In this gluten-free Florence dining guide, I'm sharing where to eat when visiting with celiac disease, and why it's is one of my favorite destinations for gluten-free travelers!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more information. This post was last updated in June of 2023.
About This Gluten-Free Guide to Florence
I've spent a lot of time in Italy. To date, its the country I've visited the most: 6 times. 3 times pre-celiac, and 3 times post-celiac. And one of the cities I've had the most experience in is Florence.
Italy might be one of the destinations you think is off limits because of the presence of pizza and pasta. But in fact, it's one of the easiest places to visit with celiac disease, especially in a historic city like Florence. You will not miss out AT ALL on the Italian dishes you are craving, and will be able to enjoy them gluten-free in celiac-safe form.
In this guide I'm diving into the restaurants you definitely want to visit when in Florence, plus additional tips on visiting Italy and navigating language barriers, common dishes & ingredients, and why Florence will quickly become one of your favorite destinations!
Of course, this guide is not going to tell you every single possible place that offers gluten-free options. Instead, I'm pointing you toward the places I've been to time and time again, that have celiac protocols in place, and where you'll have a delicious meal. I believe this guide will give you a solid list of places to eat during your time eating gluten-free in Florence. At the bottom of this post you'll also find additional recommendations if you need more help traveling to Florence with celiac.
Now let's get to the pizza, the pasta, and the gelato in Florence. Andiamo!
NOTE & DISCLAIMER
Everyone’s experience with celiac disease is different. Dedicated gluten-free facilities are usually the safest places to go, and you’ll see those listed here. For non-dedicated facilities and restaurants, I only recommend places I have visited or where clear protocols are in place for celiac diners.
My experience is not your experience. This is a guide – a list of suggestions to point you in the right direction. Restaurants can change. Use your own judgment and only eat where you feel safe doing so.
I've created this Florence map for you to help you find the restaurants, bakeries, and cafes listed below!
Gluten-Free Florence Restaurant Guide
- About This Gluten-Free Guide to Florence
- Gluten-Free Florence Restaurant Guide
- Traveling To & Visiting Florence
- How To Find Gluten-Free Food in Florence
- Celiac Disease in Italy
- Italian Restaurant Card
- Gluten-Free Wheat Starch & Dairy-Free Options
- 100% Gluten-Free Restaurants in Florence
- 100% Gluten-Free Gelato
- AIC Approved Restaurants
- Supermarkets, Grocery Stores & Food Labels
- More Florence Gluten-Free Recommendations
- Looking for more gluten-free restaurant guides around the globe?
Traveling To & Visiting Florence
Florence (Firenze in Italian) is located in the Tuscany region of Italy. There is a very small airport in Florence you can fly into, but flights will be more expensive. You can also fly into Milan and take the train, which I have done before on multiple occasions and is quite easy. You'll need to catch two trains - one from the airport to Milano Centrale Station (about 30 minutes) and the second one from Milano Centrale to Santa Maria Novella in Florence. This second train ride will be about 1 hour and 45 minutes and leaves frequently. Train tickets are available on TrenItalia here.
Most people when visiting Florence tend to only visit the city center - the Duomo, The Piazzale Michelangelo, and the Ponte Vecchio bridge. But there's so much more Florence than that! Remember to explore off the beaten path, go across the Arno River for less crowds and to wander around the mazes of small streets. Florence is a city rich in history and there's a lot more here than just the main tourist attractions, so don't be afraid to see what else is out there!
Because of the sheer abundance of gluten-free food in Florence, I have typically stayed in hotels and Airbnbs. The closer to the city center or Duomo, the more pricey these tend to be. If you are willing to walk 15-20 minutes into the historic center every day, you'll find a lot more reasonable options, quieter places, and maybe a hidden gem.
How To Find Gluten-Free Food in Florence
AIC Mobile App
Florence is one of the cities in Italy with a large number of 100% gluten-free restaurants. However, in the rest of Italy, you're more likely to find restaurants that have approval from the AIC. The AIC - the Italian Celiac Association, has done wonders for the Italian celiac community. And you get to reap the benefits as a visitor here in Florence.
