Welcome to Part 2/3 of our European Vegan Travel Blogs! This post is going to be very long so I apologise in advance. Italy was the country we spent most of our time in so we have much ground to cover. We travelled from the south to the north and were not disappointed by food choices in the slightest. It was amazing to see how veg-friendly Italy is and how accommodating Italians are when you need to make something vegan. I will say, it did help that Francis and I both speak/understand this language but that doesn’t mean non-Italians will struggle. Being a very tourist-focused country, most of the people can speak English and their products are usually labelled vegan with clear ingredients listed on the back.
- Just a side-note: In this country, we only stayed in hotels that served breakfast. If you ask for ‘latte di soia’ (soy milk) most establishments will have some in their kitchen. We typically ate cornflakes with plant-milk, toast with jam and fruit in the morning. In some places, we actually found vegan croissants in supermarkets which were handy for early plane trips and places that didn’t always stock plant milk. Once again, I recommend Air BnB for vegans that aren’t confident with the language and want to make their own food but rest assured, hotels will take care of you if you ask.
In Palermo, Sicily we stayed with my family who drove us everywhere and cooked all of our meals for us so I cannot share veg-friendly restaurants/cafes but I will show you some pictures down below. All of the food they made us was 100% vegan, Mediterranean and amazing! Out of curiosity, I looked at Happy Cow whilst I was in Palermo and noted that there were quite a few vegan options so don’t be afraid to travel there. It’s the most beautiful city and worth a visit.
After Palermo, we flew to Naples and caught a bus to Sorrento for 2 nights.
Star Pub in Sorrento has a vegetarian/vegan section on their menu. Their couscous burger was really tasty and they even offer a seitan patty.
We went on an all day Amalfi Coast Tour that travelled through Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. We sourced our own lunch as the tour bus only provided fish and pizza with cheese.
La Galea Pizzeria in Amalfi serves a vegetarian pizza without cheese. Just ask them ‘sensa formaggio?’
From Sorrento, we took a bus back to Naples and a train to Rome. Now vegans listen up: If you go to Rome, I highly recommend staying at The Beehive which is only a 5 minute walk from the train station. It is a hostel but if you pay a bit extra you get your own private room and bathroom which is what we did. The Beehive has its own veg/vegan cafe on the ground floor. They made us yummy oatmeal and tofu scramble every single morning. They also serve buffet veg dinners on certain nights of the week. If you want to save money, be close to transport and have plant-based meals at the ready, I strongly suggest staying there.
Rifugio Romano is an omnivorous restaurant located near the Roma Termini train station. If you flip to the back of the menu, you will find an entirely vegan section. Here you can get mock-meats, pizzas, pastas and desserts. I ordered the baked potato gnocchi – yum!
Flower Burger is a 100% vegan burger bar located near the Vatican City so I recommend visiting there after a morning tour like we did. All of the burgers are completely different colours with delicious fillings, patties and sauces. I ordered the signature Flower Burger and it came in a charcoal bun. So impressed with Rome!
Located in the city centre of Rome, Bibliothe is a cafe/library that serves Ayurvedic Cuisine. Most of their menu is vegan and very healthy. We ordered the dhal soup with brown rice and beetroot dip below. I highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area. The staff are so friendly.
Buddy’s is a fancy vegan restaurant located near the Pantheon. You will pay more and receive smaller portions but the food is truly delicious. I ordered the vegan steak (see image) and a fresh green juice. I like to add these types of restaurants as you may wish to go on a romantic dinner date.
Gelateria e Yogurteria in Tivoli (30 mins outside of Rome) has vegan ice-cream! Just ask which ones are ‘sensa latte’ and they will provide you with a nice variety of flavours. We had the mixed berry, rice milk & mango. YUM! We visited the stunning Villa d’Este whilst we were there and it was gorgeous. Fountains, stunning gardens and centuries worth of beautiful art.
Speaking of vegan ice-cream – Mamma Mia Gelateria in the Rome city centre has over 10 vegan flavours of ice-cream. I had the pistachio and Francis had the hazelnut.
Last but not least in Rome, you must visit iPhame near Roma Termini. It is a 100% vegan cafe that serves the best vegan sandwiches in the whole world – no joke! The owner Ernesto is so lovely. He whipped us up some mouthwatering sandwiches with vegan cheeses, meats (made from beetroot, chickpeas and lentils) and lots of veggie fillings. Do yourself a favour and go here! Your taste-buds will be so happy.
I just want to take this moment to say that Florence had by far the best vegan food in all of Italy. Endless options and everything was so delicious. Here are the best of the best:
Amidst this ancient city, you will find Brac Libreria di Arte Contemporanea. This is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant literally located inside a library. The menu offers a deal where you can order an appetiser, entree, main and pastry for quite cheap. We had ravioli stuffed with coconut curry, sweet potato pie, walnut/apple salad and lots of veggies. It was all so filling and tasty.
Right near the Duomo, there is an Eco Pop-Up store that sells vegan clothing, cosmetics, shoes and more. They asked me to promote them on social media so I was very happy to oblige. Everything is environmentally friendly, vegan, ethical, organic, fair-trade and made in Italy. I’m really proud of Florence for having this store available.
Through the bustling street-markets, you will find Veggy Days which is a 100% junk-food vegan cafe. You can get all sorts of burgers, wraps, mock-meats, desserts and more. I tried their lupine (lupin’s are legumes) ‘meat-loaf’ which was delicious and coated in BBQ sauce. It was nice to eat something a bit different. Veggy Days is really affordable too so you don’t have to break the bank to eat there!
