Travel Tip Tuesday: Saving €uros in Italy Series, Cheap Eats

Travel Tip Tuesday

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.

Tasty Pastries
photo credit: lu_lu

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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8 Responses
  1. We always self cater on our holidays in Italy, or anywhere else.

    We do lots of shopping, so always have breakfast before we go out, we do have coffee stops though when we are out,, depending on what we are doing, it is either Lunch out, dinner in, or the other way round… our fridge is always full of goodies, so never hungry, we buy crackers, cheeses , olives , salamis, lovely tomatoes, etc.

    Dang, Anne. You are making me hungry!

    .-= anne´s last blog ..The Saxe-Breteuil Market ….. =-.

  2. Good point Ragazza. I know in Torino, they’re supposed to have quite the tradition of great aperitivi in the late afternoon hours. Somehow Marco and I are never downtown indulging at that time of day though. A goal for our next visit so I can report properly!!! : )

    Oh you HAVE to do apertivi! I *love* them … it is one of my favorite Italian customs!

    .-= Kim B.´s last blog ..A Time of Adjustment, A Time of Limbo =-.

  3. While I think we had special circumstances at our B&B as we were allowed to cook, it did save us a ton of money in the long run, plus we were able to participate in the market culture in a hands-on way.

    We used to allow people to cook, but we had too many mornings of waking up to a dirty kitchen … it just wasn’t fair to the other guests. We do let people store things, though, which I hope they still find useful.

    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..Homemade pizza night in New York. =-.

  4. When we used to travel here I always packed a wine opener, a small knife, a dish towel per person, plastic fork or spoons and a very ugly resealable plastic glass type for left over wine. The dish towel can be a serving dish, cutting board, napkin or food storage wrap. Big grocery stores have nice inexpensive places to eat at and don’t forget the cafe in IKEA.

    Thanks for reminding everyone to carry some of these things with them! It is a great idea.

    .-= Martha´s last blog ..Studentesca =-.

  5. Martha’s tip reminds me of the fact that I always carry a wine bottle opener with me *just in case* You just never know! And it comes in handy for those days when you feel like having lunch outdoors by shopping in the markets.

    One of my favorite European meal memories is stopping at an outdoor market in Paris for tomatoes, cheese and a bakery for bread, and eating it all up while sitting along the Seine river. Sigh…. 🙂 🙂

    Wow, Tina that is exactly what we used to do-often!-when we lived in Paris … I double your *sigh!*

    .-= Tina´s last blog ..4 Things I Look Forward to in Italy =-.

  6. You are all breaking my heart. Pizza by the slice, cornetti from cellophane, sandwiches and factory produced canapes…!!!!
    If I am going to eat bread and cheese there better be a really attractive “thou”.

    Sorry to let you down, Judith! Maybe I should put a disclaimer in there saying they should eat out whenever they can afford to! But cornetti from the package-NEVER! Blah! I guess I was assuming the B&Bs would have fresh cornetti … my bad! 🙂

    .-= Judith in Umbria´s last blog ..A little experiment in antipasto shape =-.

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