We had the most amazing family vacation in Italy this summer and Florence, Italy was a dream! We toured, we shopped and we ate some of the BEST gluten-free food ever! In fact, we are still talking about some of our meals and places we ate at. Everything was so fresh tasting, prepared impeccably and importantly it was safe for my son with celiac disease! So sharing our favorites here.
We only had 2 1/2 days in Florence but we maximized them! We toured all over the city hitting some of the city’s highlights such as the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, the Uffizi Palace, and the Acadamia as well as walking some of the best shopping streets and checking out the leather market.
But I think my boys favorite part was the food!
We ate soooo well! In fact, there were more places offering delicious and safe (as in safe for someone with celiac disease!) gluten-free food than we had time to try.
But we certainly gave it our best effort and hit a lot of places!
Here are all the places we ate at plus a few we didn’t have an opportunity to try but want to!
A few thoughts on dining in Italy
Before I share each restaurant and the amazing food we ate, let me say, as I always do… with regard to gluten-free food and cross-contamination, always check out a restaurant yourself. Restaurants charge, chefs change. And people have different comfort levels. So do your own research.
That said, we found dining in Italy to be quite easy!
Even with the language barrier we found it easier than dining in the United States.
First, we found that in Italy if something was labeled “gluten-free” or “senza glutine” as they say in Italy, that they meant it. “Senza glutine” meant it would be free of gluten and free of cross contamination. In our experience, this seemed to hold true for restaurants, bakeries, and packaged goods.
We learned a few key phrases like “senza glutine” (gluten-free) and “sono celiaco” (I am celiac for a man, celiaca for a woman)
Also, many places had a seal of approval or accredidation from the Italian Celiace Society, AIC. When a place had a sticker or label saying AIC, it meant that they had been trained in safe gluten-free food preparation which made us feel extra safe!
There was also an AIC app with English downloads available but we ended up not using it.
To read more about how we found gluten-free found, here’s the link to our blog post “Finding Restaurants when Traveling Gluten-Free.
These are in order of when we ate them based purely on location relative to our touring.
1. Grom (Via del Campnile 2)
Grom is a 100% gluten-free gelateria with locations all over the world and lucky for us, all over Italy! It is actually an Italian based company with multiple locations in many cities and we loved whenever we spotted a Grom sign!
They sell the creamiest gelato and yummiest sorbet (which happens to be a favorite of mine and my son) and there was nothing better or more refreshing on a hot afternoon while touring the city.
And lucky for us, there was a location right near our hotel and near the Duomo so we went there on multiple occasions during our 2 1/2 day stay.
In addition to a wide and always changing selection of gelato and sorbet, they also offer gluten-free cones.
2. Starbene Bakery Senza Glutine (Via dei neri 13/r), 100% gluten-free
Starbene Bakery is a 100% gluten-free bakery located down the street from the Uffizi Palace and I can’t say enough good things about it!
Our first stop in Florence was Grom because it was near our hotel and it was a very hot day, so cooling gelato and sorbet was perfect. But our next stop was Starbene Bakery. (I told you, we ate our way through Florence!)
We had read so much about this bakery in our research that we made it our first destination of the afternoon as we strolled through Florence. And it did not disappoint!
Probably the BEST gluten-free bakery we’ve ever been to! There were soooo many baked goods!
And what made it unique among other bakeries we’ve been to anywhere in the world is that there was a huge selection of both sweet baked goods and savory baked goods!
And the sweets weren’t like US bakeries with cupcakes. There were lots of Italian cookies (some of the best gluten-free cookies I’ve every had!), amaaaazing donuts, croissants, tartlettes and flaky pastries.
And on the savory side, there was the best focaccia bread we’ve ever eaten! And the options were endless… there was plain focaccia and focaccia with toppings like caramelized onions, olives, rosemary and tomatoes. There were also focaccia sandwiches (a real caprese sandwich!), spanakopita and more!
Plus, on the savory side, there were options clearly labeled dairy free as well. All 4 of us raved about every bite we took.
It was so good that my youngest (celiac) son and I went out of our way to visit the bakery each of the 3 days were were in Florence.
And I can’t mention Starbene without pointing out that the bakery had one of the largest selections of Schar products we’ve ever seen. We picked up a few things for the plane flight home.
