Rome the “Eternal City” as it’s called. I will say “Rome is the dream destinations from celiacs”. A city so friendly to us coeliacs that it makes you feel completely normal, free of the slightest stress about your gluten-free diet and you ‘ll only worry what sightsights, museums to visit and how to entertain yourself. It’s the second time in my 10-year life with celiac disease that I’ve gone on vacation without having to cook or carry gluten-free bread, bars, snacks, etc.

Trip to Rome was truly the best gift my husband could have given me for the 25 years we’ve been together! (We celebrated 26 years this year. We were supposed to go last year, which was postponed due to health issues.)

He had planned everything! From where we would stay, where he booked the accommodation based on the gluten free store/bakery that was next block, but also he searched  the places we would go about gluten free restaurants was there!

I’ve had heard of people going to Italy 20-25 years ago to buy gluten-free products because back then in Greece there weren’t many options. So I knew that in Italy we would find gluten free shops and restaurants, but I never imagined that there would be so many.

 Find Me Gluten Free

A very good help on this trip was the application “Find Me Gluten Free” that I downloaded on my mobile.  For the places I was choosing, I was able to read comment and reviews from other celiac people. For me, the most important reviews on this app are from those who have celiac disease and are symptomatic. In the places I visited I also wrote my own impressions and also upload photos. Also in places where they were on this app but when I was telling them about contamination and traces they said they couldn’t serve safely, I also wrote it down at the app so symptomatic celiac can have a guide assistant.

From this summer I will also start writing about Greece and especially about Thessaloniki, where I live and the shops and restaurants I visit. I recommend this app but pay close attention to the comments/reviews before you decide to visit a store or restaurant.

The Italian Coeliac Society – AiC

The Italian Coeliac Society has done a great job with the restaurants. Wherever you see this badge at the entrance of the shop, you are sure of the gluten free dishes they serve.

In addition to the badge at the entrance, you will also see the Italian Coeliac Society  logo on the menu of each restaurant, but also in several shops, there were disposable paper placemats that again had the logo of the Italian Coeliac Society “AiC” so it was visible who was gluten free on the table.

A beautiful detail is the “Gluten Free” flag that they put on the dishes.

Regarding the stickers at the entrances, every year they add a new sticker with that year. At “Le Altre Farine del Mulino” I was impressed that they had all the stickers from 2018 to this year. At “La Soffitta Renovatio” I was impressed that on the menu it said which dishes you can order regular or gluten free but on all the breaded fried foods it said they are gluten free for everyone.

I was really astonished by how many gluten free options I found in Rome. The best thing was that my husband also followed the gluten-free option because he also found amazing dishes with absolutely no difference in taste, so I always had more options to try. Since I’m a symptomatic celiac, I asked about cross contamination, traces, etc. as I always do here in Greece. Luckily everyone was kind and despite my insistence on the questions, they always smiled at me and told me that I didn’t need to worry and that they knew about celiac disease and cross contamination and traces. As the days in Rome was passing I realize  that where the Italian AiC – Italian Coeliac Society had the badge in front of the restaurant,  ssurley was safe and no need at all to worry about anything!

I only once went to a restaurant that later when I saw the photos I had took, I realized that it didn’t have a club sign, but it said it was gluten free and it really was. Just after 3 hours I realized that some of what we’ve got was cross contaminated, not so much but I do suffered from symptoms for about 2 hours and I can say that I saw all the details and measured all the bathroom tiles in the house where we lived in Rome. That’s why I’m not writing it to this post. Although there I ate the most amazing appetizer I have ever eaten in my life. Fried artichoke!!! Along with zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella cheese.

Below you will find all the shops I went to and what I taste there and really liked. Surely there are much more options but we only stayed 7 days. So, what I managed to try,  I’m writing below, to be a guide when you decide to visit  Rome.

Since there are a lot of sightings to see and a lot of  restaurants, patisseries and ice cream shops that I must taste their food, I might revisit this gluten free heaven for celiacs again in the near future.

Aegean Airlines

A gluten-free trip must start and end gluten-free. So my meals on the plane were also gluten-free, since we chose it with booking. I was served with the gluten free first of all passengers and really surprised me and like it very much.

The cookies were amazing, since I already knew them and tried them few months ago. As for the food, I can’t say that it was good, but the dishes of my fellow travelers, the ones with gluten, were in the same denominator, so the absence of gluten for a dish is not to blame for not being good.

