It doesn’t feel like fall in Venice at first glance. Yet, if you take a closer look you can see the a few auburn leaves among the greenery, but that’s mostly due to one of the driest summers we’ve just been through. No, that’s not the season of Indian Summer in Venice yet (which would be mid-November).
Venice looks refreshed after this parching summer and in a way, the vegetable garden looks like we’re in for a “second spring”: Zucchini are in bloom, there are new lavender blossoms, and we will soon harvest new cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes. In short, it looks lush and fresh like you can see in the picture above, as the roses are also blossoming in town!
As you can see in these images in this article, Venice and her Lagoon are home to some of the most amazing herbs and vegetables in the world, as Arrigo Cipriani put it. The vegetables in the Lagoon aren’t as big as in southern Italy, but slightly tasting of salt due to the salty soil of the Lagoon. And there’s an incredible variety growing here in every season. Yes, also in winter!
That’s good news for those guests and Venetians who must choose their food carefully. We’d like to tell you more in this Guide to Gluten-Free Foods in Venice, complete with restaurant tips and our suggestion for your perfect Venetian gluten-free menu.
I’m writing this post as a number of readers and guests approached us with food related questions. Suffering from celiac disease doesn’t prevent you from visiting Venice. During the last five years or so, awareness and the need to offer gluten-free foods, has risen considerably in Italy. By now, it’s perfectly normal that most restaurants and cafes have gluten-free food available and will show you gluten-free dishes on their menus upon request. In many Venetian restaurants, you can also find the sign SENZA GLUTINE – GLUTEN-FREE on doors or windows.
Please note that a large portion of the food you eat in Venice is naturally gluten-free: Processed food and lots of sweets, and even excess portions of pasta and pizza are a no-go for most Venetians. In Venice we prefer to eat fish, rice, salad greens and vegetables, and to a lesser extent do we integrate our diet with pasta, bread and sweets. In addition, if you are sensitive to gluten, grocery stores and markets in Venice offer many gluten-free cakes, bread and cookies.
You will find plenty of naturally gluten-free food in Venice as the food pyramid is different in Italy. Here, the base of the pyramid is vegetables and fruit, followed by pasta, rice and bread, fish, eggs, milk and meat. Sweets and cakes form the tip of the pyramid. Generally speaking, this food pyramid looks different in central and northern European countries.
Associazione Italiana Celiachia (The Italian Association of Celiac Disease) is campaigning across Italy to raise awareness and educate restaurant owners on kitchen standards and the need to offer gluten-free menus. They are also present at the scuole alberghiere (schools specializing in tourism) in Venice and the Veneto. To be on the safe side, ACI created list of local food from A (always safe) to C (forbidden), which you can view here.
There is of course processed food in Venice: You do get sughi pronti – ready-made sugo for pasta at the supermarkets. Yet, local demand for processed food isn’t really overwhelming. For you this means that if you choose to stay in an apartment in Venice, most grocery stores offer gluten-free brands (breads, cakes, cookies …). Also, the Rialto Market is a haven for fresh and gluten-free food: Enjoy the wide choice of seasonal and local fruit, herbs, spices, vegetables, fish, eggs, and mushrooms.
(1) Tips for You to Eat Gluten-Free in Venice
- Eating at a restaurant / cafe: AIC – Gluten Free Food List: Do consult this list in English by AIC.
- Eating in your apartment: The best-known company in Italy, Germany, and Austria, producing gluten-free bread, flour, pasta and cookies is Schär. You can find this signature brand in almost all grocery and delicatessen stores in Venice. For example, Schär offers gluten-free pizza flour and Nutella-filled cookies, wafers or cornetti.
(2) Where to find Gluten-Free Food in Venice
Gluten-Free Choices For Breakfast / Snacks / Lunch
- Caffé Centrale Venezia (Piscina Frezzaria)
- Frary’s – Delicious Mediterranean Food
- Impronta Cafe Restaurant
- Algiubagiù (Cannaregio, on Fondamente Nove, next to the vaporetto and airport boat stops)
- Hotel Violin d’Oro
Gluten-Free Choices for Lunch / Dinner
- Al Giardinetto da Severino
- A Beccafico
- Vecia Cavana
- Ristorante Gran Canal
- La Porta d’Acqua
- Osteria ae Sconte (Castello)
- Rossopomodoro San Marco (San Marco – Great Neapolitan Food !)
- Ristorante Local (Salizzada dei Greci)
- Il Giardino Segreto (Cannaregio)
- Bistrot de Venise (San Marco)
- Poste Vecie (San Polo, at the Rialto Market)
- Ristorante ai Scalzi
Gluten-Free Ice Cream in Venice
- Gelateria Grom
- Gelateria Mela Verde
- Gelatoteca SuSo
- Pasticceria Rosa Salva (and practically most other pastry stores in Venice offer a range of gluten-free sweets and cakes).
(3) More Links for Gluten-Free Food in Venice
- Schär List of gluten-free restaurants in Venice (24)
- The Fork LIst of gluten-free restaurants in Venice
- Gluten-free restaurants in Venice by Venezia Help
- Hotel search in Venice (gluten-free dishes)
(4) A Gluten Free Menu from Venice – What Can You Expect?
I asked my friends at Ristorante Gran Canal / Hotel Monaco e Gran Canal to name a few examples of gluten-free foods from their menu. Here’s their (delicious!) answer:
- Antipasto di mare in salsa di broccoli: Sea food antipasto and broccoli sauce
- Risotto con gamberi al profumo di limone: Prawn risotto flavored with lemons
- Coda di rospo scottata in crema di carciofi e olive taggiasche: Coda di rospo fish with artichoke cream and black medium-sized olives
- Semifreddo agli amaretti e frutti di bosco: Frozen cream flavored with Amaretto liquor and berries.
Please note: Even though we have done in-depth research, we cannot exclude mistakes in this post. Please check with the restaurant and tell the waiter that you need to eat strictly gluten-free food. Before booking, please tell the hotel so they will have gluten-free bread and cookies available for breakfast.18