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Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

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Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

Thought to share with you for your Italy trip planning (all in US dollars):

Eat a Light Breakfast

If you're used to big breakfasts at home, you'll probably need to be a little flexible in Italy. This is because a typical Italian breakfast involves just a hot coffee drink of some sort (usually either espresso or a latte) and a pastry, a meal that shouldn't cost more than $4 or $5. Just be sure that when you do eat breakfast, you do so standing up at the counter as most Italians do. Otherwise, if you sit down, the price of your breakfast will double or even triple with table service. Pick up some fruit or other healthy snacks from local food shops or markets to tide you over until lunch.

Pack a Picnic for Lunch

Lunch in Italy is also usually a simple and inexpensive affair, even if you go out to a restaurant. For a mid-range restaurant meal, you shouldn't expect to pay more than $15 or $20. And if you're eating at a deli or sandwich shop, the cost of your lunch isn't likely to exceed $10. Outdoor markets are your best bet for the cheapest meal. Keep in mind that low food prices don't indicate low quality in Italy. Unlike in some other countries, cheap options like street food, panini sandwiches and fresh market meals are often the most delicious.

Indulge in a Three-Course Dinner

No matter what type of restaurant you choose for dinner, expect a three-course meal to last for hours and to cost anywhere from $20 to $50 per person, depending on how fancy the establishment is. Keep in mind that the tip is generally included in restaurants; if it's not, 10 percent is plenty.

If You're Eating on a Budget

Just because you're backpacking on a budget doesn't mean you have to skimp on eating delicious food. You are in Italy, after all. Follow a few simple tips to keep from spending too much: First, pack picnics when and where possible. Food in local grocery stores and markets is cheap and fresh; plus you'll have the option of sampling lots of different local specialties. Skip the dessert menu at dinner and go for local gelato instead; a cup usually costs around $2 or $3. Finally, if you're drinking alcohol, opt for the house wine instead of picking a random bottle from the wine list. House wine in Italy typically costs only around $10 or $15, depending on the quantity, and it's usually a very tasty option.

Milan And Venice: Add $5-$10 to your daily food budget, they are the most expensive cities in Italy, in my experience.

Other: Your largest part of budget will go to gas if you rent a car. Traveling with train is very affordable and super nice and comfortable. Also book ahead attraction you'd like to visit, if you don’t want to spend 2-3 hours in the line.

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CA
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1. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

Good tip about the house wine. Even with expensive dinners that's what we do.

Brussels, Belgium
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2. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

"usually either espresso or a latte"

This is clearly aimed at Americans, so I presume you are writing in "American", but as a friend of mine just made exactly this mistake in a local Italian bar, please remember that if you want a milky coffee, in Italy you need to ask for either "latte macchiato" or "caffè latte": if you ask for a "latte", don't be surprised to receive a glass of milk !

"Pack a Picnic for Lunch"

If people do this, they must be considerate as to where they eat it. Locals really don't like tourists squatting on church steps etc. to eat their picnics and in Venice, this is actually banned in certain spots (italyheaven.co.uk/veneto/venice/behave.html). And I have even seen tourists try to sit down at terrace café tables to eat their own food or take-away snacks!

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Silver Spring...
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3. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

Did your friend end up with a glass of milk or were they able to straighten it out after some confusion?

Eagle River, Alaska
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4. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

I will kindly disagree on always drinking the house wine. First, we never pick a random bottle from the list. We ask the server's advice on what wine will go with the food we have ordered. Second, and maybe this should be first for Americans - wine in Italy is not marked up 100 % so a 20 euro bottle of wine is a 20 euro bottle of wine, meaning you can drink some VERY nice wines at quite reasonable prices. Also, you do not need to finish the bottle. You are allowed to take it with you, although Italians seem to have no problem with leaving partially full wine bottles on the table.

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5. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

Kids have milk for breakfast in bars in the morning, it's not that strange.

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6. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

Very much aimed at Americans since the prices are not in the currency of Italy!

And if you're eating on a budget and don't just want a cold picnic, look out for Tavola Calda

"Literally a ‘hot table’, a tavola calda serves mostly pre-made food that you queue for, usually with a tray, cafeteria style. It isn’t, however, anything like the cafeteria that most English-speaking nations know, full of drying casseroles and deep-fried food. The tavola calda is usually a showcase for the local foods, some of which are reheated to order (rarely in microwaves), along with pizza a taglio, carni arrosti (roasted meats) and insalata (salads). Most are open all day from about 11am

From Lonely Planet https:/…40625c8c-8a11-5710-a052-1479d277d0af.

Edited: 12 May 2018, 05:04
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New Windsor
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7. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

I second the suggestion for asking for house wine. Especially in places frequented by locals rather than tourists. Tourist places are less reliable since the majority of visitors are there for 1 week or less and owners are not concerned for repeat customers as they are when the majority of customers are going to be local, repeat customers. Many owners rely on the quality of their local wine typically bought by the barrel. I have had excellent, inexpensive house wines on many occasions and ask for it all of the time.

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8. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

Thank you for the additional details! That is absolutly correct - always respect the places you visit and be considerate of others. I am on ”off-the-beaten-path” type of tourist, didn’t cross my mind someone will sit around tourist places or in a restaurant area for picknick :-) Good Points!

Edited: 13 May 2018, 13:52
Sudbury...
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9. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

<<Other: Your largest part of budget will go to gas if you rent a car. Traveling with train is very affordable and super nice and comfortable>>

This is very questionable. Traveling with a car gives you flexibility to visit places that actually are “off-the-beaten-path”. Have you driven in Italy, Gabriela?

We rarely order house wine for dinner because good wine is one of many reasons why we travel to Italy so often. But on many occasions, we enjoyed house wine with lunch.

Edited: 13 May 2018, 14:01
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10. Re: Cost of meals and a couple tips for Italy trip

Dear Noraatc, I am Swedish but living in US currently. I did visit this beautiful country many times and drove in Italy and is gorgeous. But still prefer trains and busses, get off in unexpected places and experience the local life. Have been using bicycle and arranged tours as well. I think is a personal preference and depends how much you would like to cover. I chose a region per vacation occasion.

Regarding wine, I understand the choice of “recommended” but I’ve not had a bad experience with house wines. Also helped saving to be able to experience some excellent wines and visit some fantastic wineries. However my recommendations have been for people with less means but high desire to travel and experience the beautiful Italy. However it doesn’t mean there are not other options.

Thank you for sharing of your experience and advice, more diversity gives better picture!

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