Italian Adventures and Gluten Free Finds

This past Summer, I took a trip to Italy. When I was first diagnosed with Celiac we had gluten free cards in foreign languages. (see my previous post) But when we reached Italy. Sensa gluten was understood everywhere we went. Celiac disease is actually more common in Italy which makes it a joy to travel there.  During our trip we visited Lake Como and Venice. Here are some of the food highlights!

Day 1: Lake Como

 We landed early in the morning but were not hungry for lunch so that consisted of Melon and Fragola gelato at the Fox Shops in Switzerland, but for dinner we ate at L’Orangerie with special guest chef. They had a 7 course tasting menu but I picked out my courses all made special for me gluten free. Which consisted of spaghetti pomodoro, black cod, and duck. For dessert I chose peach sorbet. Everything was delicious.  Definitely a great way to start the eating adventures in Italy.


Day 2:

How many years has it been since you had a croissant? For me? 10! And it was delicious! Made special for me at the hotel! It was the greatest breakfast surprise of the trip and it was only day 2.


Day 3: Milan

We decided to ditch the lunch reservations and find  gluten free pizza. My dad found a place that was “right here”. Well 4 miles later he realized he never zoomed in on the map and it wasn’t quite “right here” but we made it to Le Specialità and found great gluten free pizza!


Day 4: Verona and Venice

We made a pit stop in Verona on the way to Venice and took a recommendation from the driver for a restaurant. We tried to explain to him that we wanted a place that had gluten free options. He didn’t really understand but we took his suggestion of Bottega di Vino anyway. It was great. They had not only gluten free options, but amazing bread and pasta. We had to ask twice if the bread was gluten free because we didn’t believe him!


We arrived in Venice and our first stop was Restaurant Da Ivo! One of our family favorite restaurants. They have THE BEST gluten free bread and I was so excited because last time we were there they had a special zucchini flowers that were incredible and thank goodness they had it as a special again because it’s one of my favorite dishes. We also shared shrimp and figs with shrimp to start which were also good but not nearly as good as the zucchini flowers. For dinner my sister and I shared seafood risotto needless to say we are going back later this week again 🙂


Day 5:

Venice adventures continue. We ate lunch at Harry’s Bar and enjoyed some delicious gluten free penne and prosciutto with melon. For dinner we dined at the hotel where I had gluten free penne with bolognese sauce.


Day 6:

Da Ivo take 2. For our last night in Venice we returned to Da Ivo. I was very unoriginal and ordered everything I ordered last time, but it was so good! You can’t blame me. On our way out we asked our waiter for a gelato suggestion and he said Gelato Fantasy was the best gelato nearby. While we were waiting on line my mom said to me “I wonder if they have GF cones?” I don’t know what made me look up at that point but I did, and THANK GOODNESS I did. Because above the servers on a shelf there was a big box of Gluten Free Cones. What a fantastic way to end our trip!


If you are looking to travel out of the country and are on a gluten free diet, Italy is one of the most accommodating countries when it comes to sticking to a strict diet and their food is incredible. Did I mention every time I found something I liked I bought more to bring home 🙂


Traveling in a Foreign Country When You Are Gluten Free

Today someone I know is leaving for study abroad in Africa. She does not have Celiac Disease but is gluten intolerant. My friends started asking her what she is going to eat there and how she will communicate her needs, because one of the main staples in their diets is wheat. She didn’t think about it until that moment but realized it would be difficult. Fortunately I was able to tell her about Gluten Free Restaurant Cards. A tool that I relied heavily on after my diagnosis.

These cards translated what Celiac is, what I can or cannot eat and what will happen if I eat gluten. These cards came in every language you can imagine and I have used them in Spain, France, and Italy. With the invention of technology these cards are compiled in an app with translations for pretty much every language you would want. Unfortunately for my friend they did not have the language she needed, but they had one that was similar that she will be able to use this semester.

These cards have become second nature to me after using them for 10 years but I realized they are not something everyone knows about. If you are traveling abroad anytime soon, I hope these will help! You can download the app for the iPhone here