The AIC has created a smartphone application which lists restaurants that are approved by the AIC for celiac diners. The cost is $2.99 for 2 weeks to access their database of venues, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and products. You can extend it once for another two weeks, but beyond that you'll need to contact one of the local chapters of the AIC for longer access.
The restaurants listed will have strict protocols and training (click here to read about them), including but not limited to, dedicated kitchen spaces & cooking tools, (sometimes completely separate kitchens!), extensive gluten-free menus, and cognizant staff. This is very similar to the Gluten Intolerance Group's "Validated GF Safe Spot" you may see on Find Me Gluten Free. This means that cross-contact is something you really shouldn't have to worry about AT ALL when dining in these restaurants, but you should still clarify you have celiac just in case. Amazing!
In the restaurants listed below, you will see a distinction between those that are 100% gluten-free and others that are AIC accredited places.
Find Me Gluten-Free
While the AIC App and this guide will point you in the right direction for where to eat in Florence, you might need to explore other options.
And if you can't find what you're looking for here on this guide or through the AIC app, I'd highly recommend having a backup app like FindMeGlutenFree.
FindMeGlutenFree can help you get an idea what other fabulous gluten-free restaurants & safe food choices are in Florence and the surrounding areas. While this is largely a USA based app, it is used all over the world. And with a Premium Subscription, you can filter by most celiac friendly, see what's open now (so you don't drive all the way to a bakery for breakfast and discover it's closed), and what's gluten-free in the direction you're headed. It's like Google Maps, but a gluten-free version. And no Ads!
I've been a FMGF user for over a decade, but I think their Premium version is much more effective. Take $5 off a Premium Subscription with the code THENOMADICFITZ to make your trip to Florence a gluten-free success!
Celiac Disease in Italy
Just like the United States - 1 out of 100 Italians has celiac disease. But as a smaller country where food is such an important part of their culture, Italians take it seriously.
As a society, food is integral to Italian culture, community, and family life. Italians have gone to great lengths to make sure those with celiac disease do not miss out on the importance of sharing food with friends and family. After a national celiac disease screening in 2005 brought the disease to everyone's attention, Italy began to step up its game. Italian gluten-free companies created high-quality gluten-free products, and even school children were screened for the disease if they presented symptoms. Today, the Italian government provides grocery vouchers for patients at up to 140 euros per month.
Italy for the most part (especially in big cities) handles celiac disease a lot better than the United States. So for Americans, there's a HUGE draw to visit a place that has these standards and options for us!
Italian Restaurant Card
As a former world language teacher, I can tell you that using proper colloquialisms, grammar, and vocabulary makes a big difference when speaking another language. A restaurant card properly translated into the local language allows your host, server, or chef to know what foods you can and cannot eat, and how the preparation of your food is critical to your health and safety, especially if you are traveling around Tuscany & outside of the hub of Florence.
This Italian restaurant card from Jodi of Legal Nomads has been carefully written and translated by a local to be sure you are completely understood when eating in restaurants, cafes, or shops in Italy. Additionally, another more succinct but equally effective card can be found here from Equal Eats. I recommend both of these cards wholeheartedly.
To be totally honest though, you really don't need a restaurant card in Florence. Since there is such a high number of tourists here, almost everyone speaks English. And MENUS are also in English! Of course, it's always polite to speak some Italian words. Hello, please, thank you, and good day go a long way! But if you are traveling around Tuscany or to smaller towns, it would be a smart idea.
If you choose to not bring a translated restaurant card (but I highly recommend you do!) you'll want to look for the words "senza glutine" or "celiaca/celiaco" on menus, windows, products, and in grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants. The words translate to "without gluten" and "celiac". You can also use your iPhone camera or Google translate to translate individual words, or try brushing up on your Italian through a free app like Duolingo!
