GF in Italy

2 Oct

View from Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy

This past summer, we went on a family trip to Italy, London and then my husband and I continued on to Paris. This post will share some restaurant recommendations for Italy, the most GF leg of the trip. As a note, I had printed out travel cards in both Italian and French to prepare for this trip, but found that I rarely had to use them!

The first unexpected GF surprise occurred on our flight to Italy. While flying British Airways, I was served a really tasty gluten-free pound cake. This thing was fantastic. On the packaging, there wasn’t a brand name, but it gave an email contact which was: handmadepastries@gmail.com. I haven’t had a chance to get in touch with them, but if pound cake is/was your thing, you must get a hold of this item.

Once we arrived in Italy, we made our way to the spectacular Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy. We decided to have dinner at the hotel for the first night as it came highly recommended and was convenient after a day of travel. The meal started out great. They served me GF bread and seemed on top of everything. Later in the meal, however, we were all served an item that they assured me was GF. After taking a bite, I knew it tasted off. It was at that moment that the server explained to another person at the table that the dish was soaked in beer. This was a frustrating way to start the trip, but after that, there were no more issues.

After a great breakfast the next day of GF bread, fruit and eggs, we headed to Mt. Vesuvius where we climbed to the top. After descending, our driver for the day brought us to a fantastic lunch spot called Primo Amore. I had trouble finding it online, but if you are near Pompeii, speak to a local and find out where this place is. I know that it was not right near Pompeii, but maybe a half hour away. They had fresh GF rolls that they served my brother and I (One of my two brothers also has Celiac). They also had a GF beer I had never had, as well as pasta and gnocchi for us!

After lunch, we explore Pompeii with a guide which was an unbelievable experience. To see this whole city intact was mindblowing. After we were done, we headed back to the hotel and decided to try a local place for dinner. After walking through the incredibly charming town of Ravello, we went to a restaurant called The Garden. There, my brother and I had unbelievable GF pasta dishes. Mine had sun dried tomatoes that were beyond amazing. The tomatoes from this region alone are worth the trip.

Hotel Caruso Pool

The next day, we had the hotel breakfast again and then got some pool time in. This pool pretty ridiculous. It had an infinity edge with views of the mountains, Amalfi Coast and Tyrrhenian Sea. For lunch, one of my brothers joined my husband and I in walking around Ravello to find something to eat. We stopped to eat at La Vecchia Cantina. I had the seabass that was incredibly tasty. My brother was able to order a pasta dish that the restaurant made with rice rather than the non-GF pasta. They knew exactly what we meant when we said, “senza glutine”.

View from Villa Rufolo

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around and meeting up with my parents to look at Villa Rufolo. This was an old home of a wealthy resident from many years ago. The views were insane. The architecture was also incredible… very rustic and beautiful. We then rushed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. For dinner, we went to Don Alfonso which was one of those above and beyond meals. We had a private room for the 7 of us. When we arrived, they gave us a tour of their wine cellar which dates back to 6th century BC. The meal was fantastic. It was a LONG meal… about 4 1/2 hours… but it was delicious. In those hours, they served my brother and I GF breadsticks and 4 different kinds of gluten-free breads. Each of them were great. This place comes highly recommended.

The next morning, my husband and I had fruit while overlooking the pool. I then had a pre-birthday massage which was nice. For dinner, we walked to a place in Ravello called Cumpa Cosimo. I had tasty GF pasta with sausage. My mom, dad and husband all had the penne arrabiata which they finished immediately. The owner noticed, and returned with another huge portion for them to share. We loved this place. It was casual and delicious. After dinner, we went to the Ravello Music Festival. We saw the Berlin Philharmonic Sextet Virtuoso at the Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium. It was nice to be able to take advantage of the local music festival while we were there.

View of Positano from Boat

Our last full day in Italy happened to be my birthday. We chartered a boat to bring us to the island of Capri and along the Amalfi Coast. After walking around Capri for a bit, we got back on the boat to reach our lunch destination in Nerano. The restaurant was called Conca del Sogno. For lunch, I had GF pasta (big surprise there!). The waitress also brought out tons of items for the table to share including fresh cheese, cherry tomatoes with rocket, marinated tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant, salmon and anchovies. After a long day on the water, we returned to the hotel to relax until dinner. I wanted to try another local restaurant for my birthday, so we went to Salvatore’s in Ravello. I started with the caprese and then had fish. This restaurant was ok. If we went back, we would probably not return just because there are places that were so much better. After dinner, we went back to the hotel piano bar to have a drink. Upon asking them if any of the little desserts they brought out were GF, the waiter left and came back with a whole plate of little GF goodies. When my mom asked for a candle, they realized it was my birthday and had the pianist play “Happy Birthday” as I blew out my candle!

GF goodies at the Hotel Caruso piano bar

Ravello, Italy was a wonderful place to visit, and was so easy to eat gluten-free. I can’t wait to return there!

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2 Responses to “GF in Italy”

  1. t March 29, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    thanks for this great post! I’m hoping to travel to the Amalfi region this year but had never found any recommendations for eating GF in the area!

    • glutenfreeinsb March 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      It was so easy to eat GF there. You will love it!

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