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Can an Italian City Really Go Vegetarian?

Turin is a city proud of its meaty traditions.

Photography by: David M. Russell
Yes, they'd miss this

Completely cutting meat from our diets or at least moving to a more plant-based diet seems to be catching on for one reason or another. As veganism and vegetarianism grow in cities across the United States, one Italian city with a proud tradition of meat-eating has taken the lead, well sort of.


Under new mayor Chiara Appendino plans have been made to Turin into Italy's first vegetarian city. The move is set to happen over the next five-year plan and will include animal welfare and nutrition educational programs in schools, a city vegetarian map for tourists, and the introduction of a weekly meat-free day.


(COOK: these flavorful Italian vegetarian recipes)


Naturally, environmentalists, vegans, and vegetarians give their total backing to the move but many Torinesi aren't quite so thrilled. Shopping for meat in Turin's Porta Palazzo, an open-air market, is a marker of the city's rich history with food. Local butchers are complaining the plans could put them out of business. One Turin resident expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of food quality in Italian schools, citing that as a more urgent issue than converting to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.


Things might be shifting in a meat-free direction, according to a local newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, about 30 vegan and vegetarian restaurants have popped up in the traditionally meaty city in recent years.According to the Italian Research Institute, Euripses 1% of the Italian population has been identifies as vegan. Much of this change has been lead by Italy's youth and that might be the group that Mayor Appendino, who is 31, hopes to appeal to.


(TRY: these vegan main dish recipes)