Gluten-Free Wheat Starch & Dairy-Free Options
Many restaurants in Florence and throughout Italy use Caputo Fiorglut flour, or flours that contain gluten-free wheat starch. This product is also used in the USA in Schar products like their croissants. This ingredient has been tested to be safe for celiacs as it removes the gluten protein and leaves only the wheat behind. However, it would not be safe for someone with a wheat allergy.
If you are confused about this ingredient and would like to learn more about it, here is some additional information:
Quite a few restaurants in Florence also offer vegan or lactose-free cheese options (Mister Pizza & Ciro & Sons especially). This will depend on the restaurant specifically, and many have their menus listed online. So if you are celiac and also avoid dairy, rest assured there will be options for you too!
100% Gluten-Free Restaurants in Florence
Bottega Artigiana Del Gusto (Bakery, Cafe, & Store)
First off, there's one small downside to visiting Florence:
There aren't any traditional 100% gluten-free bakeries in the historic city center. There used to be one called StarBene, but they shut down during the pandemic. You may find that breakfast options can be a bit limited in Florence because of this. However, I usually have a light snack like a granola bar or piece of fruit at my Airbnb, some tea or a cappuccino at a cafe, and then just have a bigger lunch. Huge breakfasts aren't as common in Europe as they are in the United States, especially in countries like Italy or Spain.
HOWEVER - don't fret, if you still really are craving some baked goods during your time here in Florence. If you are willing to go a little out of the way, there is a wonderful place you don't want to miss that has pastries, pizzas, sandwiches, and is basically a gluten-free paradise.
This is a 100% gluten-free bakery, cafe, and grocery store! The only challenge is that it's a little farther to get to. It's across the Arno river and you can either take the bus (takes about 15-20 minutes from the city center) or take a longggg walk there. But I promise you, it's definitely worth it. And you might want to bring a reusable grocery bag with you because you'll want to buy so many things!
The store is filled with every gluten-free product you can think of: dried pasta of EVERY shape and size, breads, cookies, frozen items, crackers, chips, oatmeal, cereal - it will feel a bit overwhelming because you'll have so many options to choose from. And then when you look at the food available to purchase from the cafe, you'll probably have decision fatigue again. Fresh pizzas, cream puffs, cookies stuffed with nutella, savory pastries stuffed with tomato, ham, and cheese....the list goes on!
Despite the amount of options, I opted for something simple. I got a cappuccino and a cookie that had nutella stuffed inside. Win!
While I was there, I ended up chatting with two Spanish girls who live in Milan but were visiting Florence for the day. Hola, Marta y Angi, y gracias por todo! We sat together and chatted in Spanish for a while while enjoying our coffee and pastries. Later on, I asked the gentleman who was working the counter which products he would recommend (because there was SO much to choose from I had no clue where to start!). He was so kind and took me around the whole store explaining which brands were the most popular, what he would suggest buying, and even shared which pastas would keep well during my travels. I very much appreciated his help!
For more information about visiting this bakery/cafe/market, you can visit their website here but it is currently under construction. They are also listed on the Google Map at the top of this post. They are closed on Sundays.
Sgrano (Sandwiches & Street Food)
My #1 place I recommend visiting in Florence is Sgrano. Like, when you arrive, go here right away for the best sandwich of your damn life. When I tell you I dream about the sandwiches from here....it's no lie. Specifically, one sandwich in particular: La Mortazza. But first, let's talk about Sgrano and why it's an amazing 100% gluten-free spot in Florence.
Sgranos's sandwich shop (and their next door takeout shop for street food) is located on the famous Via de Neri in Florence. Once you turn down this street, especially during lunch, you may see lines of people along the streets, people sitting down on curbs, or walking with huge sandwiches wrapped in paper. These kinds of sandwiches are made with schiachetta, a Florentine bread similar to focaccia, and they are usually packed full of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and other toppings. These are extremely popular in Florence, and definitely a cultural experience to be a part of.
And the BEST part is that if you walk past these shops to the end of the Via de Neri, before the first cross street, you'll find Sgrano on the right hand side, which offers 100% gluten-free versions of these schiachetta bread sandwiches that are out of this world. So good, you'll have yourself double-checking it's in fact gluten-free.