3. Ristorante Lorenzo de Medici (Via del Giglio, 49/51r, 50123)
On our first evening Florence, we had planned to dine at 100% gluten-free Ciro & Sons (see below) but as they were closed for the summer holiday, we went to our plan b… Ristorante Lorenzo de Medici. Only it didn’t taste like a plan b– everything was delicious!
And since it was centrally located, we actually ate here for lunch the next day as well!
It is a fun restaurant for Italy in that it is huge! It has several entrances and each part of the restaurant has a slightly different look and feel.
And best part, the entire menu can be made gluten-free. And there were many dairy-free options.
As they weren’t 100% gluten-free, I asked them many questions and the staff was friendly and accommodating. Plus they had a signs and stickers saying “AIC” so we felt very comfortable.
Over our two visits, we tried a lot!
We loved their pastas especially their homemade spaghetti, the eggplant parmigiana literally melted in your mouth, the pizza was delicious, plus we enjoyed lasagna, soup, ravioli and salads.
And can’t not point out that when you ordered gluten-free, they automatically brought to the table a basket of warm gluten-free bread with a side of olive oil– a real treat as anyone who eat gluten-free know.
4. Mr Pizza (Piazza del duomo 5)
One of missions while in Italy was to try as much gluten-free pizza as possible! And Mr. Pizza was one we couldn’t wait to try.
It did not disappoint! My boys rated it as their favorite pizza in Italy.
And as I already mentioned, my boys have bottomless appetites, we ate here twice. Once as a “snack” and once after we ate at Ristorante Quinoa (see below). Ristorante Quinoa does not offer traditional Italian fare and my husband and I welcomed it but the boys insisted they needed pizza afterwards… Lucky for them, Mr. Pizza is conveniently located across from the Duomo and were were happy to oblige.
Back to Mr. Pizza.
It is not 100% gluten-free but gluten-free pizza is prepared in a separate kitchen space, separate oven and served on different plates and with a “gluten-free” flag.
And the pizza was unreal!
It was super thin pizza and the crust was light, airy and bready, ranking as an all time favorite!
Plus they offered a gluten-free calzone. My son had never tried a calzone before and enjoyed it but preferred the pizza.
5. Ristorante Quinoa, Vicolo di Santa Maria Maggiore), 100% gluten-free
Our second night in Florence we dined at Quinoa, yet another 100% gluten-free restaurant in central downtown Florence.
My husband and I chose this restaurant because we welcomed a change from traditional Italian fare by this point a week into our vacation. And we loved this restaurant so much! (They have another location in Milan and we wish could have dined there as well).
The restaurant setting is beautiful. It was a warm summer evening and all the tables were set up in a private, well planted courtyard, which was quiet and serene, just off the streets of bustling Florence. The inside tables and decor looked lovely as well.
And the menu was unique for Italy offering a wide range of Asian-flavored dishes as well as traditional Italian dishes.
Again, traveling with 4 of us we were able to try a lot of dishes.
We tried eggplant & millet patties with tzatziki sauce, raw vegetable rolls with peanut sauce (my favorite!), a vegan burger with crispy roasted potatoes, eggplant parmigiana, and pad thai.
They too served fresh gluen-free bread.
One dish was better than the next, though I was personally partial to the raw vegetable rolls with peanut sauce and pad thai!
Highly recommend if you are looking for a change of pace from traditional Italian fare and if you’re looking for more vegetarian and vegan options.
6. Ciro & Son’s (Via del Giglio, 28, 50123)
Ciro and Son’s was closed for summer holiday when we were in Florence.
It is a 100% gluten-free restaurant located in a central location and it receives rave reviews from everyone who dines there. We were disappointed not to be able to try it but just one more reason to visit Florence again, right?
7. Food Market at San Lorenz Mercato (Piazza del Mercato Centrale)
I thought it also worth mentioning the food market at the San Lorenz Mercato. Nustled in behind the leather market was this huge and bustling food market!
We didn’t eat here and but it was fun to walk around.
There were butchers, fresh fruit markets, cheese stores and everything looked unreal!
Shout out to Becky Excell of Gluten Free Cuppa Tea, whose guide to Florence was one we found particularly helpful in making our dining choices!
For more on our Italy trip read “Behind the Scenes on our Italy trip: All your questions, answered”
Have you been to Florence? Any other restaurants you loved? Leave a comment and let me know if you find this helpful and if you have any other tips.