Staying in hotels can be a fabulous break from the usual routine but sometimes renting an apartment or house can offer a more practical holiday solution for those with food allergies/intolerances. Having our own space and kitchen provides independence and means that I can prepare something safe to eat in my own time. For our trip to Florence I didn’t feel I was missing out on much by not staying in a hotel since many Italian hotel breakfasts often seem to constitute not much more than a coffee, some ham, cheese and a sweet cake. Having booked the apartment (highly recommended, details below), I searched for local food shop options knowing that Italian pharmacies all stock gluten free breads and cakes for possible breakfast options. Just for fun, I searched Google for a gluten free patisserie in Florence. Would you believe it? There is one! And it wasn’t too far to walk from our apartment. So that was breakfast sorted.
Starbene Senza Glutine have 8 stores located throughout Tuscany which are listed on their website here. In Florence their store is located at the north edge of the city, about 10 minute walk from the Accademia. The location on Starbene’s website map correctly shows the store about half way down Viale Spartaco Lavagnini. However when we got there and followed the house numbers for the address, it appeared to be near to the Piazza della Libertà. Don’t make the same mistake (although I enjoyed the deour around the Piazza several times, really!). Make sure you walk down Viale Spartaco Lavagnini on the right hand side of the boulevard with your back to the Piazza and walking towards the centre of Florence and you will see it.
I was bowled over by this gluten free shop. As well as many fresh cakes, their refrigerated counter contained a good selection of savoury items and their shelves had a number of packaged goods. Importantly for me, very few items contained almonds or any other nuts.
After some very extensive consideration I chose….
A couple of fruit tarts for breakfasts:
Chocolate dipped “Cat’s Tongue” biscuits. I had intended to bring these home but once we’d tried one of the fabulously light biscuits dipped in dark chocolate, I knew they would never make it home with us. Just too good.
If you’re planning a stay in Florence, I thoroughly recommend staying at Palazzo Alfani. These beautiful apartments are in a 16th Century palace located directly opposite the Accademia which houses the original statue of David by Michelangelo. The statue of David must have been no more than 100 metres from me and leaning out of the window ‘Room With A View’ style, Florence’s beautiful Renaissance Duomo was at the end of the street. Enjoying my delicious gluten free breakfast treats from Starbene sitting with the huge apartment windows flung wide open in the warm Spring air whilst listening to the sounds of tourist and locals in the street below was a fabulous way to start the day.
Details: Starbene Senza Glutine Florence are located at Viale Spartaco Lavagnini n. 2/r – 50100 Firenze (please note the directions above)
Monday-Friday 07:30-13:30 / 16:30-20:00
Saturday 08:00-13:00 /16:30-20:00
Opening hours in Italy can vary depending on the season and I highly recommend you contact them directly for opening hours via email firstname.lastname@example.org to double check opening hours when you visit.
Starbene also have a restaurant if you are in the Calenzano (Prato) area with a restaurant offering a gluten free menu, including pizza. The restaurant website is here.