Are you Vegan in Italy? Life in Italy is sweet. In every small and big city amazing views, picturesque streets, colorful houses, and charming cafes to sunbathe and enjoy an aperitif or a gelato. As locals and visitors do every afternoon in the beautiful square of Atrani, a small town near Amnalfi.
I love Italy! I love its nature, art, food, people, everything! As a Vegan, it’s quite easy to navigate around. You only need this guide! I got you covered with restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops, supermarkets, traditional foods, and much more.
Photo by Travelpassionate
COMMON QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK
Are there Vegans in Italy?
Oh yes! Almost 5 million Vegans are already in Italy and the number is increased yearly.
Can you be Vegan in Italy?
Despite the fact that the country is meat and cheese friendly, surprisingly Italy is so Vegan friendly. Actually, before the Industrial revolution, lots of Italians could not afford meat so they were “forced” to eat Vegetarian and Vegan.
Are Mcdonald’s fries Vegan?
Sadly, NO. The McDonald’s US website clearly lists “Natural Beef Flavor” and “Milk Derivatives” as ingredients in their fries, making them unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians alike. So if you order something there pass on the fries.
Italians hate the typical English Breakfast. No bacon and eggs for them. They rather prefer something sweet to accompany it with their coffee. Espresso, Cappuccino, or Cafe Late. In quite a few coffee shops you will find Vegan croissants and soy milk to add to your coffee.
The Italian cafes
In the Italian south, where the high art of gelato finds its apogee and granita is glorified as the ultimate summer dessert, we find many iced sweets that combine taste excellent texture.
Caffe Sicilia since 1982. An old 19th-century Sicilian cafe makes some of Italy’s most delicious goodies. Here you can find excellent Marmalades, Jams, Dried fruit, granita, and candied orange peel. Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 125, 96017 Noto SR, Italy.
Iphame a nice Vegan place in Rome. They have a good selection of Freshly crafted gourmet sandwiches, Salads, Shakes, Smoothies, Desserts. Address: Via Agostino Depretis, 65, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
100% BIO, All day dining in restaurant/cafe. Gisella Ruffi and Marina Magi, who have always been passionate about organic culture have decided to open a local that used and offered its customers only 100% certified organic products. And so, in the historic Piazza della Piramide, 100% BIO opens. From an idea to reality! Address: Piazza di Porta S. Paolo, 6, 00153 Roma RM, Italy.
Veg Joy, a beautiful Vegetarian / Vegan bistro. Open for lunch, an aperitif, and dinner. Coffee, extracts, express fruit and vegetable centrifuges, tea, herbal teas, vegan biscuits, vegan sweets, baked potatoes, raw food, smoothies. Address: Via Vasto, 4, 00182 Roma RM, Italy.
Bio Essere, Organic vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Arco (TN): Strictly organic ingredients (from the nearby NaturaSì organic supermarket) and Buffet service to let you taste the imagination of our vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Address: Artenda Di Righi Paolo, Via S. Caterina, 40, 38062 Arco TN, Italy.
ITALIAN MENU – VEGAN IN ITALY
The Menu consists of 6 sections. Antipasti, Primi, Italian Pizza, Main Course, Side Dishes – Contorni, Dessert.
1. STARTERS (ANTIPASTI)
Italy has a few Vegan starters that you can enjoy. They eat them before lunch and on a platter with various starters.
Famous all around the world! Simple and delicious! It’s just a toast bread with garlic. Eaten as it is or with chopped tomatoes, eggplant spread, or olive spread.
Bread served warm with sea salt and rosemary. In some areas, they make it thin, and in some thick.
Various Grilled Vegetables as zucchini, eggplants, and peppers.
Here are some courses you can find on the Italian menus. Double-check if they add any dairy products.
Pasta al pomodoro e basilica
Its a pasta with tomato sauce and basil. Ask the waiter
Minestra di verdure
Carciofo alla romana
Pasta e fagioli
Pasta and bean soup (double-check they don’t put cheese on top)
Pasta e Ceci
Soup is made with small pasta, such as ditalini, chickpeas, onions, celery, and carrots.
Penne all’ Arrabbiata
Spicy Pasta with penne. Make sure that pasta does not contain any eggs.
