Off the back of our recent blog about where to find the best vegan food in Bali, it might seem like we are vegans. This is merely coincidental and geared toward helping our vegan and vegetarian readers who are worried about how to eat vegan while traveling. While we certainly consume all our veggies and fruit, neither of us are vegan. Alex eats fish – not meat – but I eat virtually everything. In Florence, I 100% always have a bistecca Fiorentina, but at home, I eat fish a few times a week, and meat usually no more than 2 – 3 times a week. So, much of our diets are vegan/vegetarian and it is always nice to know where to find the best vegan food in Florence, Italy.
Over the years, Florence has begun to adapt to the increasing demand for plant-based meals as healthy travelers flock from all around the world to visit the birthplace of the Renaissance. Ask most Florentine locals their thoughts about vegans, celiacs, and even vegetarians and their faces will either turn to confusion or laughter. Meat, cheese, pasta, pizza, and in general, bread, are staples of the Tuscan diet and are virtually intertwined with Tuscan identity.
However, vegetables, fruit, Tuscan beans, and many other vegan/vegetarian foods are also staples of the Tuscan diet. Over the years, Florence has evolved significantly. In 2011 when I studied abroad, there were almost 0 vegan options. In 2015 when Alex and I lived in Florence there were a couple of options sparsely spread throughout the city. Over the last 4 years, as we have continued to return to our second home, we have noticed many more restaurants pop up with vegan and vegetarian options and many restaurants have also begun to offer things like bio pasta (organic and whole wheat pasta). Our favorites and some new restaurants that have gained popularity include:
Inherently, pasta and pizza are essentially made of flour, eggs, water, salt, and maybe some tomatoes, basil, and cheese. If you’re a vegan, obviously the eggs and cheese are an issue. However, if you’re simply vegetarian and don’t have a problem with gluten, you can pretty much eat anywhere in Italy. We have never been to a restaurant in Italy that didn’t serve pizza or pasta..ok, maybe once or twice but those were Mexican and sushi restaurants.
Perhaps the best way to eat vegan or vegetarian in Firenze is to venture to one of the city’s famous markets, purchase fresh, local ingredients, and cook a meal for yourself at your Airbnb. Some of the best markets in Florence are:
Most supermarkets in Florence have predominantly organic produce and healthy vegan and vegetarian options. The best options are Esselunga, Conad, Coop, and Carefour.
The best news yet! Sorbetto is ubiquitous through Florence’s most popular gelaterie. You’ll even find some vegan gelato options throughout the city. This might be the best part about vegan food in Florence. Vegetarians, celebrate, because gelato is also vegetarian and Florence is the birthplace of gelato so you’ll find the best gelaterie in the world in Florence.
For more info on Florence, check out our Florence Travel Guide.