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Rach

Eating In Italy

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I will be living in Florence, Italy for three months this summer and am concerned about finding food to prepare that I can eat. Does anyone have any suggestions as to the names of resturants, grocerys, ect.?

And it would be helpful if this information was not in Italian! Yes, I know about the website, but that is not really any help when I don't read the language yet!!!

Thanks for any suggestions

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All I can say is I went to Italy for a month (Florence too :) ) and got sicker and sicker and sicker. Mind you, this was prediagnosis and we ate pastries for breakfast, pizza for lunch and pasta for supper :o No wonder I could barely leave the flat by the end of it!

There is an incredible fresh foods market in Florence where you can buy all sorts of yummy stuff - fruit, veggies, meats, etc. I've also heard the gluten-free foods are at the pharmacy. And I've heard good things about restaurants - Italy is supposed to be one of the best informed countries regarding celiac.

Let us know how it goes!

Merika

PS. The Italians were all VERY friendly and helpful and lighthearted about me & dh's *atrocious* Italian :D

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Thanks for all your suggestions. I don't leave until May, but I will be sure to let you know how it goes.
I'd be interested to know how your trip went :) I really want to go to Italy within the next few years.

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Apparently, celiac disease is very prevalent in Italy and Ireland. I've actually heard that newborns in Italy are automatically tested for celiac disease, so they are very educated and ahead of us! also heard that pharmacy's sell gluten-free food. It may turn out to be the best place to go afterall! Lucky you! :)

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In my support group we had a few members speak about eating out safely abroad. One woman prepared herself with dining cards and learned a few key key Italian phrases and did fine. She only had one restaurant that told her that they were not comfortable feeding her.

The best place we ate in Florence (pre dx) was Aqua Aldue (don't think that's spelled right) but their specialty is a montrous filet mignon that is marinated for 24 hours in fresh blueberry sauce of all things. We were not adventurous enough to try it (we rarely ate red meat before I got anemia) but we were only a handful of people that did not go there just for that dish.

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Hi,

I know you said you knew about the Italian website, but it is helpful and you DONT have to speak italian to use it. I can't speak a word and I was able to figure out all I needed...you just print out the restaurants for the regions you will be in, they all will be able to serve you. I went to a few of them and, at all of them, had good experiences. I had good experiences at other restaurants too, dinner was actually pretty easy anywhere if you bring your own pasta and a card explaining the diet in Italian.

http://www.celiachia.it/ristoratori/ristoratori.asp

I THINK i went to Il Portale in Florence...I went to one of the ones on the list at least. Anyway I had pizza there that was great.

Print out the gelateria gluten-free places too...a lot of gelato has gluten in it, be careful.

All the Pharmacias with the cross sign lit up have gluten-free food, a lot of it is delicious!

I wouldn't worry too much, people seem to all know about it there, at least that was my experience.

good luck!

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Hi,

I know you said you knew about the Italian website, but it is helpful and you DONT have to speak italian to use it. I can't speak a word and I was able to figure out all I needed...you just print out the restaurants for the regions you will be in, they all will be able to serve you. I went to a few of them and, at all of them, had good experiences. I had good experiences at other restaurants too, dinner was actually pretty easy anywhere if you bring your own pasta and a card explaining the diet in Italian.

http://www.celiachia.it/ristoratori/ristoratori.asp

I THINK i went to Il Portale in Florence...I went to one of the ones on the list at least. Anyway I had pizza there that was great.

Print out the gelateria gluten-free places too...a lot of gelato has gluten in it, be careful.

All the Pharmacias with the cross sign lit up have gluten-free food, a lot of it is delicious!

I wouldn't worry too much, people seem to all know about it there, at least that was my experience.

good luck!

(I don't know how to use this message board...help!)

Anyway, to the person who's been to Italk, w/ good luck, w/ Italian website, etc....

I'm going to Rome, Italy.

Are you saying that some restaurants serve gluten-free pasta??? Or, you took your own and they accomodated you?

Thanks!!

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(I don't know how to use this message board...help!)

Anyway, to the person who's been to Italk, w/ good luck, w/ Italian website, etc....

I'm going to Rome, Italy.

Are you saying that some restaurants serve gluten-free pasta??? Or, you took your own and they accomodated you?

