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Gluten free in Rome, Athens, Venice?


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I've had trouble making any sense of the Italian Coeliac Society's web site. So, can anyone here suggest any places, particularly for lunches, where I can get something gluten free to eat?


In Rome, I'm interested in areas around the Termini, also the Vatican, Colosseum, and Spanish Steps areas.


In Athens, the area around the Acropolis.


In Venice, probably anywhere, but we'll be staying near San Marco.


Your help is appreciated. I know I'll probably find places with something to eat, if I look around and ask questions. But if anyone can suggest some places that definitely cater for Coeliacs, I'd really appreciated the time-saving! :)


Many thanks!


Carol in New Zealand

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Apparently this is fairly common all over Europe, even in Italy. You can look at sites like selectwisely.com for translation cards to carry with you, either buy them or make your own. I'm not sure if there are restaurants that cater to your situation, but most deal with it enough that it shouldn't be an issue. Maybe check tripadvisor for specific recommendations as well. Most restaurants do have menus posted so you can also make sure you see things that you can eat before even sitting down.

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You will find that more European restaurants cater to people with Celiac. But just in case, the Celiac society of Italy has a website with lists of restaurants (in English) at http://www.celiachia.it/afcristoratori/en-ristoratori.asp


You can also call 89.24.24 (but it only works in Italy) for help finding a restaurant. Information on how to use the service is at http://www.celiachia.it/afcristoratori/892424en.asp


What you ask for is: "menu senza glutine" (Gluten-free menu)


A friend who has Celiac says that she found it incredibly easy to manage in Italy on vacation.

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Thank you very much for your prompt responses. I persisted a bit more with the Italian Coeliac web site, and managed to glean something from there - not much available in Venice, by the look of it! The tip to check out Trip Advisor was also helpful. I already have some language cards, but hoped to avoid having to trawl around the restaurants looking for something. A heads-up for specific restaurants in advance is appealing. Lunch is the biggest problem - something to eat quickly. No doubt there will be plenty of fruit around, and yoghurt, anyway.


Still to check out Athens.


Many thanks.


Carol in NZ

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My wife has to eat GF meals and we have been to all those places you mention and it is not so easy, especially when you are in the land of pasta & pizza. She has always managed, but she takes heaps of GF biscuits and snack bars, as I am sure you do, just in case. There are many Italians that are Coeliac and most restaurants do understand and point out the dishes that can be ordered, but lunch on the run can be difficult.

There is always plenty of meat, fish, salads and of course risottos although we have had some really bad risottos in Venice.

If you can prepare your own meals the pharmacies in Italy sell excellent GF pastas to cook.

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Hi, Carol:


My husband and I will be travelling through the Mediterranean in a couple of weeks and he is Celiac. I have found a website www.celiachandbook.com/italy that seems to offer a small list of Gluten-free restaurants throughout Italy. Also, there is a restaurant in Venice called Da Poggi that is solely gluten-free and it is run by a husband an wife team I believe. Very small so reservations are suggested but my readings of reviews (I am the editor of a celiac newsletter in Canada) are very good. Unfortunately, I do not have the website handy but it is listed on the link that I mentioned earlier. Also, the pharmacies in Italy carry a selection of gluten-free items that you may find enjoyable. I understand they have a wonderful gluten-free biscotti. The gluten free pasta is a corn pasta and cooked properly is very tasty. I have read that some of the wine bars in Venice have antipasti menus that may have items for a quick lunch. Hope this helps.

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In reality, if I can't find something gluten-free for a quick lunch, I carry gluten-free energy bars and baggies of cinnamon almonds. Either or both usually give me enough protein to make it through until dinner. And I'll have a latte or gelato if I need something extra. For land trips, I get our hotel room without breakfast (saves a lot at some hotels, especially Venice). I bring from home bags of gluten-free granola and buy yogurt for breakfast. My suitcases are always "expanded" on the way over, rather than going home. :o I have translation cards in German, Spanish, French, and Italian from selectwisely.com. Mine include gluten and shellfish warnings. Someone on this board put me onto that website. Those cards are really handy.

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Thank you for all the additional gems of advice. I've checked out the web sites and made a note of the possible restaurants. Looks like my luggage will be expanded on the way to Europe, too :-(


I'm sure I'll survive.



Carol in NZ

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I've spent a lot of time in Northern Italy due to my job and I think you'll actually find a lot more options in ALL restaurants that are gluten free, including Venice, than you'd find in the States. Most of the foods are cooked fresh with minimal additives... so you know exactly what you are getting. While I was there, every day for lunch I had either a salad, which is served with balsamic vinegar & oil so no worries there, or Prosciutto & cantalope. The dinners are very easy, obviously you'll have to skip the pasta options, but there are a lot of fresh cheese, vegetable, and fish / meat dishes with little added ingredients. Even for dessert, I'd often get fruit with cream with no problems.


Good Luck!

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