Tips for Vegetarians and Vegans in Cinque Terre

Liguria is a good region of Italy for vegetarians because the local cuisine is based on vegetables.  Being vegan in Italy poses more of a challenge, but it is possible.

Always communicate that you are a vegetarian or vegan!  Here’s what to say in Italian:

Sono vegetarian: non mangio carne ma mangio latticini e uova:  I am vegetarian, I do not eat meat but I eat milk products and eggs.

Sono vegano: non mangio alimenti di origine animale. Non mangio carne, pesce, latticini, uova. (I am vegan, I do not eat food produced from animals.  I do not eat meat, fish, milk products or eggs.)

Some idea on what to eat:

  • Fruits, vegetables, and delicious cheeses can be bought from the markets, including SALUMERIA ALIMENTARI MADONNINA (Pino and Sonia’s mini market) in Vernazza. Try my favorite goat’s cheese (formaggio di capra).
  • Focaccia is a local specialty! Ask if made with lard (“strutto”) or olive oil.
  • Gelato is always a good idea! In Vernazza, try vegan gelato at Gelateria Vernazza and the amazing Almond Milk Granita at Gelateria Porticciolo.  Always ask if sorbet or fruit gelato contains milk.
  • Try delicious Farinata, made with chickpea flour and water and cooked in the oven until golden and crispy. 

Going to a restaurant can be fun and delicious.  Good options to keep in mind:

  • Pasta with Pesto sauce (basil, parmiggiano and pecorino cheeses, pine nuts, garlic, salt)
  • Spaghetti with pomodoro (tomato and basil)
  • Ravioli filled with spinach and cheese with pesto sauce or butter and sage sauce
  • Minestrone (Italian vegetable soup is made without animal stock; if you are vegan, tell them NOT to add pesto)
  • Pizza!
  • Bruschetta (olive oil, tomato and origano)
  • Torta di Riso and Torta di Verdura (savory tarts made with rice or vegetables, will contain eggs and/or cheese)
  • Salads
  • Grilled vegetables

Some of our favorite places have become attentive to food preferences.  Remember to be clear on what you want when you order. 

Our guests receive my “Ruth’s Guide to Cinque Terre” with tips for our favorite restaurants and shops, with ideas for vegetarians and vegans.


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