Rome: Have Yourself a Gluten Free Pizza The Action!

After a morning spent wandering the Vatican museums and Sistene Chapel, I was ready for lunch.

My number one tip for Rome is to buy your tickets for the Vatican museums and Sistene Chapel in advance. You can buy them online here. I’m so glad I did – the line was 3 HOURS long. Whereas the queue for the reserved tickets line contained….er…no-one. We strolled straight in. Result!

Just around the corner from the Vatican was the Restorante Renovatio La Soffitta located at Piazza del Risorgimento 46/A, on the corner of Via Crescenzio and the Piazza. Walking there I was somewhat concerned by the terrible looking food the restaurants nearby were churning out. But I needn’t have worried. When we walked down into the friendly (and it turned out, large) restaurant I could see we were a million miles from the cheap, reheated frozen lasagne being served nearer to the Vatican.

Gluten free pizzeria Rome

We took our table…

Restorante Renovatio La Soffitta

The waiter brought us the menu and I got the opportunity to try out my newest trick. That morning I’d been given (another!) lesson by the hotel concierge on the correct pronunciation of the Italian for “I’m Coeliac”. The Italian phrase is “lo sono Coeliaco” and he made me repeat over and over again Eliza Doolittle syle the word “coeliaco” as “chilli-a-ka” until he deemed I’d finally got it.

When I explained this to the waiter he said no problem and would I like a gluten free beer while I read the menu. Hmmm….now let me think…The Lebensfreude gluten free lager turned out to be crisp and light in flavour but fairly strong at 4.8%.

Gluten Free Beer Rome

If the prospect of a gluten free pizza wasn’t enough, they also offered gluten free pasta, calzone and even gluten free lasagna! The list of pizzas on offer were huge and it took me a while to decide.

Gluten free menu Rome

In the end I settled on the Capriocciosa. The gluten free base was thicker in Milan. The pizza had a lot of topping so it was very filling.

gluten free pizza Rome

What I liked about this friendly restaurant (apart from the gluten free pizza and beer!) was that the staff seemed really proud of the fact they offered gluten free options. How nice to be treated as someone special, rather than as a customer with a problem allergy the kitchen were going to have to deal with.

As we left I passed by a girl grinning inanely at the table. As I looked further I could see she had also ordered the gluten free pizza while her friends were tucking into their ‘normal’ pizzas. Her look of pure joy made me smile too.

A couple of photos from Rome…

Michelangelo’s jaw dropping Sistene Chapel. Apart from his supreme skill, imagine the stamina and dedication required not just to paint this, but to do so suspended from the ceiling for hours and hours on end for 4 years:

Sistene Chapel

The queue for entry to Vatican museum. This was one-third of the queue, it snaked much further around the corner. Buy your tickets in advance, people!

Queue for Vatican museum

The giant rotunda of the Pantheon. Its age and scale make this one of my favourite buildings in the world.

Pantheon

And finally a surprising sight. Last time I was in Rome it was November so I guess it wasn’t the season for orange trees but they were absolutely everywhere.

Orange trees in Rome

Do read on to the comments below for lots of suggestions on eating out in Rome.

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23 Comments

  1. May 5, 2011 / 2:13 pm

    I ate lunch here when I was in Rome in 2009. This place actually brought me to happy tears as I sipped on wine, ate pasta, and had dessert all within one block of the Vatican. It really was a great day!

    • May 5, 2011 / 8:05 pm

      Erin – Glad to hear you had such a lovely experience there, I am thinking happy tears are good!

    • Pamela Mottershead
      July 5, 2011 / 9:09 am

      My daughter is staying near the vatican and she goes on Thursday. Being coeliac she was anxious about finding food that wouldn’t make her ill and spoil her holiday so thank you for taking the time to post this on the web – its saved a mum from worrying as well !!

      • July 5, 2011 / 9:07 pm

        No worries, you’re welcome! Your daughter will have a wonderful time in Italy, they truly understand what being coeliac means and take care to look after you.

        As a back up I’d recommend your daughter takes the Italian Coeliac Travel cards the website is: http://www.celiactravel.com/cards. Saying ‘lo sono celiaco’ and ‘senza glutine’ always works for me in Italy but good idea to have these cards just in case. I take them to every country I travel to – a true lifesaver.

        Before I went to Rome, I had a recommendation for another Coeliac friendly place called the Millennium Center (www.millenniumcenter.it). Apparently they have a separate and dedicated gluten free kitchen. I didn’t get a chance to go there (it’s slightly out of the centre of town) but if your daughter is in Rome for a while, it could be a good option for gluten free pizza in a completely safe kitchen.

  2. Charlotte
    May 5, 2011 / 2:38 pm

    This is SUCH exciting news!! I had previously worried about eating in Italy when the boy and I go visiting sometime soon, but this is great – thank you for sharing!xx

    • May 5, 2011 / 8:33 pm

      Charlotte – It came as a huge surprise to me to find out just how easy it is to eat senza glutine in Italy. You will have NO problems eating in Italy!

  3. May 14, 2011 / 8:30 am

    I loved Rome. I went there with my son for a few days and have very happy memories. I hadn’t been diagnosed then so I merrily ate normal pizza and because was relatively symptom free, had no idea of the damage I was doing to my body. But what a beautiful city.