Trattoria Enzo & Piero is owned by a multi-generation Italian family that specialises in Tuscan and Florentine food. Throughout the menu, they have clearly marked vegan options. I had the Tuscan White-Bean soup below with swiss chard and fresh loaves of bread. This meal was so hearty and delicious, I could’ve eaten it every single day. The flavours were out of this world!
Il Vegetariano was such a treat! It felt like being part of a secret community. It’s quite hidden down a side-street and when you enter, you need to walk through the dining area to reach the bustling kitchen. There are absolutely no wait-staff. You pass your order to the chef behind the counter on a piece of paper and they provide you with a meal. All vegan options are clearly labelled and there’s a salad bar as well as plenty of desserts. I had a hearty lentil-dahl and Francis had a Mexican bean dish (see below). We also shared a fig and pear crumble tart. Delicious! Get in while you can because it fills up fast.
One more place I would like to mention was Le Fate which Francis took me to for a surprise dinner date. Check out my thoughts and images by clicking this post – June Favourites 2017 – TRAVEL EDITION!
SANTA MARGHERITA & CINQUE TERRE:
We spent two nights in Santa Margherita which was one of our favourite places. It’s a beautiful seaside town that is only an hour train ride away from Cinque Terre so if you prefer to stay away from lots of tourists and noise, this is the perfect place for you. If you walk down to the waterfront, you’ll find a restaurant called Kicks. It actually offers a pizza called ‘The Vegano’ and a penne paste with napoli sauce. We checked and the pasta is vegan. It’s a great option and we were really happy we found it.
We spent a whole day exploring the magnificent Cinque Terre. As mentioned previously, it’s only an hour train ride from Santa Margherita to Monterosso (#1) where we swam in the magnificent Mediterranean sea. From there we caught a train to Vernazza (#2) which is the most beautiful of the 5 towns. In Corniglia, (#3) we ate lunch. There were two vegan friendly cafes right next to each other. They both served vegan sandwiches as you can see by the images below. So delicious!
In Manorola (#4) we went cliff-diving in the clearest lagoon and indulged in vegan slushies at 5terre. I had the almond flavour. It was so delicious and refreshing in the hot summer sun. We finished the day exploring Riomaggiore (#5) and taking a train back to our hotel. Definitely visit Cinque Terre if you go to Italy. It’s spectacular and a place you have to see to believe!
VENICE & VERONA:
Our final stop within Italy (aside from a day trip to Verona) was the breath-taking Venice. There were quite a few vegan options including a brand-new 100% plant-based, organic restaurant. We ate there our very first night and it was worth every penny. The place is called La Tecia Vegana and it is filled with animal-activism posters, pamphlets and books. I had the lasagna with a seitan bolognese sauce topped with nutritional yeast. It was the best vegan lasagna I’ve ever tried! We also had millet balls with beetroot sauce, spinach gnocchi, eggplant parmigiana and more. The serving sizes are quite small so it’s encouraged to order a few things. I’m so happy a place like this exists in such an ancient city.
If you’re looking for the perfect lunch place located near Piazza San Marco, I would recommend Bar Spritz. It is a fully vegan sandwich and salad bar that also sells healthy snacks and juices. I had a hummus/lentil sandwich and a fresh avocado/veggie panini. Francis had a tofu roll (see below) on rye bread. The staff are friendly and speak excellent English.
Yay for Pizzeria L’Angelo – a restaurant that serves vegan pizzas, focaccia’s, toasties and vegan cheese. I ordered the Omega and the cheese was so gooey. It was really yum. We ate our pizzas outside in the warm setting sun. It was so nice to see the chef wearing a ‘Go Vegan’ shirt. You get a really decent sized pizza for quite cheap. Please support this place if you visit Venice and it may just end up being 100% vegan!
Caffe’ Vergnano is an omnivorous restaurant that has a small section on its menu for vegans. The options may be limited but they are definitely quality over quantity and that is why I’m including this place on our list. We had a romantic lunch-date outside by the canals and tucked into a vegan lasagna and baked falafels with veggies and hummus. All of the food was very filling and tasty.
Do not go to Venice without stopping at Alaska Gelateria. This place has clearly labelled vegan gelato and slushies but what I loved most about it was the unique flavours. I had a double-scoop of cinnamon and rose ice-cream that was so good, I’m jealous of my past self. Francis had a refreshing mint slushie that smelled and tasted divine. The owner was so kind and happy to see us enjoying our treats.
The best dinner I had in Venice was at Frary’s, a middle-eastern restaurant with lots of vegan options. The food was so colourful, healthy and full of exotic spices. We both ordered mixed-rice dishes served with their signature hummus, chickpeas and vegetables. I could’ve eaten there every single night!
Ahh Verona! The home of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. I had always wanted to visit this place and it met all of my romantic expectations. We did a day trip from Venice (it is only an hour by train) and bought the Verona Card which allows you to enter most of the well-known attractions. It will save you so much money. After a morning of exploring (see Juliet’s Balcony below), we stumbled upon Flora, a 100% vegan buffet service. You can fill your plate with as much plant-based goodness as you please and then pay according to weight. As you can see, I went a little crazy! I couldn’t even finish my food but I left extremely satisfied. I also couldn’t resist planting a Vegan Travel sticker on the door…
I really hope you enjoyed our Vegan Guide to Italy. We had the best time seeking out veg-friendly restaurants for this post and ourselves. It really cemented to both of us that you can travel anywhere as a vegan and quite comfortably too. You’ll never starve and you’ll be amazed at how creative some countries can be. Thanks for reading and we will see you in Part 3/3 – GREECE!
Peace & Love xoxo