3. ITALIAN PIZZA
Pizzas in Italy normally come for 1 person. Be aware that the portions are big so if you are quite hungry I think 1 is enough. or maybe 2! For Vegan choices, they use marinara sauce which is Vegan, and vegetables like onions, aubergines, zucchini. They normally have cheese on the top so make sure you order it a Pizza vegetarian senza Formaggio. Vegan in Italy is not so bad right?
4. MAIN COURSE (SECONDI)
They normally have meat and fish options. If you are in a Vegan restaurant they have dishes with tofu, seitan, or mushrooms.
5. SIDE DISHES
You can have choices of salad, potatoes, rice, grilled vegetables, or caponata which is a sweet and sour egetable stew
Unfortunately, the classic Italian desserts as Tiramisu are not Vegan. But thank God for Gelato. Let me make a confession! I am obsessed with Italian Gelato! Since I became Vegan I was “forced” to discover new Vegan Italian flavors. Plus in a few Vegan spots, they have made the traditional Italian desserts into a Vegan version.
Is Gelato Vegan?
“The last SIGEP, the International Homemade Gelato, Pastry, and Bakery Fair, in Rimini, saw a trend among all of the major companies in the industry to offer products – and in some cases an entire product line – for vegans. ” Read the full article here.
Some of the amazing Vegan Gelatos are made completely with fruit. They also have others using plant-based kinds of milk.
A few shops offering Vegan Gelato are the following:
- Della Palma, here you can enjoy a wide selection of soy-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free flavors, perfect for those suffering from intolerances or following special diets. Address: Via Della Maddalena 19-23, 00186 Rome.
- Grom, is a chain that has a good variety of fruit and granite flavors. Address: They have various stores in Italy and worldwide. Check them here.
- Blue ice in Rome serves fruit sorbets and soy ice cream. Address: Via Giovanni Staderini, 88.
A few shops offering Vegan Desserts are the following:
Grezzo, is discovered by Nicola Salvi , born in 2014 with the aim of contributing to the well-being of people and improving the quality of life on the planet through revolutionary products made with raw food pastry techniques. Excellent Raw desserts. Address: Via Urbana, 130, 00184 Roma RM, Italy.
Wani – Vegan Bakery Roma Wani was born from the desire of 3 vegan friends, Romina, Massimiliano, and Chiara, to create good and beautiful desserts but first of all ethical. For this reason, we do not use any animal derivatives in our production. Address: Via Gabriello Chiabrera, 162b, 00145 Roma RM, Italy.
Brothers Piermattei, here you will find tons of Vegan goodies. Address: Via Matteo Tondi, 14, 00158 Roma RM, Italy.
Italians know how to drink! I will present to you a few of the famous drinks.
Antica Sambuca Classic
A sweet Italian liqueur from the Veneto region. It is made in the distillery d’asagio with a history from 1868 and is one of the top brands in the world. It is an asteroid anise extract with white sugar essential oils and 17 herbs and spices.
Villa Masa Limoncello
Ιts history begins in 1890 when their handmade recipe for limoncello was created. Their secret is the local Ovale di Sorrento lemons from the Campania region in southern Italy. perhaps one of the most aromatic drinks, it has naturally strong aromas of lemon peel and flowers, while the mouth is sweet with the acidity of lemon balancing the sweet feeling.
Fermet – Banca
Fermet-Bance is an amaro bitter made in 1845 in Milan by Fratteli Brance and is flavored with over 40 herbs and spices. It is distinguished by the strong aromas of mint, spices such as licorice, cinnamon, and saffron, herbs such as tea and chamomile.
Disaronno Amaretto Originale
Disaronno is the most famous Amaretto liqueur with a characteristic bitter almond aroma. It does not contain almonds at all, but its taste is due to the apricot kernels.
VEGAN RESTAURANTS IN ROME
- ll Margutta offers Italian Vegetarian cooking with excursions in the world of Vegan and Raw Food in a context where the art, the hanging garden, the natural wooden tables, the colors, and the attention to details, create an elegantly casual, impeccable, and cozy concept. Address: Via Margutta, 118 (Piazza del Popolo,Rome.
- Ecru is a Vegan restaurant since 2015. Lots of amazing dishes as raw noodles, vegan sushi, carpaccio, and vegan cheese. Address: Via Acciaioli, 13, 00186 Roma RM, Italy.
- Ma’ Va has opened in 2015 in the Prati area. It’s an open kitchen. It’s fully Vegan in 2018. The takeaway is also available. Address: 500 meters from the Vatican City and the Ottaviano Metro.