  4. Louise - Brighton in Sussex
    June 19, 2011 / 10:09 am

    Thank you so much for this information regarding gluten free beer and pasta. You made me cry as I love beer and pasta and rarely get to eat anything like this when I go out to restaurants. It will be my first time to Rome and I am looking forward to being able to enjoy the food as well as everyone else. You are a star!

    • June 19, 2011 / 8:49 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such lovely feedback. You will have a wonderful trip to Rome. I know it’s hard to believe but Italy is a great place for Coeliacs.

      If you fancy having some gluten free beer after a day of sightseeing, check out my post on gluten free shopping in Italy. I managed to find some Daura gluten free beer downstairs in the wine/beer section of a Spar supermarket near the Pantheon in Rome!

      Happy holidays and if you find any exciting gluten free restaurants, please do let me know.

  5. Vickie Malis
    November 8, 2011 / 8:18 pm

    Mrs D.,
    I will be going to Rome for a week in May, 2012. I am so appreciative of your advice and encouragement, as this will be my first visit since being diagnosed with a severe gluten allergy. Thank you-thank you-thank you!

    • November 9, 2011 / 10:25 pm

      Thank you for visiting. You will have a truly wonderful time in Rome. There are a few other posts on my blog under the ‘Gluten Free Italy’ category on the delights which await in Italy. Did you know you can even get gluten free ice cream cones?! Finding the gluten free Daura beer in a supermarket in central Rome was such a treat too.
      PS – Do make sure you buy your Vatican tickets in advance if you’re planning to go there – the queue was insanely long!

  6. Eric Gough
    January 11, 2012 / 5:02 pm

    What a great site..Off to Rome in April with my wife who is a Coeliac & have never been before so the site as plenty of useful info. Like the look of the restaurant around the corner from the Vatican so will let you know how we get on.

    • January 12, 2012 / 10:28 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You will have a wonderful time in Rome. As well as being a beautiful city, your wife will be well looked after food-wise. I am still regretting not trying the gluten free tiramisu while I was at Restorante Renovatio La Soffitta. Oh well, any excuse to go back!

      PS. If your wife would like gelato, many ice cream shops in Italy offer gluten free ice cream cones. The cones come individually wrapped and you may need to ask for them whe you’re checking if the ice cream is gluten free as they may not be on display. It makes a change from having ice cream in a paper cup!

  7. Laura Terry
    January 22, 2012 / 6:17 pm

    I am currently in Rome, and I have been here for 2 weeks. Fortunately, I am living in an apartment so I can cook and eat well, but I have found a lovely little place in Trestevere just off Piazza San Cosimato called Il Tulipano that has a gluten-free menu. The pizza will make you think you have died and gone to heaven! Also, there is another place on Via Giubbonari 33 near the Campo di Fiori (near the city center) called Voglia di Pizza. They also have a gluten-free menu, and though it doesn’t have much atmosphere, the pizza is darn good. Enjoy!

    • January 28, 2012 / 3:00 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving these additional gluten free Rome dining recommendations. I’d had Voglia di Pizza on the gluten free list for our trip, thanks to recommendations on the Italian Coeliac Society website but on that trip we only had time to visit the above pizzeria.

      Il Tulipo is a new one to me and it looks amazing! Thanks so much for recommending. For any future readers of this post (including me!), here are their details:

      Il Tulipano, Ristorante, Pizzeria & Cucina Celiaca located at Via Roma Libera 15, Trastevere, Rome. The pizza photos on the website are making me want to book my next flight to Rome!
      http://www.tulipanonero.biz/

      Voglia di Pizza, Via dei Giubbonari, 33 – Campo dei Fiori – Rome
      http://www.celiachiaitalia.com/pizzerie-per-celiaci/roma/voglia-di-pizza-pizzeria-per-celiaci-campo-dei-fiori-roma.html (website of the Italian Coeliac association)

      Hope you have/are enjoying the rest of your trip to Rome.

  8. Shirley @ gfe
    March 13, 2012 / 12:00 am

    What a fantastic experience! I can already imagine myself there … well, other than being in that line. 😉 Thanks so much for tweeting with me and giving me a heads up on your success eating gf in Italy! :-0

    Shirley

  9. Anna
    June 30, 2012 / 1:05 pm

    Thanks for the tips, can’t wait for my trip to Rome!

  10. September 5, 2012 / 12:35 pm

    As a post script I was flying through Rome this weekend from 10 days in Tuscany & Umbria and very randomly got chatting to a coeliac frequent visitor to Rome. He recommended the following new restaurant:

    Mama! Eat http://www.mamaeatroma.it/ with a gluten free menu.

    I haven’t been there myself but he said it was fantastic. If you do go, please let me know what you think of it.

  11. July 12, 2014 / 10:00 pm

    A further personal recommendation for a fabulous restaurant located slightly outside central Rome to the south west of the city:

    Ristorante Stella Marina
    http://www.stellamarinaristorante.com

    This recommendation comes kindly on Twitter from @happywombelle. She describes it as the highlight of her trip to Italy with gluten free bread, ravioli, gnocchi, fried fish…

    You can click on the gluten free menu (senza glutine) on the restaurant’s website (link above).

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