

  112. Shawna

    Oh my goodness. I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders! I am going to Italy in September for 18 days and have been constantly concerned and very bummed that I may not beable to enjoy wonderful food…or even eat at all. I am from Washington too and have felt like I am trapped in a little bubble because of the fear that other places may not have anything that I can eat. How wonderful to know that I can travel and still be understood when it comes to meal time! Yay! Thank you SO much for informing me! Italy here I come!

  113. Shirley

    It’s so refreshing to hear from people who suffer from the same thing I do. When I was diagnosed with Celiac disease 3 years ago I was relieved that I could put a name to what I was going through. Trying to explain to people Celiac disease was a chore especially the people I work with. They would look at me like I had 2 heads. I found a good article in the local newspaper on Celiac, photocopied it and passed it aroung to my co-workers. They still look at me funny but all the questions have stopped. We are going to Italy in August and since your blog I now am looking forward to it more than ever.

    Thank you

  114. sorceresspol

    You’ve just made my day! Off to Rome in a couple of weeks….I’ve wanted to go since a small child, but wasn’t actually looking forward to it all that much as the last time I was in Italy (Venice) I really struggled to eat. Now just to hope that they’re as veggie friendly too!

  115. Liz

    I am preparing to go to Italy and must eat both gluten free and casien free. Breakfast is what I am most worried about. My daughter, who is a traveler, assures me I will be able to get fruit anywhere, but that may not be enough. Is it so hard to find a cooked egg in the morning? Must I rely only upon fruit if I don’t happen to come upon the right restaurant or pharmacy? Thank you so much for this blog! Please advise!!

  116. Sue

    I just got back from Italy and found great gluten free pizza at Le Botteghe di Donatelloin Florence, great gluten free pasta and bread at Isidoro on Capri, great bakery items at R. Buonocore on Capri, gluten free pasta and nooches at La Fenice in Sorrento

  117. gina

    so wonderful to read this … im about to go gluten free (pcos) in 2 days!
    you have a great blog ill be reading for sure!!

    bon weekend


  118. Lisa

    Wow, we are going to Italy in two weeks and I was preparing myself for starvation. I thought Italy was all bread and pasta. So happy to find this blog. We’ll be eating late dinners so I doubt I’ll even want breakfast, but I’ll bring a couple bags of cookies along for a nibble. Looking forward to it more than ever, now.

  119. Jesse

    Great story. I’m going to northern Italy this summer too. Have had great gluten free experiences from Rome earlier.

  120. GlutenFreeLiz

    I’m a celiac who’s going to Italy for the first time this October. It was wonderful to read they are so knowledgable about it. There is actually a card that you can print out, which is in Italian, that will tell the staff at any Italian restaurant about your condition.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful site!

  121. Laura

    Grazie tanto! Io anche sono celiaco. I very recently found out that I have celiac disease, and I will be starting a gluten-free diet soon. I used to live in Italy and I adored the Italian diet–from the fresh ingredients at the local markets to the wonderful tortelloni in the Bologna restaurants. This post is some of the best news I’ve read since being diagnosed as gluten-intolerant! I can’t wait to return to Italy someday, and I’m looking forward to trying their gluten-free cuisine. Thanks!

  122. erin

    I’m in Italy right now for the first time, and it’s true – it’s NEVER been less stressful to eat gluten free!! I’ve read this post of yours a million times, thinking that it couldn’t possibly be true, but i haven’t had so much as a raised eyebrow in little towns or big cities. I’m on day 3 of a 14-day vacation and can’t wait for all the culinary adventures to come.

    So. Awesome!

  123. Kathleen

    I leave in a few days to spend two-weeks in Florence and southern Tuscany. When I read your article just now I literally burst into tears of joy. I was so worried about missing out on the trip. Thanks for the info!!

  124. Janine

    I am so encouraged to read this! My husband has a business trip in Italy and wants to take me with him. I was scared to go. I have to eat gluten free, but also corn free and no oats either. It is so difficult to eat here out here in the USA without getting sick and I can speak the language. So I was thinking it would be even worse in a foreign country. Do you think I would be able to eat gluten free AND corn free?
    Thanks for all your wonderful, valuable information and help!

