How to Eat Vegan in Italy

Italy is one of the most friendly vegetarian and vegan countries around the world. I had the chance to live and work here for a few months as a vegan and I am glad to say I had an amazing time. When I told people I was vegan they were astonished I was still “being a vegan” in Italy. Yes, Italy has lots of traditional dishes but they have a rising vegan scene with tons of options countrywide. I was able to still try Italian classics while standing for what I believe in. 

How to Eat Out:

For pasta make sure there’s no egg in the noodles. Politely ask the chef or waiter for ingredients.

Make sure pasta dishes are not topped with cheese.

Look up the menu beforehand or call up the restaurant to ask for vegan choices.

Avoid restaurants near big tourist attractions as they won’t be as authentic and will be more expensive. Instead find a quieter location as these types of restaurants will be more helpful and willing to accommodate dietary needs.

Be aware you can search for hours if you decide to be too picky. If you find a restaurant that has vegan choices consider choosing it otherwise you’ll be walking for awhile. This happened to me in Venice and we strolled for two hours and were starving by the time we chose a location.

Sometimes restaurants accompany bread to the table, just be sure to make sure there’s no cheese or butter.

Not all wine is vegan; double check at the restaurant. 

There is plenty of gelato in Italy. You can search ahead of time if certain gelaterias carry vegan flavours or straight up ask at the counter. Not all fruit or sherbet flavours are vegan.


My Favourite Vegan Italian Dishes:

Penne all’Arrabbiata 

Spaghetti Primavera

Arugula, Artichoke and Oil Pizza

Gnocchi with Marinara 

Bread topped with cannellini beans, brushetta spinach or mushrooms

Minestrone Soup

Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

Grilled Garlic Artichokes 


My Favourite Places to Eat:

Osteria Il Bandito, Castagnoli SI, Italy

Pizza Forum, Via San Giovanni in Laterano, 34/36/38, Rome, Italy

Vanilla Gelati Italiani, Via Pattari, 2, Milan, Italy

Mercato Centrale, Piazza del Mercato Centrale dell’Ariento, Via dell’Ariento, Florence, Italy

Learn Quick Phrases:

“Senza Latte” (without milk)

 “Senza Formaggio/Mozzarella” (without cheese/mozzarella)

Senza Uvo” (without egg)

Vorrei un/la/le…” (I would like a/the)

Ha delle…” (Do you have any…)

Carne”  (Meat) 

Pollo” (Chicken)

Prosciutto” (Ham)

Pesce” (Fish)

Delle Carni Bovine” (Veal)

Agnello” (Lamb)

Soia” (Soy)

Verdure” (Vegetables)

Frutta” (Fruit)

Eating vegan in a country like Italy is not as hard as I expected it to be. While meat and cheese is a big staple in Italian culture so is pizza and pasta which can be make vegan so easily. I had a great summer living there and cannot wait to go back.

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