Planning to eat gluten free in Italy can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. To make traveling gluten free in Italy easier I’ve put together a list of the Top 5 Gluten free apps that I personally use as a celiac when planning my gluten free vacations in Italy.
How to use gluten free apps to plan your trip to Italy
- Take caution as not all apps are created equal. Many of these gluten free apps offer free information and not all reviews, suggestions and experiences are given by celiacs or those who are gluten-intolerant. If you have a severe gluten intolerance or celiac disease I suggest sticking to only the AIC Mobile gluten-free app as this is the only app with gluten free places in Italy that are monitored by Italy’s National Celiac organization.
- Do not download the AIC Mobile prior to your trip as it is only available for travellers to use for a period of two weeks.
- Use these gluten free apps as a guide on where to eat and stay during your gluten free trip to Italy. It is always important to plan where to eat and stay well in advance to avoid any hiccups on during your gluten free travels in Italy. Make sure to call ahead to confirm restaurant opening hours and always inform them that you have celiac disease and require a celiac safe gluten-free meal even if it is an AIC certified venue.
- Once you arrive at the restaurant be sure talk to your waiter and inform them that you have celiac disease. (In the Italian language there are masculine and feminine conjugation. Make sure you identify yourself correctly and grab your free Italian gluten-free dining out card by clicking here). Even if a restaurant is gluten free certified remember to identify yourself so that no confusion occurs in the kitchen.
- Always bring your gluten-free Italian dining out card to ensure there is no miscommunication on what you can and cannot eat.
- Try to use gluten free apps that specifically focus on eating gluten-free in Italy. By using Italy specific gluten free apps you’ll get the most up to date information and the best gluten-free options available in Italy.
Top 5 Gluten-Free Apps for your vacation to Italy
This app has been created by Italy’s National Celiac Organization (aka “Associazione Italiana Celiachia”). It offers a listing of all the venues across Italy that have been audited by the AIC. This includes everything from Hotels to ice cream shops. It is the most reliable way to find celiac safe places to eat gluten free in Italy.
Pros: Free to download and offers the only listing of certified gluten-free restaurants in Italy that are monitored by Italy’s National Celiac Organization
Cons: Membership for English speaking travellers is only available for a two week period so it offers little help in pre-planning your trip to Italy.
Tip: Don’t download this app before your trip to Italy. Download this app as close as possible to your trip’s departure date. This way you’ll be able to use it throughout the duration of your gluten free travels in Italy.
Mangiare Senza Glutine
This gluten free app is very similar to Gluten Free Roads, but it tends to be more accurate as users update it more frequently with their comments and personal experiences. This app can be used offline which makes it a great option when wi-fi is spotty or you simply don’t want to be subject to roaming charges. Another added perk of this gluten-free app is that the search results are immediately sorted by distance from your current location, making it easy to find gluten free options in Italy when you are out exploring.
Pros: Free to download and can conveniently be used offline. You can save your favourites which is helpful for planning. It is focused on Italian venues.
Cons: Relies on information from other diners, diners that may not have celiac disease or a severe intolerance to gluten. The venues present in this gluten-free app are not guaranteed and it should be noted that the gluten free venues listed may change at any time.
Tip: If you use this gluten-free app be sure to call ahead and confirm that they are prepared and knowledgeable of how to prepare dishes that are celiac safe.
This app is exactly that: an app that finds gluten-free places on the road by utilizing a GPS search engine to find gluten-free restaurants, ice cream parlors, and more. This is another gluten free app where the content relies on the users. Each user can leave a rating of 1 to 5 so you’ll get a better idea of the quality of the service, variety, and experience offered at each of these gluten-free venues in Italy.
Pros: Free to download. Great for finding gluten-free restaurants in Italy on the go.
Cons: Relies on information from other diners, diners that may not have celiac disease or a severe intolerance. The venues present in this gluten-free roads are not guaranteed and they note that the venues may change at any time. Not updated as frequently as Mangiare Senza glutine
Schär Gluten Free
Although not Italy specific it is your second best choice when looking for trustworthy and reliable restaurants to dine gluten-free in Italy. Schar specializes in gluten-free products and offers a variety of gluten free venues in Italy including hotels and of course this gluten free app showcases where you can find their products.
Pros: Free to download. Rates restaurants and allows you to search by distance, rating and title.
Cons: Although Schar offers certified gluten-free products it does allow users to add their gluten-free venues to the app’s database. Just like with the other gluten-free apps that rely on information from users, not all users that leave recommendations or reviews have celiac disease or a severe intolerance. As a result the gluten free information provided by Schar Gluten Free may not be 100% celiac safe.
Genius Food is a great gluten-free app if you’re planning on doing self-catering on your trip to Italy. It allows you to search a database of gluten free products found in Italy that are tailored to your personal allergies.
Pros: Free to download and you can tailor your search to discover products that are privy to your allergies.
Cons: If you are looking to dine out gluten-free in Italy this app won’t suffice. Its purpose is to find gluten free products in Italy that are free of your personal allergens. Genius Food should only be used if you’re looking to find gluten-free snacks or are planning to rent an Airbnb with self catering on your vacation to Italy.
Cons of using gluten-free apps on your trip to Italy
- Not all reviews and recommendations offered are written by those with celiac disease and therefore gluten-free app recommendations are not 100% fool proof. Rather than playing with fire, skip the stress of planning your gluten-free trip to Italy by saving a seat on one of our itineraries.
- Because the AIC mobile app is only available for two weeks it makes pre-planning your trip to Italy very difficult. If your trip is longer than two weeks you won’t be able to access this gluten-free app in Italy.
- Gluten-free app recommendations and good, authentic Italian cuisine usually don’t go hand-in-hand. Gluten-free apps are not focused on reviewing the quality of the cuisine, but rather focused on finding safe gluten-free restaurants in Italy. If you are looking to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine and really good gluten-free food then click here to find out how we can help.
- Information is not always up to date. This makes it difficult when trying to plan your gluten-free trip to Italy.
- Gluten-free apps that only offer recommendations of 100% gluten-free restaurants in Italy are extremely limiting. Why? There are very few 100% gluten-free restaurants in Italy. Italians view eating together as a pleasure and they don’t just go gluten-free unless they have celiac disease or an intolerance. Conviviality and together is at the heart and soul of Italian culture. So you’ll find most restaurants in Italy that offer gluten free options have a menu where gluten-free and non-gluten-free Italians can to dine together – not separately.
Ready to skip the stress of finding great gluten-free restaurants in Italy? Click here to see how we can help you discover the real Italy gluten-free.