  125. Michael

    My wife and I lived in Italy for 3 years when I got stationed there at the Air Force Base. When we found out that’s where we were going, Jen was worried, but after we got there and got settled, we found out about the farmacia and eating out. Probably our favorite story is about a trip to Rome and a snooty waiter when Jen asked about a hamburger. He said, “It’s not McDonald’s, it has no bun, just a slice of meat.” Jen said, “I’ll take two.”

  126. Chris Lynn

    Thanks so much for this article. In November, I’m biking through Italy. I’ve been worried that I’d have a hard time finding food I could eat. Now I’m super excited!! Thank you!

  127. Francesca Rossi

    Honey, I wonder where did you go. I read your post and found very funny: I suspect you were a bit influenced by the beauty of the place. I am italian and celiac and believe me it is an extremely hard time. Nobody knows and there’s nothing to eat. I think you ate in upscale restos, because believe me gluten in Italy is everywhere.


    1. shauna

      well, I was able to eat safely everywhere we went. and believe me, we couldn’t afford upscale restaurants. gluten is everywhere, but my experience is that there was plenty of understanding about gluten-free, something I have heard from many readers here as well.

  128. Lois Parker

    Love your story, licking my chops despite all my food intolerances but feeling sorry for myself at the same time. I am not only gluten free but soy, dairy (all dairy), chocolate, alcohol, cruciferous vegetable and mostly garlic free! So fine with rice and corn based foods but no butter (so no baguettes), no cheese (so no mozzarella), etc.. How and what will I do in Italy? France? Croatia? Any advice from your fellow travelers? Appreciatively, Lois

  129. Brenda

    I just came across your post and am truly so excited! My husband and I are planning a family trip to Italy and Croatia in the fall and I have been wondering how on earth I was going to eat… and not starve while there. I had no idea! Thank you! I will remember to reserve snacks for the way home… I imagine Delta hasn’t improved. 🙂

  130. Anna Briggs

    I am going to Italy for three months to study abroad, and I was sooo worried about what I was going to eat while I was there. Its a great opportunity for me, but I almost cancelled because I thought I would starve to death in the world of pizza and pasta.

    This post is one of the greatest things I’ve ever read. I am now floored about my trip, to step into a world where I’m not strange to ask for food without Gluten. I’m almost more excited because of this, than my studies! I’m sorry about Delta. I now know to pack snacks for the flight! Thank you for touching my life!!!

    -Anna Nichole

  131. Andrea

    I am a college student and recently diagnosed with with Celiacs, now adjusting to a gluten free diet, decided to study abroad in Italy. Talking in class about all the amazing foods that I can no longer eat is a little depressing. Reading your blog what up lifting and informative. Thank you!

  132. Kat

    I will be going back to Italy for the first time in 11 years…and for the first time knowing I have Celiacs. Reading your blog made me feel completely at ease especially since I will be there for a whole month. Thank you for this blog…you have just made this anxious grrl excited.

  133. Darci

    Gluten free Girl! Thank you so much for writing this! My husband and I are traveling to Switzerland, Belgium and Italy in May 2012, and I have celiacs but I also can’t have eggs, so it is very hard for me to eat. Gluten free foods still have eggs…so is there anything/any place you recommend in Italy so I won’t get sick?

  134. Francesca Maggi

    I live in Italy which seems next to impossible to be gluten-free…but as you say, there are tons of scrumptious delights to tantalize any tastebuds! I’ve added a link to this entry on my blog, Burnt by the Tuscan Sun!

    Grazie mille.

  135. catherine

    Great article. Hopefully they will get as advanced on other allergies. I was there 3 year ago. I told my tour company (a very reputable one) about my soy allergy… they said ‘no problem’. Our tour guide for the 2 weeks (who was fantasic in every other way) simply said that they don’t use soy in Italy. I stressed to him that I would have serious health effects. He said ‘no probem’. I was SOOO sick by the second week it was ridiculous. I asked Giuseppe one more time, and he said ‘we don’t use soy in Italy’. Which is when I took the opportunity to point to the sign above my head on the Amalfi street that read ‘Soy Gelato’.

  136. Hilary

    I’m about to decide upon a trip to Italy in Sept. — a group of women from my town are going to Cinque Terre. The organizer is concerned that I won’t be able to find sufficient (restaurant) food in the villages (this is her fourth year there). I cannot eat wheat and have to tread lightly with dairy and don’t really like shellfish (I will eat the local sea bass). She doesn’t recall much in the way of legumes or poultry. Any feedback would be appreciated!

