Ask A Local: What Can A Vegan Eat in Italy?

by Gigi Griffis

Welcome back to my Ask a Local series.

We’re just two weeks away from the launch of Italy: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In. (Holy crap.)

In celebration, I thought I’d share a few more book quotes with you. But instead of my usual interviews, focused on one specific place in Italy, today I thought I’d gather up information that appears throughout the book…information about how to eat vegan in not-known-for-being-vegan Italy.

Because the real charm of the book isn’t just that you’ll get the insider perspective on Italy’s cities and towns, but also that, with 100 interviewees that vary wildly in interests, age ranges, hobbies, habits, and beliefs, you can also find tips that fit your lifestyle, passions, and needs.

Hikers will find people who love hiking and want to share their favorite trails. Foodies will find chefs and cafe owners and cooking class instructors. Wine lovers will find vineyard owners and wine bloggers. And, as you’re about to see below, vegans will find vegans.


So, What Can a Vegan Eat in Italy?

“I am vegan and I am happy to say I can suggest a lot of traditional dishes that don’t include meat. Tuscany gastronomy is based on the old, poor recipes of farmers mostly.

I’ll start with the appetizers: crostini and bruschette are very common in every restaurant. Slices of toasted bread covered in tomatoes and basil or just olive oil (but you can find the liver-topped too). It’s a simple food that intensifies the flavors of those Mediterranean ingredients.

Ribollita, the legume and bread soup, is a must. They cook it for days, a long preparation time, and it’s worth it. I am not a soup lover but I totally love this one.

Pici is a homemade pasta (which rarely contains eggs) dressed with garlic and tomatoes or fried bread crumbles!

If you are sightseeing and need to eat something to-go, try one of the thousand kinds of schiacciata, a typical short bread, stuffed or simple, you chose. A typical one is with grapes!

The pan di ramerino, a sweet-salted focaccia with raisins and rosemary, or the cecina, an omelet made with chickpea flour, are also wonderful.

And if you have a sweet tooth, try cantuccini (biscotti) with vinsanto (straw wine) or castagnaccio (chestnut flour cake)!”

– Stefania Saba, Student & Artist, Florence

Italy - 100 locals tell you where to go, what to eat, and how to fit in Did I mention that I wrote a book full of these interviews?
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“Despite my love for street food, my favorite restaurant in Palermo is Freschette. They serve fresh, organic food, reinventing traditional Italian dishes. They also have vegan options in their menus and a good choice of organic wine and beers.”

– Luisa Cerniglia, Native Sicilian & Master’s Student in Russian Literature, Palermo

“For the local, organic, and true experience in a wonderful, green place, try Cascina Trapella in Rolasco (at Strada San Martino 38/40). For a more conventional restaurant, try Il Melograno in Terruggia, which offers menus for vegetarians, vegans, and celiacs.”

– Cristhian, Tourism Expert, Casale Monferrato

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Rebecca May 19, 2014 - 10:29 am

Thanks so much for including us Vegiesaurs! I would also recommend Happy they find vegan or vegetarian options no matter where you seem to be in the world. I have “played” with finding vegan options in many places I consider to be meatitarian. It is still great to have a more local take on where to eat no matter what you eat.


gigigriffis May 19, 2014 - 1:08 pm


Swissrose May 21, 2014 - 5:06 am

To each their own but in my opinion, there is little point going to Italy or France (or Switzerland for that matter!) if you are not prepared to eat the local specialities, the vast majority of which aren’t even vegetarian, never mind vegan… Funny world we live in!
(no offence, it just seems very strange to a European!!)

gigigriffis May 21, 2014 - 9:40 am

I’m a big fan of trying the local delicacies as well, but I’m glad there are good options for everyone. :)

Ann May 21, 2014 - 10:44 am

In Liguria, pesto with pasta is wonderful (I think it’s the birthplace of pesto). There is also farinata, which is a chickpea pizza / flatbread. I make this at home frequently, and is as simple as chickpea flour mixed with water, then baked with a little grated cheese and optional sliced onion.


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