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Being Vegetarian in Italy

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Guest post by Mehek Punatar

So you’re traveling to Italy and you want the most authentic experience. But you’re also vegetarian! Italian cuisine is extremely vegetarian-friendly (probably the most vegetarian-friendly of all European cuisines).

You’ve got pizzas, pastas, paninis, gelato and coffee. Some spots even have vegan options! But you have to look in the right places if you want the authentic stuff.

Here are some pro tips and recommendations for exploring the best of vegetarian cuisine in Florence and Rome!

Take a food tour to dive deeper into Italy’s culinary scene.

Vegan cornetti in Rome

If you’re visiting Italy’s main cities, joining a food tour can be an easy way to step off the beaten path and eat your way to some more authentic areas. In Rome, I decided to go with one in the Testaccio area, simply because I had plans to explore the other neighborhoods by myself anyway. Testaccio used to be the food capital of the city so that seemed appropriate.

We visited 7 food outlets and 12 tastings spread over 4 hours, so that I never feel too full to try out the next dish! They also took extra care of everyone’s dietary restrictions and made sure to have alternatives at every outlet so you wouldn’t miss out!

Try your hand at Italian cooking!

boxes of tomatoes at a local market in italy

A great way to ensure access to vegetarian food while traveling is to take a cooking class.  As an added bonus, you get to interact with locals and really sink into the culinary culture. You can try a cooking class set in a family’s home in the countryside where they probably grow the vegetables themselves or can take you to a local market!

Avoid eating in the main squares or beside any tourist attractions.

artisanal gelato shop in florence italy

These spots are always overpriced and serving very commercialized food. If you’re looking for great local, vegetarian food, hit up some of these spots in Rome:

Pizzeria da Baffetto – a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria visited primarily by locals!

Amando al Pantheon – excellent Roman cuisine, right by the Pantheon

Pinsere – quick take out spot, serves a new selection of 15 types of pizza everyday

Roscioli – supposedly the best burrata in town

Try pizza al taglio – the Roman way of eating it.

pizza by the slice in Rome Italy

Check out La Bocaccia in the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome – a tiny little spot serving 10-15 pizza varieties, with tons of vegetarian options, all baked on warm focaccia bread. Best part – it’s pizza al taglio (Roman speciality) meaning pizza by the slice (taglio means “cut”). You choose how big or small of a slice you want, so you can try lots of flavors!