  137. Paulene

    Thanks for posting about your trip to Italy. Its my biggest dream to have a trip there and my only concern has been about the food, but now Ill be able to relax and keep dreaming and planning about the wonderful time our family (4 gluten free) will have there . Thanks heaps
    Paulene from New Zealand

  138. susan

    Hi, thank you so much for writing your blog. I have just found it. We leave for Europe in a few weeks with a 6yr old, who is allergic to wheat. We’ll be in Italy for 10 days, so your timely article has made me relax about the concerns I had about finding food for her to eat.
    Looking forward to being there even more so now. cheers

  139. Dominique

    Thank you so much for this post, Shauna! By any chance, do you remember the name or location of the gelateria where you spotted the cones for all? I’m headed to Italy (Tuscany and Rome) in about a month and what a treat it would be to have gelato in a cone!

  140. Cait

    Thank so much for this information. I am about to travel through Italy for 3 weeks and was so worried about eating gluten free. I now feel at ease and excited.
    Thanks Cait

  141. nancy

    hi i just read your story and same here.. italy has the best gluten free food and very easy to fid…
    im dying to go to italy where its so easy to eat gluten free everywhere and love the fact that people are well educated on it…. the gf food in italy is so much better tasting and better ingredients than whats made in the usa… why? it should be like that….
    i actually havent had any bread since i have last been in italy and im dying to go back just to eat well, without getting sick after a meal! and packing a suitcase full of food to bring back to the usa…
    why is it so hard here in the usa????

  142. nancy

    if your celiac and go to italy and love good tasting bread without having to heat up and without being to heavy on your stomach, and without any after taste, you have to have to taste this bread: ”Pane Casereccio” dr.schar Gluten-free bread

    you can buy this at the ”farmacia”

    i know dr.schar is sold in the usa but its completely different ingredients than what sold in italy… somehow i dont know why the ingredients are modified in the usa…

    also try bia-glut baguette, amazing brand too

    also heres a great link to find local restaurant, bakeries and pizza, ice cream places anywhere in italy, click on the link and there you will see a choices of city’s to pick from:

  143. nancy

    here’s the translation from this link:
    Locali Senza Glutine

    Ristoranti per celiaci **** ”RESTAURANTS FOR CELIACS” **** (click on the city u want)

    Alessandria, Ancona, Asti, Bari, Benevento, Bergamo, Bologna, Brescia, Brindisi, Cagliari, Carbonia-Iglesias, Caserta, Catania, Chieti, Como, Cosenza, Cuneo, Firenze, Genova, Gorizia, Grosseto, Imperia, La Spezia, Latina, Lecce, Lecco, Macerata, Mantova, Matera, Messina, Milano, Modena, Monza, Monza e Brianza, Napoli, Novara, Nuoro, Palermo, Parma, Pavia, Perugia, Pescara, Pisa, Pordenone, Ragusa, Ravenna, Reggio Calabria, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Roma, Salerno, San Marino, Sassari, Savona, Siena, Teramo, Torino, Trapani, Treviso, Trieste, Udine, Varese, Venezia, Verona, Vibo Valentia, Vicenza, Viterbo;

    Pizzerie per celiaci *****” PIZZERIA FOR CELIACS’****

    Alessandria, Ascoli Piceno, Asti, Bari, Belluno, Bergamo, Bologna, Brescia, Brindisi, Cagliari, Carbonia-Iglesias, Caserta, Catania, Chieti, Como, Cosenza, Ferrara, Firenze, Foggia, Forlì – Cesena, Frosinone, Genova, Grosseto, Imperia, La Spezia, Latina, Livorno, Lucca, Mantova, Messina, Milano, Modena, Monza, Monza e Brianza, Napoli, Novara, Olbia Tempio, Padova, Palermo, Pavia, Pescara, Ragusa, Reggio Calabria, Rimini, Roma, Rovigo, Salerno, San Marino, Sassari, Savona, Siracusa, Torino, Trapani, Trento, Treviso, Trieste, Varese, Verona, Vicenza;

    Alberghi e Hotel per celiaci *****” HOTELS FOR CELIACS”***** PICK YOUR CITY

    Ascoli Piceno, Bari, Barletta, Benevento, Bolzano, Como, Firenze, Forlì-Cesena, Grosseto, Massa e Carrara, Medio Campidano, Messina, Milano, Napoli, Nuoro, Pesaro e Urbino, Pistoia, Ravenna, Rimini, Roma, Salerno, San Marino, Siracusa, Sondrio, Teramo, Torino, Trento, Treviso, Venezia, Verona, Viterbo;

