If you’ve been diagnosed as coeliac or intolerant, you could be forgiven for thinking that a holiday to Italy holds a lot less allure when you’re gluten-free. But beyond the well-known repasts of pizza, pasta and focaccia, an impressive gluten-free scene has been emerging in il bel paese, not least in its vibrant capital.
A self-confessed former bread addict and eternal Rome enthusiast, I’ve been gluten-free for more than two years, an unwelcome development that left me fearing that a visit to the city would never be quite the same again. But, thanks in part to the increasing occurrence of coeliac disease in the general Italian population as well as the popularity of Italian-born food movements such as Slow Food, the traditional reliance on gluten-based ingredients has given way to a new school of thought. As a result, on recent trips to Rome I’ve hunted down some wonderful restaurants, cafes and bars that offer a gluten-free slice of la dolce vita, all located in close proximity to some of the city’s finest cultural highlights.
Situated within the penthouse of Palazzo Manfredi, a 17th-century villa turned boutique five-star hotel directly opposite the Colosseum, Aroma is one such location. Accessed via a tiny old-fashioned lift that glides up, past hushed corridors dotted with gilded mirrors and plush velvet armchairs to the penthouse above, the elegant Michelin-starred restaurant features a specially designed gluten-free menu alongside its standard tasting and a la carte menus. With dishes including warm veal carpaccio with romaine lettuce, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese, and corn rigatoni carbonara pasta perfumed with fine black truffle, the restaurant provides a luxurious gluten-free take on traditional Italian recipes, as well as jaw-dropping views of the ancient Roman amphitheatre.
A 10-minute taxi ride, or a scenic 25-minute amble away, past the crumbling ruins of Trajan’s Forum towards the vibrant fruit and vegetable market at Campo dei Fiori, lies Voglia di Pizza. An unassuming restaurant from the outside, it is renowned for cooking up some of the tastiest gluten-free pizza in Rome. Featuring an extensive menu of classic and more unusual pizza toppings, such as salmon and rocket, the restaurant also has a wide variety of gluten-free antipasto, pasta and meat dishes, as well as coeliac-friendly tiramisu and Italian desserts – perfect for those hungry for an archetypal taste of Italy. Read more at The Telegraph.
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