On the plus side, I had a gluten-free option and that makes me especially happy!!!

La Terrazza

Prati area

The “La Terrazza” we stayed in was a very nice apartment near the Vatican and of course I loved the terrace with the bougainvillea and jasmine plants. My husband chose this one because of its strategic location. In the next block is the Celiachiamo shop which has totally gluten-free products, but also has fresh baked bread, pizzas, sandwiches and gluten-free sweets.

Celiachiamo

6 locations across Rome

An exclusively gluten-free store, the best Supermarket I’ve seen. Shelves full of flours, polenta, cereals, cakes, biscuits, breads, breadcrumbs, croutons, creams, pasta, fresh pasta, beers, etc. You’ll find everything here! Freezers full of whatever your gluten-free mind can think of. Of course when we arrived in the afternoon I got a very soft bread for my breakfast, since the apartment offered breakfast such as nutella, jam, butter and coffee.

The good thing about this shop is that they have an oven with fresh bread that is baked daily and they also bake daily pizzas, fresh sandwiches, pies, cookies, cakes, tarts and sweets so I had by my side what I might need.

Celiachiamo is a chain of stores and you’ll find them in 6 locations across Rome, so you’ll find one near you, to grab some snacks as you wander around the tours or even take some home. I should note that the products I buy here in Greece and those in the store did not have very different prices, as I thought I would find since they are Italian companies.

Voglia di Pizza

Via dei Giubbonari, 33, 00186 RM

Voglia di Pizza was the first restaurant we went to in Rome. I was thrilled with how many gluten free options I had. The gluten-free menu was just as long as the conventional ones.

We ended up with the classics, pizza and pasta and of course gluten-free beer. It was basically a test for my husband too if he would eat gluten free. Our dishes arrived with their gluten free flags. With the first bite we were both excited. For me it was the best pasta I have ever eaten in my life. My husband said the same about the pizza. Amazing food and very good service with a smile and with a lot of patience of the girl who took our order, because as you can understand I asked all the questions and observations about cross contamination, traces etc. that I do here in Greece. It also has lactose-free options. We wanted to go again but in the end we didn’t have time because the choices in restaurants are too many!

Gelateria Fata Morgana

8 location across Rome

After a 3 hour tour at the Colosseum, we took several walks around the MONTI area looking to find a restaurant that we had read lots of good reviews. We found the restaurant closed because it was only open in the evening. However, we came across one of the 8 exclusively gluten-free ice cream shops, Gelateria Fata Morgana. Together with some 4-year-old kids, I got stuck in the ice cream displays and really didn’t know what to choose from the huge collection of ice creams. I was so confused with so many choices. Not even in 1997 (without celiac in my life) when I went to Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi, Positano had so many different tastes. Also lactose-free options. Here I ate the strangest taste I have ever seen in my life. Lemon with basil! Excellent, unique and just what you need for the hot day it was. We didn’t have time to take a picture of our ice creams because we simple start eating them very greedily. I could eat just ice cream in Rome for days! Never miss a day in Rome without an ice cream! They are excellent!

Mama Eat

 2 locations at center of Rome

And after the wonderful ice cream at Fata Morgana and since we didn’t find the restaurant we wanted open, we went back to the area near the Vatican and near the house where we were staying. At Mama Eat (lab) again I asked and pointed out gluten-free and cross contamination and the waiter told me “tutto senza glutine” (everything is gluten-free) and I repeated myself in every dish that came and he smile telling me again “tutto senza glutine” (everything is gluten free). When he learned that we were Greek, he told us a couple of Greek phrases that he knew and wanted to learn in Greek “good appetite”. Their behavior is impeccable, but so are their dishes. We had classic pasta, carbonara this time, pizza and buffalo mozzarella croquettes. The carbonara that you don’t see in the photo (I didn’t have time to take photos, I was hungry! 😁 ) is the best I’ve ever eaten in my life. With egg cream as it should be and not with heavy cream (as they cook it in Greece) and on top it had delicious crispy prosciutto. When you find yourself in Rome, don’t miss visiting one of these restaurants.