    Negozi per celiaci ****”” STORES FOR CELIACS”******

    Agrigento, Ascoli Piceno, Asti, Bari, Belluno, Bergamo, Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Brindisi, Cagliari, Caltanissetta, Campobasso, Caserta, Catania, Catanzaro, Chieti, Como, Empoli, Ferrara, Firenze, Genova, Isernia, L’Aquila, Latina, Lecce, Lecco, Livorno, Lodi, Lucca, Macerata, Mantova, Massa e Carrara, Milano, Modena, Monza e Brianza, Napoli, Novara, Olbia, Padova, Palermo, Parma, Pavia, Pescara, Piacenza, Pisa, Potenza, Ragusa, Reggio Calabria, Reggio Emilia, Rieti, Rimini, Roma, Sassari, Siena, Siracusa, Teramo, Torino, Treviso, Udine, Varese, Venezia, Vercelli, Verona, Vicenza;

    Bed and Breakfast per celiaci ****””BED AND BREAKFAST FOR CELIACS”*****

    Ascoli Piceno, Assisi, Bergamo, Bolzano, Brescia, Cagliari, Catanzaro, Firenze, Frosinone, Latina, Lecce, Mantova, Massa e Carrara, Messina, Napoli, Oristano, Perugia, Roma, Salerno, Trento, Trieste, Verona;

    Agriturismi per celiaci ******

    Alessandria, Biella, Catania, Cremona, Ferrara, Isernia, La Spezia, Lecce, Lucca, Matera, Modena, Nuoro, Perugia, Pistoia, Potenza, Roma, Sassari, Terni, Torino;

    Panetterie per celiaci **** BREAD BAKERY FOR CELIACS”******

    Arezzo, Bergamo, Cagliari, Catania, Cosenza, Firenze, Foggia, Grosseto, Lecce, Milano, Novara, Palermo, Pistoia, Ragusa, Roma, Torino, Trapani, Varese, Verona, Viareggio;

    Pasticcerie per celiaci ***** BAKERIES FOR CELIACS”******

    Aosta, Caltanissetta, Catanzaro, Chieti, Ferrara, Firenze, Foggia, Lamezia Terme, Lecce, Lucca, Massa e Carrara, Messina, Napoli, Palermo, Pistoia, Ragusa, Ravenna, Rimini, Roma, Salerno, Siena, Siracusa, Teramo, Torino, Trapani;

    Gelaterie per celiaci *****GELATO FOR CELIACS’******

    Bergamo, Bologna, Chieti, Firenze, La Spezia, Lucca, Massa e Carrara, Monza e Brianza, Novara, Palermo, Pisa, Rimini, Roma, Torino, Trieste, Verona;


    Aosta, Catania, Ferrara, Firenze, Forlì-Cesena, Genova, Massa e Carrara, Ragusa, Riccione, Roma, Siracusa, Trapani;

    Catering per celiaci ****** CATERING FOR CELIACS******

    Milano, Napoli, Roma;

    Farmacie per celiaci ****** FARMACIA WILL CARRY GF ITEMS SUCH AS BREAD,COOKIE ETC*****

    Agrigento, Brescia, Catania, Como, Ferrara, La Spezia, Lecce, Macerata, Milano, Padova, Ragusa, Riccione, Rimini, Roma, Torino, Trapani, Treviso, Varese, Verona, Vicenza;

    Ultimi Locali Senza Glutine Inseriti **** MORE RESTAURANTS FOR CELIACS****

    Il mulino celiaco – Panetteria per celiaci – Ostia – Roma
    Il paradiso del celiaco – Negozi per celiaci – Como
    La Rocca – Ristorante per celiaci – Roccapalumba – Palermo
    Golositasenzaglutine – Negozi per celiaci – Avenza – Massa e Carrara
    Golosita senza glutine – Pasticceria per celiaci – Carrara Avenza – Massa e Carrara
    Donna Orsola de Tocco delle Onde – Ristorante per celiaci – Ricadi – Vibo Valentia Srl – Negozi per celiaci – Bolzano
    Civi Hotel – Albergo/Hotel per celiaci – Tortoreto Lido – Teramo
    Fraula – Negozi per celiaci – Sassari
    Solo Senza Glutine – Negozi per celiaci – Concorezzo – Monza e Brianza

    ***Although heres a list, you can also easily find gluten free everywhere in italy!!!!!

  144. Andrea

    Grazie mille – I lived for a year in Italy and am about to return – but this time I know I can’t eat gluten. Sono celiaco – senza glutine – you just gave me the code for a comfortable and delicious stay in Italy. If you’d like to check out funny stories about living there – I loved every moment – see 4initalia on wordpress. And thank you so much for this information!!!