I first discovered Sgrano while visiting Florence in May of 2022, and it was my first stop when I returned here just last month in 2023. My favorite sandwich here is the Mortazza - it's mortadella ham, mozzarella cheese, and pistachio cream. It's unbelieveable and almost brought tears to my eyes. And having it with an aperol spritz just felt like the ultimate Italian summer experience.
Sgrano also has their street food takeout restaurant next door, but I've never actually gotten anything there! The sandwiches are so good, which you can get to go or to sit-down, I've always stuck to them. And you'll want to keep going back again and again!
If you thought the sandwiches at Sgrano were great for lunch...if you walk another 5 minutes down the Via de Neri and go one street over, you'll end up at Osteria dello Sgrano, which is open for dinner and serves just as delectable dishes there too, including fresh gluten-free pasta.
While this Sgrano is only open in the evenings on weekdays, and for lunch/dinner on weekends, it's still worth a visit. I came here with my friend Catalin of Celiac in Italy to try their pasta and it was quite good indeed. Even the coccoli, which is the pizza bread and came with a cheese sauce, was scrumptious. I had the tagliatelle with cinghiale (wild boar) bolognese and cleaned my plate.
If you really like the sandwiches at Sgrano, I highly suggest coming here for a dinner meal as well! Both Sgranos are on the smaller side, so that gives you the option to do takeaway at the sandwich shop if it's busy. But here at the Osteria, I'd recommend making a reservation.
If you love risotto, you definitely don't want to miss Risotteria Melotti. This is a 100% gluten-free risotto restaurant with sister locations in Rome and New York City. I'd heard many good things about this cute spot, but decided to check it out with Catalin of Celiac in Italy during my time there. This is a very small, cute restaurant in the central historic area of Florence with indoor and outdoor seating. But I'd definitely, again, recommend a reservation.
Risotteria serves, as you guessed it - risotto. And there are so many different risottos to choose from, you're bound to find one that you enjoy. Catalin got the risotto with cinghiale (wild boar - I've mentioned it a lot because it was in season during spring when I visited) and I got the risotto with asparagus. While I would've loved more asparagus, it was blended into the risotto itself, and very tasty. We were both so full we didn't even get dessert!
Another 100% gluten-free restaurant in Florence is Quinoa. This was a restaurant I also visited with my friend Catalin of Celiac in Italy. Quinoa was actually the first dedicated gluten-free restaurant to open in Florence back in 2014. It offers a beautiful courtyard patio and indoor seating. They are open for lunch and dinner and have a variety of dishes not exclusive to just Italian cuisine. Items from other cutures and cuisines such as Thai, Peruvian, and Greek.
One thing I especially found a special treat at Quinoa was they brought a bag of warm gluten-free bread to the table just shortly after we sat down. After always refusing the bread basket or pushing it away in most restaurants (that's life with celiac disease), it was a welcome surprise. I ordered the pasta bolognese and it was perfect. The portion sizes in Italy are much more reasonable than the United States. You leave comfortable, and not like you're going to explode!
Raw Vegan Firenze is a 100% gluten-free and vegan spot. I'm not someone who usually seeks out vegan restaurants unless it's a smoothie shop. But since I had been eating a lot of carbs, I was definitely craving some more fruits and veggies, and decided to check out Raw Vegan. It's just right over the Arno River, a very short walk from the historic city center. They are a raw vegan bistro as well as a smoothie and juice shop. They offer smoothies, acai, fresh juices, bowls, wraps, and even pizzas and poke.
Raw has a cute outdoor area but is very small, and only a few tables in the back to sit down. This is more of a grab and go place, or perhaps just sitting down for a snack outside. Again, this isn't usually a place I would go to, but after having lots of pizza and pasta, I decided a green smoothie would hit the spot, and it did.
I got the Super Green smoothie with banana, orange, spinach, nuts, and maca. It was just what I was hoping for and I finished it on my walk back across the river to my Airbnb. A light and refreshing snack!