- Romeow Cat Bistrot was born from a simple and clean sentiment. They have a nice menu with appetizers, a main course, and desserts. Address: Via Francesco Negri, 15, 00154 Rome.
VEGAN RESTAURANTS IN FLORENCE
- Mister Pizza offers Gluten Free Pizzas and a good variety of Vegan pizzas. Address: Piazza Del Duomo 5r, 50121, Florence.
- Trattoria Enzo & Piero is a Vegan-friendly restaurant that serves a good variety of Vegan dishes and Tuscan wines. Address: Via Faenza, 105r – 50123 Florence.
VEGAN RESTAURANTS IN VENICE
- Vgoloso is a plant-based restaurant with great choices. with Address: Viale Ancona, 10a, 30172 Venezia VE.
- La Tecia Vegana . In the heart of Brianza we have successfully opened a 100% bio-vegan gastronomy, helping to spread a new way of eating and animal rights awareness. After several years of success, they have decided to follow an old dream: to live in Venice. Address: Dorsoduro, 2104, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy.
VEGAN STORES – VEGAN IN ITALY
- iVegan is a Vegan shop with a huge collection of Vegan products. Address: iVegan s.r.l., Via Angelo Emo 125.
- Vegan Store Box . Here you will find a good variety of Vegan products. Address: Via Lorenzo Ghiberti, 19, 00153 Roma.
- NaturaSi shop where you can find Vegan, Organic and Gluten-Free Products.
VEGAN SAVOURY PRODUCTS
It’s easy to find local fruits and vegetables, rice, potatoes, vegan pasta, legumes, plant-based milk, vegan sauce. On the other hand, it’s hard to find vegan meats, tofu, seitan, butter.
VEGAN SWEET PRODUCTS
All sweet products you can find them in coffee and pastry shops.
They make it in various places in Italy. Often is a round, oven-baked sweet made with white flour, sugar, raisins, red wine, olive oil, and a bit of lard. Other times it’s like a donut with a hole in the middle and thick sugar. You can enjoy it either warm or cold with your coffee.
This sweet is famous in Molise, Apulia, and Basilicata areas of Italy. Christmas in a shape of a rose. They serve them with nuts, fig syrup, and cinnamon. Sometimes they make them with honey, a few times with just syrup.
Photo by Food52.com
Granita di Caffe
The most popular Granitas in Sicily are lemon, almond, strawberry, and coffee. In Messina town, they make them with big crystals. If you wanna order you will ask Mezza con Panna and they will bring you in a glass served with various sweets. Just ask the version without whipped cream unless it’s vegan.
Photo by Fattoincasadabenedetta
- Veggie Hotels website has a list of Vegan Beds and Breakfasts, hotels, and guest houses in Italy.
- Zenith Spa is a popular 3-star hotel in Giulianova, offers 50 rooms furnished with good taste, and is expertly equipped with all comforts.
- Posta Zirm Hotel is a 4-star hotel located in Corvara, the heart of the Dolomites. They have a 5-course vegan menu with pizza, delicious bread, and much more.
- Casa Kara, has delicious organic vegan breakfasts (sweet and salty) prepared daily by their great chef Karin.
- Casa Payer offers everyday healthy, fresh, and tasty homemade plant-based food made from seasonal recipes.
VEGAN ITALIAN RECIPES
Are you finding it difficult to cook it? With those Ten secrets, you will learn to cook the perfect Risotto!
VEGAN SHOES IN ITALY
- Verdura Shoes Shop sells Vegan shoes and sandals made from fishing nets.
- Cammina Leggero has cruelty-free shoes and bags.
VEGAN TRANSLATION CARD IN ITALIAN
Here we conclude this Vegan Guide. I tried to cover as much as possible. As you see it’s relevant easy to be Vegan in Italy. I hope you enjoyed it. In case you have other suggestions please let me know!
Are you a traveler? I have written other vegan guides about various places around the world. Here are a few:
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- Vegan in Thessaloniki | Greece
- Vegan Delivery in Thessaloniki | The best delivery in Greece
- Vegan Pizza Delivery | The best 6 eats in Thessaloniki, Greece
- Vegan in Glasgow, Scotland | The best restaurants
- Vegan in Romania | Restaurants
- Vegan in Bournemouth, England | Top 5 awesome restaurants
- Vegan Traveler | Everything you need to know
- 15 things to know before your trip to Greece