Back in late April/early May my mom and I traveled to Italy to visit my brother and sister-in-law who live in Bologna. It has taken me way too long to post about this but better late than never
Mom and I on the plane ready for our adventure!
My vegan food experience started with the airplane meal. I requested a “western vegetarian” meal which is as close to vegan as it gets. It was decent. Steamed veggies, squash ravioli, fruit and salad.
Mmmm, airplane food.
This was my first real traveling experience as a vegan and I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to find much to eat in Italy. I packed a lot of Clif bars, nuts and trail mix just in case. Luckily my brother & sister-in-law have some vegan friends so they knew of a few places and they love to cook which made things fairly easy. They were also very sweet to stock up on some vegan products in the freezer & fridge.
Our gracious hosts for the week.
Bologna is BEAUTIFUL, so colorful and filled with history. This is the view from the apartment.
I don’t remember the exact order of meals anymore but I ate a lot of really good food. Fra (SIL), made some really delicious pastas. The first was a bean pasta with penne. I admit the thought of beans and pasta together seemed strange to me at first, but it was SO good. I’m not sure I can recreate this at home and have it taste as good because Italians seem to be magical in the kitchen She also made a broccoli pasta that was just as delicious.
Pinto bean pasta.
I ate A LOT of pizza. There was a place downstairs from their apartment called Pizzeria Lo Squero that we ordered take out from a couple nights. I got cheeseless veggie versions and the sauce and crust were so amazing I didn’t miss the cheese at all.
With pizza this pretty, who needs cheese??
One night we ventured over to a yoga center, Centro Natura, in Bologna where they have a vegan/vegetarian buffet. We got there close to closing time so I think the selection wasn’t as good as it normally is, but I had a huge plate of yummy vegan food including: breaded seitan, mixed veggies and a tofu concoction.
One of the best days in Italy is when we drove to the coast for a family gathering and Fra’s dad made an amazing meal, including a vegan risotto for me. Even though there was a huge language barrier it was so much fun to meet everyone and share delicious food and wine!
While waiting for everyone to arrive we took a short walk to the sea where we enjoyed a glass of prosecco and a gorgeous view of the Adriatic.
During the week we took a day trip to Venice and I was able to get pasta marinara for lunch at Ristorante Pedrocchi. The waiters were very sweet and the pasta was amazing. Again, it was just noodles and sauce, but it was magically delicious.
Venice is breathtaking, it almost doesn’t seem real.
Ponte di Rialto
I was lucky enough to find some dairy free sorbetto in Venice as well at Il Pinguino. I got a mix of lemon and raspberry and it was AMAZING.
Amongst all the delicious food Italy had to offer there was lots and lots (and lots) of wine to be had.
Awesome (the dog) was allowed everywhere, so cool!
Italians are very friendly
Mimosa with fresh squeezed OJ!
Mom had had enough wine at this point
Fra happens to be a piercer and tattoo artist, and since this trip was close on the heals of my one year vegan anniversary she gave me this awesome tattoo to celebrate.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to eat, and eat well, as a vegan in Italy. I cannot wait to go back to visit and explore more cities this beautiful country has to offer.
I do highly recommend packing lots of snacks though, they were certainly needed during long periods between meals.