  145. karen

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! we are going to Italy this year, and I was so worried that I was only going to be living on risotto, ensalata with no dressing, and protein bars that I am packing in my bag. Bless you!!!!!!! Karen

  146. Renate

    I’ld be carefull ordering coffee in Italy though. Many people drink ‘caffe d’orzo’ which contains gluten and they make it in the same coffee machine!

  147. Renate

    also risotto may contain small amounts of gluten as they may use stock that contains gluten

  148. Becky

    Shauna, really, my friends keep telling me we need to meet, I feel like I know you and we are 5 minutes away from bumping into each other. Thank you for yet another fabulous blog post. I set my sights on Italy after accepting a new job (it’s my reward to myself for working hard) and I’ve been researching all night. It’s awesome to read your post among others, including one that talks about….wait for it….GLUTEN FREE CROISSANTS!!!! Yeah. I’m so there. And maybe, I’ll just move there and you’ll have to drag yourself (as if) back to visit me! I’m totally psyched to get to Italy STAT. PS – I heard you and Phebe of Dolce Lou finally met at Ballard Market! Isn’t she a cutie!? Thanks again for sharing your experience in perfect detail. I can taste it already.

  149. Tisha

    I am leaving for a trip to Italy in 3 weeks and I have been very worried about how I was going to enjoy this trip without getting ill. The information you have provided in this Blog is going to be very helpful. Thank you!

  150. Debbie

    I too love eating gluten free in Italy! I was told that it was in Italy after one of the world wars when a Dr. discovered Celiac. During the war they didnt have bread due to rationing. In a certain village the children prospered where as before & after the war some had died. So he started researching & figured it out and that’s why everyone in Italy gets checked out.

  151. Joy

    I am leaving for Italy in a week. This article almost made me cry. It is my 11th trip to Italy and I will be surrounded by family most of the time, but I have been so nervous. I just found out 3 weeks ago I have celiac so this is all so new for me. And the thought of no semolina has made me so sad but now I feel like this will be a good vacation! THANK YOU!

  152. Rita

    I just got back from Tuscany. I went to a workshop there through Il Chiostro at Borgo San Fedele. The chef and an owner took such great care of me. Every meal my gluten intolerance was factored in, special ravioli made for me, a breakfast cake every morning, French type bread for appetizers, all excellent. The chef was Andrea and the baker was owner Renata. I highly recommend this incredible place.

  153. Sara T

    I bookmarked this page a couple of years ago. Every now and then I go back and read it again and every single time I start and end it crying. “It shouldn’t be this hard.”

  154. Becca

    I actually teared up reading your post because the idea of a place that it is so easy to not be ill in sounds like a dream. I really really want to go to Italy now. I live in Asia currently and while it’s great that my friends who speak Cantonese try to help so I don’t get sick, it would be great to say “I have Celiac” and not have to explain it. Also, the description of that gluten free bread makes me want some so badly but I’ve not found any delicious gluten free bread here.

  155. Julie

    I just stumbled on your blog because we are planning a trip to Italy in June and I wondered how I’d do. Last night we went to local restaurant we had never been to, having recevied a gift card from a friend. I mentioned gluten to the waitress whose husband is in the same boat, so she understood, and she said “oh there’s almost nothing on our menu you can eat”. It was my birthday, mind you, and I wasn’t having a great day to start with. She did come back and tell me that what I’d wanted (a seafood risotto) could be adjusted so I could have it, so all was not lost. But, reading your blog now for the first time, I have to agree with other folks commenting, it brought me to tears. I’m ready to move now, too. Thanks so much for this entry. I’ll be spending a lot of time on your blog here on in.

  156. Tina G

    Thank-you for writing this. I have longed to go to Italy, but thought what was the point as I have a Gluten Allergy, and that is the land of beautiful pasta and a death wish for me After seeing this,a dream can come true. My husband and I are planning our trip!! Can’t wait.

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