Visit Italy's First Vegetarian City

Vegan pizza is what's for dinner

Former Winter Olympic host Turin, home to about 2 million people and 30 restaurants that serve vegetarian or vegan fare, wants to be Italy's first "vegetarian city," and one of the first in the world, the Guardian reports.

There are pizza shops that top their crusts with vegan mozzarella, restaurants where pesto is made without cheese and caf├ęs frothing the Italian morning ritual of a cappuccino with soy milk instead of cow's milk. Vegetarian and vegan standbys like tofu also pop up on menus, which can be found on the city's "veg map" for tourists, and there are plans for a weekly meat-free day and educational programs about animal welfare to be taught in schools.

But the idea isn't to outlaw meat. Stefania Giannuzzi, Turin's deputy mayor, explains, "It isn't about forcing people to eat a certain way and we don't want to clash with the meat industry. Instead, it's about raising awareness and showing people that there is an alternative if they are interested. The vegan choice is only part of the plan to make our city more sustainable and promote environmental issues."

Still, not everyone is happy with the initiative. The city's butchers, meat producers and enthusiastic carnivores hosted a barbecue this past spring in protest.