Allergy-Friendly Study Abroad Guide: Bologna, Italy

Parker studied abroad in Bologna, Italy while managing peanut, tree nut, soy, and corn allergies. She is currently a junior at Washington and Lee University, where she’s majoring in History. You can find her on Spokin @parkersparkss and on Instagram @parkersallergyadventures.

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Tell us about you!

Where are you study are you studying abroad?

Bologna, Italy

How did you choose your study abroad location?

I have previous travel experience in Italy

Had you been out of the country before studying abroad? Do you speak the local language?

Yes, I had been abroad, but I do not speak Italian!

Did you plan anything ahead of time?

Bought allergy cards, researched restaurants in Bologna, and worked with program coordinators to understand how to address servers in restaurants.

Did you have any concerns about traveling with food allergies?

I was concerned about traveling with EpiPens and having enough allergy medication for the semester, but I worked with my allergist to resolve this.

What airline did you fly? How did you handle accommodations and airplane food?

I flew with AirFrance and had a very bad experience. Luckily I had already planned on bringing my own snacks and food, but they were very unaccommodating and even slightly rude when I informed them of my nut allergies. They explained that Air France does not recognize nut allergies and thus they were unwilling to allow me to board early, make an announcement, or refrain from serving nuts on board. On board, I brought MadeGood granola bars, Partake chips, and Thats It bars.

Where did you live and how were meals handled?

I am staying in a dorm/hotel and eat half of the time at their restaurant and buy my own food the other half of the time.

What are your 3 favorite places to eat in Bologna?

Pizzeria Mimi
Pizzeria Mimi provides a great experience! They primarily serve pizza, but have other salad, pasta, and meat options. They have pizzas without dairy and have celiac safe, gluten-free options. The gluten-free pizza has a dedicated prep area and is cooked in a separate tin with dedicated utensils so that there is no cross contamination.

Trattoria Bolognese
My friends and I had a great experience at Trattoria Bolognese. Some of the staff spoke English and they were able to confirm that the menu items were safe. I also have a friend with a dairy allergy who came, and there were plenty of safe options for her. This restaurant definitely has a more authentic feel and I would highly recommend.

I had a great experience at Amido! As soon as I explained my allergies she was able to note which products contain nuts. This is a pasta eatery where you choose your type of pasta, sauce, and toppings, so it is easy to make adjustments. She then pulled out an allergen book to verify what was safe, and almost everything was soy free. I would highly recommend.


Is there any food your study abroad location is known for that you were able to have safely?

Traditional Bolognese Pasta— La Capriata does an INCREDIBLE job with food allergies! One of the first things that they asked us after walking in the door is if we were gluten-free, as they have a separate menu with a number of options. They also label the top 9 allergens in the menu, and the staff is well informed. The Bolognese Pasta was incredible, I would highly recommend!

For anyone with a sweet tooth, were there any special sweet finds like ice cream shops or bakeries?

Cremeria la Vecchia Stalla and Gelateria della Moline.

What other places have you visited so far?

Florence, Rome, Venice, Pisa, Lucca, Verona, Naples, Milan, and Berlin. Some of my favorite places to eat outside of Bologna were: were Amido and Pizzeria Ristorante Al Profeta.

Besides the food, were there any fun experiences or favorite things you did?

San Luca Express to see San Luca, Colosseum, the Vatican, and gondola ride in Venice.

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