Last week we kicked off a month-long series of Saving €uros in Italy with the most basic of all needs – Getting Here. Today, we are going to tackle what many people consider to be the most important element once you are here … food!
Eating in Italy is as much a part of the Italian experience as seeing the ruins in Rome, meeting David in Florence and cruising the canals in Venice. But you don’t have to break the bank to do it.
Here are five tips for saving money when eating in Italy.
1. Keep the Breakfast in Bed and Breakfast
In most Italian hotels and B&Bs, breakfast is included in the price of your room. To maximize your food-budget savings, wake up early enough to meet their breakfast hours or ask if they can leave breakfast items out for you.
If breakfast isn’t included in your hotel price, then go to the local bar and enjoy a cornetto and caffe’ with the locals. Standing at the bar as opposed to sitting at a table is less expensive. You can also save several euros per gelato cone by ordering it at the bar, as opposed to sitting down.
2. Market Lunch (or dinner)
You know all about those famous Italian outdoor markets … so why not use them? Go to the local market or grocery store and purchase picnic items, such as fresh cheese, olives, bread and fruit and have a picnic lunch at a fraction of the cost you’d pay at a restaurant.
Some B&Bs-like ours, for example, let guests use the refrigerator to store food. If you aren’t sure, ask!
3. Pizza by the Slice
Many bars sell pizza by the slice, focaccia and bite-sized snacks (like the ones pictured above), called rustici. Look for signs for “Pizza al Taglio,” “Tavola Calda,” or “Rosticceria” and you can fill up on pizza and homemade snacks for as low as €2.00 per person.
4. Bypass the View
Yes, it is beautiful and romantic to see the Roman Colosseum as you sip wine and dine with your sweetie … but it won’t be cheap. For a considerably less expensive-and likely tastier-option, get away from the crowds-and the main attractions.
5. Ditch the (Tourist) Menu
Tourist menus are for, well … tourists. But not travel-savvy tourists like you. While it might look like a good deal, servings might be smaller and you won’t get the freshest food of the day. You’ll be better off saving your euros for a restaurant that doesn’t cater to vacationers.
What other tips do you have for saving money when eating in Italy?
Until next time … Buon Viaggio!
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