La Soffitta Renovatio

Piazza del Risorgimento, 46/a, 00192 Roma RM

Another amazing restaurant that you must visit when you are in Rome. Also a large menu that almost all of their dishes could be made gluten free, except the fried breaded ones which were ONLY gluten free for everyone. Here we made the change in our menu and got the Italian fried dish and of course pizza. Our dishes came again with the flags that they were “gluten-free”. When we ordered the gluten free tiramisu it came without a flag and I was afraid to try it before asking  the waiter. I didn’t had to ask him, because he saw me looking at it and he came over to tell me it’s gluten free with a big smile on his face. Obviously others before me will have done it. (I hope) When you are symptomatic you are 3 times more careful! Me, just the idea that there is a chance that I could be in pain and staying to the toilet for at least 5 hours, gives me a cold sweat.

A gogo

Viale Giulio Cesare, 66/68, 00192 RM

Since our 3 hour Vatican tour was scheduled for noon at 2:00 pm, we decided to have brunch at “A gogo” which was between the house we were staying and the Vatican we were going to. Big surprise that such a store was dedicated to “gluten-free” with a huge variety of sandwiches, tramezzini toast, pizzas, focaccia filled with various kinds, cookies, sweets, etc. As a child again I didn’t know what to choose. And the size of the sandwiches, pizzas, etc. were very generous size. I couldn’t eat all of the tramezzini toast I got and I saved the cookies for later which ended up being my breakfast the next day.

Pizza in Trevi

Via di S. Vincenzo, 30/30A, 00187 RM

We went to Pizza in Trevi but they have had a problem with their gluten free pizza oven. So we had only pasta there. But great handmade fresh pasta and organic lemonade which really made up for not trying their pizza. Also the fact that the shop next door owned by them had gluten free ice cream was contributing for not feel sorrow for not having the famous pizza. Here they don’t put flags on the plates to distinguish that they are gluten-free, but the paper placemats do say so and have the sign of the Italian Celiac Society – AiC,  that has approved the restaurant.

Gelato in Trevi

Via di S. Vincenzo, 31, 00187 RM

Another ice cream shop with exclusively gluten-free ice cream, gluten free cones and gluten free cookies on tops. Also I wanted to dive into their ice cream refrigerators  and try everything! We were lucky not having pizza before because their ice cream was huge. At photos you’ll see only the top ice cream scoops and it looks kind of normal, the cone inside was all full of ice cream. Great variety and dreamy taste again!

Pantha Rei

Via della Minerva, 19, 00186 RM

‘Pantha Rei’ is a nice small restaurant in a cobbled alley in the Pantheon area. The first thing hat they ask you if someone is “gluten free” to leave you a gold painted bottle. So seeing the tables around you, you understand that there are many people like you. They also had paper placemats for gluten-free and flags on the plates. I had said that in Italy I would eat hamburger at McDonalds, but when I saw the hamburger on the menu there I decided to try it and I surely done it right! I also tried a wonderful “Antipasti” which was a courgette’s flower stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies which was really amazing together with the bruschetta of nice fresh gluten free bread with fresh tomato and olive oil. I didn’t try the pizza there, but a day later at home when I reheated it. I wanted to leave room in my stomach for the ice cream we had planned after our meal.

Fiocco di Neve

Via del Pantheon, 51, 00186 RM

Another exclusively gluten-free ice cream shop! We saw their gluten-free cones and cookies in the boxes stacked at the back of the store. This time we tried to choose a smaller cone with chocolate on top, which made it even more interesting. Of course, the Italians again filled our cone with ice cream and put more on top. I think this is where I ate the best ice cream in Rome. Luckily we found empty 1 of the 3 tables that the shop has outside and sat down to eat our ice cream without getting mess as it was melting very quickly due to the hot weather.

Le Altre Farine Del Mulino

Via di Porta Cavalleggeri, 151/153, 00165 RM

I had read so much about “Le Altre Farine Del Mulino” that I was impatience to go. And everyone who wrote for this place was absolutely right!!! Huge variety of sweet and savory dishes. We got Croissant, Choux, Maritozzi, Focaccia and Arancini. Arancini was everywhere as an appetizer and I had to try it! It’s a rice croquette made orange by some spice, maybe saffron, maybe turmeric and in the center has melted mozzarella and prosciutto. Just amazing! But what I will never forget is Maritozzi! They are brioche buns flavored with orange zest, vanilla and honey, which reminded me a lot of Greek tsoureki / Panatone and are filled with velvety cream.

