With the number of vegetarians in the world increasing, to the tune of 10 percent per year – due to the realization that lifestyle is more beneficial in sustaining health, longevity and prevention of disease, it comes as no surprise that in most parts of the world, finding a good vegetarian eatery is not as challenging as one might think.
Truth be told, Italians have been partial to vegetables, breads and pasta for centuries, especially in the impoverished areas where meat was not as readily available because of cost or convenience. So you won’t be startled to learn that when I visited Tuscany, and sat at a meal table asking “Sono vegetariana,” I got nods and smiles, and nobody made a face. “Non c’è problema” was the response. (no problem!)
My father and grandmother came over the ‘big drink’ to the U.S. in 1921 in search of a better life – and since money was tight, my family ate a lot of pasta e fagiolio (pasta and beans), and a dish my family called poparelle, made with baked, crusted cornbread (polenta) and sautéed greens which was popular in Abruzzo …and many other vegetarian dishes, including every possible way imaginable to smother and enhance polenta.
Happily this truth remains today – and finding a great meal that has nothing but ‘good fresh stuff’ is easy to find and promises a treat to any palate, after all, the Italians are known for their extraordinary food. Who would turn down a steaming plate of penne pasta smothered in marinara sauce?
The more populated areas seem to be offering more and more ‘exclusive’ vegetarian restaurants, and Tuscany is definitely one of them.
Tuscany – with it’s amazing wineries, world-renowned art museums and rolling hills that lead to beautiful beaches and coves, offers more than a place steeped in history, and beauty. It offers meals exclusively tailored to those of us who refrain from flesh.
It’s most popular vegetarian restaurants are well known and highly established. Finding them should be as easy as asking a hotel concierge or taxi driver, and from the reviews, they are worth seeking.
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