Aside

Preparing for Italy

Spaghetti all' arrabbiata

Image via Wikipedia

Wondering how I would communicate my food allergies to servers in Italy, I did what all Americans do in a quandary: I turned to google.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a long list of websites offering translation cards in many languages and at low-cost.  The one I chose was actually free at Allergy Free Passport.

Within seconds I had a pocket-sized dining card listing the most common allergies in both English and Italian.  Now some other websites offer customized cards, but for my purposes the top allergies were sufficient.  I simply drew a line through the allergies that didn’t apply to me. Then I took one of the cards to the office supply store and had it laminated for about a dollar.  How easy was that!

The other cool thing I found at Allergy Free Passport was an e-book, Allergen Free Dining In Italian Restaurants, which I quickly bought and downloaded on my iPad to take with me.

Now I feel prepared to eat out in Italy!  Do any of you have a suggestion for traveling with celiac and allergies?

4 thoughts on “Preparing for Italy

  1. Hi there! Where in Italy are you going and where are you staying (are you with a group of other people, staying in urban areas, etc.)?
    In my experience (not personal but hearsay from other foodies) the biggest challenge is not so much knowing how to say it in Italian, but how to relate the very concept of being allergic to wheat, for example.

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    • We are visiting our son who is studying in Rome, then off to Florence for a few days and then the Amalfi Coast for the grand finale. The cards I created do explain that I have food allergies and will get sick if I eat certain foods, so hopefully I won’t go hungry. Several people have told me that Italians are very informed about Celiac disease — I sure hope so. I have a hard enough time ordering meals in English. Thanks so much for posting.

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      • We were in Rome and Amalfi coast in September. In more central, urban areas there is more awareness, and of course you can probably go to a tavola calda where you can see what you are getting and make your own conclusions. Also, go to farmer’s markets for the abundant fruit, – that should at least help with the snacking. Also, can you eat cheese (I don’t remember if your list included dairy)? Look up local cheese shops if that’s a dietary option; it will give you more tasty and filling options.
        I don’t want to discourage you, but it will be mostly up to you to do the “due diligence” on whether or not you should eat a given dish.
        Best,
        Natasha @ CDM

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