This piece was written by PETA intern Courtney Lodin.
Planning to travel to Rome but worried about maintaining your plant-based lifestyle? Have no fear! Eating compassionately is a cinch in the city, especially if you have some tips about all the best places to try.
Italians, unlike Americans, don’t typically go to big grocery stores and stock up on food to last throughout the week. Instead, most Italians visit the wonderful fresh farmer’s markets set up throughout cities each morning. Farmer’s markets are great for getting fresh organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and more. In Campo de’ Fiori, a large farmer’s market is open each morning that offers all kinds of fresh fruit and veggies. It also sells pre-mixed fruit cups that make for a great snack. The dried fruit here is excellent, too, and options are plentiful. The market in Piazza San Cosimato in Trastevere is smaller and less diverse, but the fruits and veggies are extremely fresh and delicious.
Aperitivo is a rewarding part of Italian culture for foodies and bargain hunters alike. The American version is what we know as “happy hour,” but this is much better. During aperitivo, you pay for just one drink and have unlimited access to tasty buffets. Traditionally and most commonly, aperitivos will have tons of vegetarian (and usually vegan) options. If you’re looking to try a bunch of tasty Italian dishes and loosen up with a cocktail, all for the price of a single drink, aperitivo is for you. The super-trendy bar 8 millimetri has a great vegetarian aperitivo spread, along with a lively atmosphere. You can also find vegan aperitivo at La Capra Campa bistro and Sofa Wine Bar.
Breakfast isn’t a big thing in Italy. It’s usually just coffee and a cornetto (“croissant” as the French say), and then the residents are off to start their day. If you want to grab a quick vegan pastry and un caffè con latte di soia (coffee with soy milk), stop by Caffè Trastevere. Finding tasty, traditional vegan options on the menu at Italian restaurants is never a problem. Italians love their pizza and pasta—and, of course, their wine—more than anything. Start off with some bruschetta, a refreshing vegan appetizer. If you like a little spice in your life, try the delicious traditional pasta dish penne all’arrabbiata, which features a sauce infused with spicy peppers. You can never go wrong with pizza or pasta with a traditional marinara and veggies, and vegan offerings such as the hazelnut and mushroom gnocchi at La Capra Campa Bistrot are wonderful.
The sweet staple of Italian culture—Italy loves gelato, and rightly so. You can easily find great vegan gelato around the city at places such as Blue Ice, Il Gelatone, and Gelateria Tropical Ice (which even has a vegan whipped cream topping).
Now you have all the tools to enjoy a delicious plant-based Italian experience. For more travel tips, check out the Veganagogo app to help you “speak vegan” in every language. TripAdvisor’s website offers a helpful social platform for travelers, packed with posts to assist you with planning the perfect trip. For animal-friendly advice, be sure to follow PETA!
And wherever you are, HappyCow’s database of vegan-friendly restaurants will help you find animal-friendly fare.