The Road Forager: Gluten Free pizza in Florence, Italy!

It’s kinda funny, but it was easier for me to eat “Paleo” and gluten free while in Italy than when I travel in the US or Canada. What gives? Isn’t the Italian “Mediterranean” diet FULL of pasta and carbs, especially gluten containing varieties? Well, yes and no. As you will see in later installments, eating low-carb Paleo is a snap, and damn tasty. This episode is about enjoying some of the uniquely Italian dishes we all love without getting sick from them. We’ve had a few clients who travel to Italy ( or Thailand, or Japan…really wherever) who maintain their food pretty easily. Others hand-wring about how tough it was. Hmmmm. Interestingly, the folks who find it tough on the road also have compliance issues at home, but I’m sure that is only a correlate, not a causative issue…

Now, Italy is interesting in that folks HAVE historically eaten loads of gluten containing pasta. Ya know what? Tons of people there are gluten intolerant! They screen for it at birth, and ANYWHERE you go to eat if you say “Sono Celiaco” they know exactly what to do, and remarkably…I never got sick while traveling there. The US is about 10-15 years behind the curve on this awareness. It’s not that gluten or similar grain intolerance happen less frequently, we are just not aware of them yet. I also find it ironic that an Italian, Alessio Fasano, was one of the first people to draw the connection between gluten intolerance, gut damage and other autoimmune diseases.

Categories: Celiac and Gluten-Free, The Road Forager


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. michele says

    love the road forager series SO much.

    i do have a tiny request though – could you get rid of the split-screen title thingie?

    • says

      this is all done on my iPhone. i’ll see about doing it on iMovie on my laptop, but I’m trying to do this as time-efficient and low-tech as I can.

  2. says

    LMAO when you threw out the “trots” !! Precisely the reaction I have to gluten loaded pizza which sucks considering I love it but not worth the unproductive hours spent catching up on old magazines in the “front office”. Rut turned me on to a gluten free option at a joint 5 mins from the house and it’s LEGIT. Take care and thanks again for leading the charge. -RP

    P.s. With no urging by me, my roommate took your book after I’d finished and he’s now on Week 4 of clean eating and feels amazing. One more for the good guys.

  3. Cornell says

    I am more on the greek side for holidays, but who knows when I am back in Italy?

    Really good to know.

    Thanks and sono celiaco, please!

  4. Chi Town says

    I live in Chicago and there is a restaurant called Marcello’s that serves a gluten free deep dish pizza that is excellent. I suggest it for anyone who has a visit.

  5. says

    Looks nice. Still would not like something with rice and potato flower in it, but one has to be flexible every now and then. Lucky for you that Nicky is gluten free :)

  6. Daniela says

    Robb this may sound like a silly question (and I know you never get tired of those:) but when you are at a restaurant how do you know the cooks are not preparing your gluten-free meal on a contaminated counter? Did you ask the pizzeria if they had separate ovens? Wouldn’t have thought to ask about that…

    • says

      Yea, in general they ARE preparing it on a dirty counter, or using a utensil that is contaminated. That’s my point, they had all those bases covered. This Rarely happens in the US. I am sick 90% of the time I’m on the road. You can graph my health and athletics and see it just tank when I travel. Interestingly, the Italy trip was fine. That is the point of this series to some degree, to let you folks know WHAT to ask. Slowly, it will increase awareness and change how things are done.

  7. says

    Awesome!! Yes, I too laughed at “trots.” Glad you enjoyed it. I *love* this series!! And regarding the split-screen title thingy: just frame a little to the left and you should be find. 😉

  8. Cameron Currie says

    This article has me really excited. I am about to make a move to Italy for the next two years. I was worried sick about how I was going to maintain the lifestyle. Thanks for giving me hope! BTW, just read the book. Really great stuff. Only downside is, I spend so much time on your sight, It was all familiar info. I think you did a great job of getting that message to the uninformed masses, which in turn broadens the market. Keep it up!


  9. Timo says

    Anybody has a recipe for such a pizza dough? I already tried variations with almond flour I found on the net and so far those pizzas tasted like failed almond cookies. Very disappointing.

  10. Greg says

    Robb- When you suspect you get a gluten dose does it give you the wonderful run to the bathroom sensation right after the meal or the next day?

  11. says

    Robb, thank you for this! I am also married to an Italian woman and one of her first questions to me after going Paleo and again after finding out that I’m gluten sensitive was, “So, if we go to Italy, you won’t eat any pizza or pasta?” I think you just saved my marriage. 😉

    Keep up the good work!

  12. says

    I’ve been avoiding the gluten-free alternatives ever since I started testing out paleo, since most of them are still made with grains or starches — aren’t rice and potatoes to be avoided on the paleo diet?

  13. Scott says

    Hi Robb,

    My family is going to Italy (Rome/Florence/Venice) in May, and my wife and two sons are Celiac. We were wondering about cross contamination in Italy because they get cross contaminated in California at “gluten free” spots all the time. But your video gives us hope! Great to hear! Did you name the restaurant you were at? Would love to know the name of it, and any others you might recommend.



  14. Quinn says

    Right now I am sitting in our apt. About two blocks away from the restaurant that you visited. All I can say is thank you thank you thank you! You saved me! We arrived here yesterday and I was getting depressed because all of my family was eating everything at different restaurants and I was left eating icky salads. But no more. This place is absolutely the best pizza I have ever had in my entire life. The crust was chewy and perfect, the toppings were even more perfect and the location of the place as a whole was even better. I will be back again and again in happy spirits. Again, you saved me!

  15. says

    So glad I found this post – traveling to Italy with family later this summer and was a little worried because they’re all non-paleo and looking forward to pasta (and pasta is what you think of when you think Italy), but the more I’m reading the more it sounds like Italy is definitely paleo-friendly. Love the road forager series by the way! :)

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