100% Gluten-Free Gelato
The GOAT of all gluten-free gelato is Grom. Grom is a 100% gluten-free gelateria making pure, authentic Italian gelato. Located all over Italy and even in other countries of Europe like the UK and France, Grom is a dedicated gluten-free gelato shop you can find not only in Florence but also in other cities like Rome and Milan too. Yes, everything is gluten-free, including the cones and the cookies they use for garnish. You don't have to worry about a thing here except deciding which delectable flavor of gelato or sorbet you want to have!
Personally, I've never met a gelato flavor I didn't love, and you've got quite the variety here. Fruit flavors like strawberry and mango, chocolate and vanilla, even straciatella, vanilla with chocolate chips. Grom also has fresh whipped cream which makes for a fantastic topping with any gelato flavor that I highly recommend.
Grom has a small location in the historic city center of Florence, just off the main square of the Duomo. I recommend the chocolate cones dipped with nuts, as well as a combination of fragola (strawberry) and chocolate. Perfection. When in Italy, I recommend eating gelato at least once (maybe twice) a day.
Antica Gelateria Fiorentina
After one of our lunch meetups, Catalin and I decided to try Antica Gelateria Fiorentina - another reported 100% gluten-free gelato shop in Florence that was very highly rated on FindMeGlutenFree and TripAdvisor. This one is also located in the historic center of Florence. Catalin spoke to the server in Italian and confirmed that yes, everything was gluten-free, plus they had an AIC sticker in their window. Love it!
So together we got cones to go and enjoyed them while strolling the streets of Florence. I had chocolate with straciatella. Antica Fiorentina, like Grom, has the classic flavors to choose from like coffee, hazelnut, and cream, as well as unique flavors like match and pumpkin flavors. They also have gluten-free cones. Amazingly, this gelato place also offers cooking classes so you can make gelato yourself! That's something I've never seen offered before during my time in Italy, and sounds like a lot of fun.
AIC Approved Restaurants
My favorite pizza place in Florence is MisterPizza. They have 2 locations, and one of them is right to the left of the Duomo in the main square, if you are looking at the front of the Duomo. Tables are available outside with an incredible view of the Duomo, or inside as well. Plus you can do takeaway or delivery here.
Mister Pizza is an AIC-accredited restaurant, meaning they are listed on the Italian Celiac Association's app as having extensive training in celiac disease and cross-contact. Their pizzas are prepared separately and they taste absolutely incredible. Not to mention, they have multiple options on the menu including lactose-free and vegan cheeses. There are of course salads and desserts too, but if you're here, you're really coming for the pizza. Which they know they do extremely well.
Ciro & Sons
Ciro & Sons is an AIC accredited Neapolitan pizzeria restaurant also in the central historic district of Florence. They have both indoor and outdoor tables, a very friendly staff (Ciao, Giuseppe!) and their entire menu can be made gluten-free or lactose-free. For someone with celiac and IBS like myself, this place is really a dream come true.
The menu is extensive an includes appetizers, salads, pastas, and of course, pizza. I've had all kinds of dishes from Ciro and Sons and not been disappointed in any of them. I especially love the Grilled Vegetables with Burrata appetizer, and the pizza bread! The pizza here is great and what they are known for, but personally, I find the crust at MisterPizza better.
This is a place that is open for lunch, closes in the afternoon, then reopens for dinner. This is common with quite a few restaurants & establishments in Florence so always be mindful to check their hours, and I'd definitely recommend a reservation here as well, especially for dinner. It gets pretty busy quite quickly, and their tables fill up fast. Everything is really good here, so you really can't go wrong with what's on the menu.
If you're looking for a date-night, fancy dinner kind of place, Hostaria Il Desco is for you. Dylan and I came here in May of 2022 for dinner and it was absolutely fabulous. Definitely make a reservation here, because we got lucky and arrived right when they opened up. They are a dinner-only place in the historic center of Florence, and also, an AIC accredited restaurant.
