Eating on a budget in Italy

Today, there are many shops in Italy that offer pizza and focaccia by the slice: a great way to save on one of your daily meals while traveling there.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Italian culture is the food. The popularity of Italian cuisine has reached virtually every corner of the world, and it’s one part of the travel experience that you do not want to miss.

Eating on a budget isn’t that hard. You can still have some splurge days if you observe some budget practices most of the time.

Starting with breakfast, or colazione, try to take advantage of the breakfast wherever you’re staying. If that is not an option (as in most affittacamere), go to the local bar and take your cappuccino and cornetto right at the banco. Now, we mentioned this in our caffe’ segment, but don’t forget that it applies to food as well. You might even end of having a chat with the barista!

At lunch, there are so many d’asporto (take away) options. Many bars also sell panini, same rule as above applies here. But one of the best-kept secrets is that in most salumerie (and in the “deli” section of the grocery stores), they will make a panino for you on the spot. They don’t have condiments and veggies, but who needs lettuce with a mortadella and mozzarella sandwich?

A simple crusty baguette or rosette stuffed with salame or prosciutto crudo is one of life’s most delicious simple pleasures.

They’ll wrap it up for you and the cost is the same as if you would have bought those items and made the sandwich yourself. You probably don’t have a kitchenette in your room, so there’s no need to worry about grocery storage. At the grocery store or salumeria, you can get a large bottle of water for what you would have paid for a small one at the bar. (You might even find a nice vino paesano on the shelf for a pittance of 2 euro!)

If you want a more elaborate lunch, there are always by-the-slice options in almost every city, or some local variation. You might find calzoni in the south or savory foccacia or pesto and potato pie in Liguria — the regional variations are endless! It’s almost impossible to become culinarily bored in Italia, even on a budget.

And with all of the money that you saved at breakfast and lunch, you can afford a little splurge at dinner!

One response

  1. Don’t forget the aperitif! Buy a glass of wine and get a delicious array of finger foods that can be more than enough to forgo dinner. All bars usually offer this and in Milano, this practice is taken very serious with giant spreads and buffets. Fantastic.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:57 am

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