Thanks!!

I would bring your own gluten free pasta out for dinner with you...every place was accomodating when I did that.

As for the gluten-free restaurants on the Italian website, I would ask the concierge at your hotel to phone and ask what the options for you are there.

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I will be living in Florence, Italy for three months this summer and am concerned about finding food to prepare that I can eat. Does anyone have any suggestions as to the names of resturants, grocerys, ect.?

And it would be helpful if this information was not in Italian! Yes, I know about the website, but that is not really any help when I don't read the language yet!!!

Thanks for any suggestions

Was just there with my celiac partner in November. Go to the tourist office, and ask for the gluten free restaurant guide. They have certified several restaurants as gluten free, and you can get non contaminated pasta and pizza. There's a list in Italian here: http://www.celiachia.it/ristoratori/ristor...sp?idregione=16

There is also gluten free bread, crackers and such at the pharmacies, and the tourist office also can tell you the health food stores for more options.

The only thing - we got a little sick of Italian food. There aren't a lot of other options.

But Florence is a beautiful city, lots of Michaelangelos, great churches. You can go to Ravenna to see the mosaics, do a day trip to Rome. Wonderful opportunities.

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Hi Rach,

I lived in Florence for about a year, that was before my dx, so I can't speak to how friendly or educated the italians are about Celiac Disease. If you're going to be there for 3 months, my guess is you're not going to want to be eating out all the time. There is an incredible two story market where you can get any fresh food you want from fruits and veggies to meat and cheese. (Beware of unidentifiable sausages, etc of course). It is near the train station. If you follow Via Sant'Antinino past the Medici Chapel, you will see the large two story building on you're right. It's surrounded by a bunch of street vendors, so you can't miss it. You'll want to make sure to go before noon though while all the vendors are still selling.

There is also a supermarket of sorts where you can get foreign and speciality items. Again, I can't remember the name of it, but it is on a side street off of the Duomo in the direction of the Arno. I know this makes no sense now, but Florence is a very small city, if you wander around, you will almost assuredly find it. Plus, if you don't speak italian, 90% of the people who live in Florence speak some English (kills the foreign experience but helps when you're looking for something). If you're interested, I could give you more specifics, you can message me, and I'll dig out my maps and notes and such and let you know a few more places even, or if you have any other questions; I love Italy, and Florence is a wonderful city.

Buon Viaggio!!

Heather

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That was odd. I joined this forum to ask EXACTLY the question that you put out. I'm also celiac, and I'm going to be living in Florence for three months, and wanted to know any info people had. I'm going to be there from late Aug to Early Nov 2006. Weird coincidence. Freaked me out for a sec...and what great answers everyone has. You all have no idea how useful it'll be.

Cheers ^_^

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My family (wife, son and daughter) are all off wheat and we just got back from Italy in January. As others have mentioned, the Italian Celiac site is not hard to understand even for those who speak no Italian, and the list of restaurants is nice. One restaurant we really enjoyed in Florence was Ciro and Sons, right in the heart of the city, near San Lorenzo. They speak English there, which was nice for my wife and kids, who speak no Italian, have great gluten-free pasta dishes, and are just great people. Note: if you're ordering a gluten-free pizza, you MUST do it a day in advance. We learned this the hard way, but my wife and kids still loved the meal. We ate out several times at random restaurants, and never had a problem after I explained the situation. Of course, their first reaction after I explained that, "Mia famiglia non possono mangiare il frumento" (My family can't eat wheat) was that I must be crazy, everything on the menu has wheat. I would then explain what we could eat, and we had not a single problem. However, if you're planning on going to Italy, do yourself a favor and at least learn a few important words and phrases related to Celiac.