I’m describing it to you and I’m drooling over the keyboard. I will soon make this recipe because it is the best dessert I have tried in the last 10 years of having celiac disease. As you will understand we had a brave brunch again and so our meal was moved at 11:00 pm to the restaurant which I am finally omitting from this guide as it is not completely safe.

El Maiz

Via Tolemaide, 16, 00191 RM

The first time I ate gluten free street food was in 2017 in London’s Camden Town and it was Venezuelan Arepas. So as soon as I saw that there was such a shop in Rome too, I put it on my list of restaurants I wanted to visit. “El Maiz” is a very small cute shop with a wide variety of Arepas, Empanadas, Pabellon Criollo, Cachapas and Platano which is a type of banana that they fried them and it’s amazing! I avoid bananas because they annoy me, but this is the first time I haven’t been annoyed by banana, probably because of the Platano variety or maybe because of the cooking method?

This store is totally different from everything I know. First of all it has a machine/computer with a touch screen on the outside and there you make your choices about what to get. You see pictures and it has a description of what each dish is. So you order, you note if it is for take out or have it there, pay and go inside to pick it up. It has benches and stools inside so you can dine there if you want. The best; The stools facing the walls so you don’t have to worry about how you will eat it and if you will get messy with your food and this gives you the freedom to enjoy it!!!

Velato & Go

Via Silla, 1-31, 00192 RM

We said goodbye to Rome and its ice creams in a very beautiful patisserie, cafe where besides gluten free options, it has many lactose free, milk free and vegan options. We had just eaten at El Maiz and the ice cream of 6 different flavored scoops with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, pistachios and cookies was too much for 2 people. We just stared at the display case with the sweets because we couldn’t even eat the whole ice cream, but we stayed a little longer there because it had a very beautiful interior design and together with the music that had, you didn’t  want to leave this place.

Dreamy gluten free vacation!

My vacation in Rome was the second vacation in my 10 years of living with celiac disease that I didn’t had to cook gluten-free for myself or ordering only salads. Everywhere we went had gluten free options most of which were certified by the Italian Celiac Association-AiC who have done a great job.

The 7 days passed very quickly and there are enough attractions, restaurants and patisseries that we didn’t visit, so  we need more 7 days vacations to Rome for going at the near future!

  • When it comes to visit the most popular attractions, it’s a good idea to book a tour guide, in advance, almost when you book your plane tickets. There are a lots of tours with various agencies and you’ll find them online. In this way you will entrance significantly faster, because the groups enter from a different entrance and you will have a guide to show you and tell you the most important. These groups are usually of 20 people and there is a microphone on the tour guide and a transponder with a headset for each member of the group. From languages ​​you can choose between Italian, Spanish, English, French and maybe some others that I don’t remember.  The tour guide we had at the Colosseum was amazing and spoke English with a very nice accent even though she was Italian and surely loved that job her doing for living. The tour guide we had at the Vatican was equally knowledgeable. She didn’t have the English accent that our first tour guide had but you still understood her normally. (I’m Greek and English is a language that I was taught at a special school).
  • The good thing about Rome is that it has drinkable water fountains and taps everywhere. So you can have a cooler bottle or small bottle with you and refresh it with water on your routes and if you go in summer this water will be cool. Of course, outside every popular sights there are always street vendors or canteens selling small bottles of cold water.
  • Rome has a very good transportation such as buses and subways but also too much traffic at city center with the streets inseparable from cars and pedestrians as in almost any large state capital. For the metro you can get a rechargeable ticket, which you can charge with 1 or more tickets to take with you because you use the same ticket on the metro and buses. Of course, there are machines on the buses where you can pay with your credit / debit card directly, so you don’t have to worry if you have a ticket or not.
  • Due to heavy traffic on the roads, it makes Taxi very expensive. Of course, for some specific destinations such as airports, there is a fixed fare and there is a sticker with fares and destinations on every taxi’s door and thus is clearly visible to every tourist as in the photo below.

I really hope this gluten-free guide article for Rome will help you, so that you can have a carefree vacation in Rome! If you find other places to recommend or have questions, just message me in the comments below or on Facebook or Instagram.  If you are in Rome and upload photos on social media, tag me so I can be happy with you!

I can’t wait to go back to Rome and live a bit more gluten free Rome!

Book for Rome now and have dreamy gluten free vacation!!!

   

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