With an extensive menu full of appetizers, pastas, vegetables, and even a Florence specialty - Florentine steak, plus a huge wine and cocktail list, this is really the place for a special occasion. Unfortunately for Dylan and I, we only got to have this one nice meal on our trip in 2022 because we got COVID and our trip was basically a wash. However, I still look back on this one nice meal and think fondly of it!
I had gnocchi with pear and walnuts in a cream sauce, along with roasted vegetables and of course, fresh bread. Dylan had Florentine steak which was HUGE and he said was phenomenal. We also had wine, and then for dessert had the tiramisu. We were absolutely stuffed and somehow still had room for gelato a little while later!
June 2023 Update: Mama Eat is now in FLORENCE!
According to my friend Catalin of Celiac in Italy and her Instagram page, the popular AIC certified restaurant Mama Eat, with locations in Rome, Naples, and Milan, has now also opened a location in Florence! This is super exciting and gives you another place to visit for delicious gluten-free food, as well as lactose-free options. As their menu states above, they have 2 kitchens, 2 prep spaces, 2 ovens, 2 chefs, and 2 separate teams to ensure that anything that is gluten-free is prepared safely. Amazing!
Mama Eat is located on Via dell'acqua, in betweeen the Piazza della Signoria and Piazza di Santa Croce. They have an extensive menu of appetizers, pizzas and pasta dishes. Here are a few of the items we tried at the Mama Eat in Milan:
For more information about Mama Eat, check out their website to see all of their locations and menus, or visit their Instagram page for additional information. I haven't personally had a chance to visit the Florence location, but we loved the Milan location, and it's a beloved place for celiacs visiting Italy.
Supermarkets, Grocery Stores & Food Labels
You've got a lot of grocery store options in Florence, but some of the most common ones you'll see are Carrefour, Coop, and Conad. Outside the city center, you'll also find Esselunga and Lidl. Within the city center, you'll probably see a lot of Carrefour Express, so these will be tiny grocery stores and may not have everything you are looking for. Gluten-free items will not necessarily have their own section, but will often be mixed in with other items.
When it comes to food labeling, Europe in general is very good about labeling gluten-free items clearly. The cross-wheat symbol, as seen below in the white and red circle, is universally recognized as meaning gluten-free. You may also see the words "Senza Glutine" like this muffin from Mulino Bianco, a common brand in Italy that makes many gluten-free products.
Schar is very popular in Europe, but the products on the shelves will be different (and I think, better!) than the ones you are used to seeing in US supermarkets. In general, the supermarkets in Italy will offer you solid options to create your own sandwich on the go, grab a piece of fruit or bag of chips for a snack, or to make your own meal in an Airbnb. My go-to is usually frozen rice, frozen veggies, and a protein. Easy to cook and prep!
More Florence Gluten-Free Recommendations
If you are looking for additional support, restaurants, cooking classes, and information about visiting Florence with celiac disease, I highly suggest visiting my friend Catalin's page! Catalin @celiacinitaly is an ex-pat with celiac disease living in Florence. She speaks Italian, works closely in the gluten-free scene in Florence, and can help you plan a celiac-safe vacation! She also offers virtual gluten-free pasta making classes (which I've taken, and are amazing!)
Final Thoughts: Gluten-Free Florence
Firenze, I love you so. Seriously, one of my all-time favorite cities to visit for gluten-free food. It's small, walkable, historic, charming, and the restaurant scene is fantastic. I highly recommend making Florence a part of your Italian gluten-free itinerary. And don't forget to make a sandwich from Sgrano your first stop!
Looking for more gluten-free restaurant guides around the globe?
Discover a gluten-free high tea experience in London!
Embrace the "Sin TACC" scene in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Be prepared for traveling to Thailand with celiac as you navigate a cuisine heavy in soy sauce and oyster sauce!
Indulge in tapas and churros (gluten-free) in Madrid.
Looking for a guided gluten-free tour? Check out Zaney Travel in Costa Rica.
Have you been to Florence?
How was your experience in Italy with celiac disease?
Let me know in the comments where I should visit next time I'm there!