We stayed in apartments in Rome and Florence (visit http://worldby.com for a nice selection) and had no problem finding markets that had gluten-free pastas and breads in both cities. The pharmacies don't all carry gluten free stuff, but the central pharmacy in Florence, right near the Ponte Vecchio had a decent selection of stuff, including excellent beer (called "76" I recall). I wouldn't make a special trip to the Pharmacia though, since most markets have enough to keep you going. Polenta was a lifesaver, and the store-bought corn pasta was the best pasta I've eaten anywhere, wheat-free or not. One thing we did do was pack nutrition bars for lunch on our long walks in Rome. Florence is so small that if you're staying in the center, you can just stop at your apartment for lunch and then go back out. Anyway, while Italy is certainly "doable" with Celiac, if you take the time to learn just a little Italian, stuff like: "I have Celiac," or "I can't eat wheat but I can eat corn and potatoes" then you should do just fine. Even though there are a lot more people there than here who will know what you mean when you say you have Celiac (Celiachia, pronounced "chee-lee-ah-kee-a" in Italian), most people will not know what you're talking about until you say you can't eat wheat, so be prepared for a little explaining and a few weird reactions at first. Buona fortuna in Italia! You can daydream a little before the trip by visiting my photo gallery here

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I am leaving for Italy this Saturday. I will be there two months. I just started a blog here at celiac.com about my travels. I am gluten/casein free and will be staying with my family.

I am so excited that I will have the support of the message boards while traveling.

This thread has been very helpful, as it seems so many others have travelled successfully.

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Italiana1981,

I'll be travelling to Italy in September, so I'll be tracking your blog. I'm anxious to hear how easy or difficult it is to eat in Italy. Have a great trip.

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Ahh.....nostalgia....spent half a summer in Italy about 20 years ago.

Anyone remember the name of that famous gelateria in Florence? Vivoli's? Vivace's? Something like that...best gelato in the world, and I should know, we trekked there TWICE a day. Surely most of their gelati should be gluten-free!

Ciao -

Susan

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Guest domusalessandra

From lovely ITALY

Hi!

I'm Italian and have just subscribed to the forum...

Gluten-free food in Italy is far from being known by many. Sometimes, when you tell somebody "no thanks I can't have it because of..." people stares at you wondering what kind of handicap you have or why taking such a rigorous diet pointless...

HOWEVER, when you go to pharmacies they do should know quite perfectly what you talking about and provide you with a lot of gluten-free products within 24 h. I mean: they normally provide Italian coeliacs with gluten-free products, but this does not mean that they keep them in, rather, you order some and get them the day after.

A bit worse when it's about to it out: in Italy the risk of cross contamination is very very high. Both because gluten could be present in unsuspectable food like jam, and because, of course, the Italian cuisine is wheat based. Many restaurants produce their homemade pasta: imagine clouds of wheat going around in the kitchen. Imagine a cook picking the same tools they have used with sauces containing gluten to stir the gluten-free pasta you have brought about. Actually, that pasta has been surely cooked in the same water as glutenWITH pasta!!!!!

Therefore: stick carefully to the list of restaurants you've been mentioned earlier in the year.

Stick carefully to the handbood of gluten-free products (you can download it from the www.celiachia.it .

Both these services are supplied by the Italian Association of Coeliac. I'm actually one of those "tutors" providing restaurants with info, updates... and checking that those in the AIC list cumply strongly to the rules they were taught by us.

On top of that: should you find not easy to go the restaurants mentioned in the list ASK. Ask the chef, ask the people earlier like neighbours: there could be places which know well what coeliac disease is but for some reasons they are not mentioned in the list. For instance, after diagnosed with celiac disease, I turned my home into a B&B. I'm coeliac, need a 100% gluten-free kitchen and cuisine, so that I ended up providing only gluten-free food to my guests, who are normally coeliacs. I do not fit into the AIC list because the association has not started the gluten-free B&B project yet: only in Piedmont. I'm in Veneto, between Milan and Venice. You see?

Should any of you need any further info on Italy and gluten-free... here I am

Love

FM

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That was odd. I joined this forum to ask EXACTLY the question that you put out. I'm also celiac, and I'm going to be living in Florence for three months, and wanted to know any info people had. I'm going to be there from late Aug to Early Nov 2006. Weird coincidence. Freaked me out for a sec...and what great answers everyone has. You all have no idea how useful it'll be.

Cheers ^_^

====================================================

if you guys are there at the same time, you should look each other up - you could dine gluten free together.

just an idea... :D

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From lovely ITALY

Should any of you need any further info on Italy and gluten-free... here I am

Love

FM

buon giorno, FM, and WELCOME! (ho dimenticato quasi TUTTO l'italiano!) :(

Susan

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