Eating on the Cheap in Italy
While we were in Italy we had some really spectacular food. We had been told (and wrongly so) that the food was very expensive in Italy. We found the opposite to be true. Maybe we just didn’t visit the high priced eateries, I’m not sure. We had lovely food and huge portions everywhere we went. We had pizza twice (once in Rome the day we arrived and once in Naples the home of the original pizza). We ate pasta twice, American food twice, an Irish pub once, ate at two small cafe’s twice and one sandwich shop. We had such great food.
So how did we save money eating on the cheap in Italy?
Well, we shared our lunch/dinner. Their portions were so huge (just like here in America) that we would get one meal and split it. Usually me and my mom split the meal. My son is 17 and he ate all of his meal all by himself. You know those teens have empty legs. My mom and I were never hungry and we always left full and happy. We did this at the two places we had pasta and the Irish pub. Obviously the pizza was eat what you want. On the pizzas they were superb and very inexpensive. We paid $20 euro for 2 large pizzas and water. My son ordered his pizza with olives. But the olives weren’t pitted and they were whole. Yuck. So beware the olives over there. Everywhere we went we would have water to drink. The Italians make it easy to drink water all over their city. They have fountains everywhere that they let you fill your water bottles up. We took our water bottles with us and filled them through out the day. So we were never too thirsty. Oh wh am I kidding we were so dehydrated from walking 8-10 miles a day. ha ha. All the restaurants asked us each and every time if we wanted gas after we placed our orders. The first time they asked us we were all surprised and looking at them like uh no. Then we finally figured out they were asking us if we wanted carbonated water. Yuck. No thanks. I’m used to non carbonated water please.
We ate at a sandwich stand by the Vatican. It was a small stand with a huge sandwich and really good, kind of like a panini. We ate 2 sandwiches (mom and I split one and the teenager finished ours and his) and got a drink for about $12 euro for all. We stayed at a hotel that served us breakfast for $10 euro a day per person. That was a bargain of a meal. We ate a big breakfast every day. They served lunchmeat, cheese, bread, fruit, pastries, hard boiled eggs, toast, juice, coffee, milk, and cereal. We would fill up at breakfast about 8am. Then we would walk all over Rome and about 2-3 pm we’d find lunch. We would be so happy to sit and eat. Lunch usually took us an hour because we wanted to just sit and crash. You have to be careful where you go though. We sat at one place that charged you for bread, water, and to sit there. Before they brought any of that (this place was around the Vatican..so tourist trap for sure) we got up and left here and went to the sandwich stand. I’m not paying for your so called ambience. That’s crazy. They tend to do this in the touristy areas. Around our hotel we didn’t find this to be true. This was close to the museums and the Vatican.
If you go to Italy you must have gelato. I think we had it 3 or 4 times in 7 days. It was amazing. I got chocolate each and every time. I was in love. My son towards the end of the trip kept saying, “it’s the last day, last trip, last meal, etc shouldn’t we get gelato?” Haha. It was totally his trip so I may have indulged him a time or two.
Here’s our shame. We ate at McDonald’s twice. It was across from the subway station and down from our hotel. Two nights when we were so exhausted from walking we grabbed dinner and took it to the room. We ordered by number (like you do in America) and the cashier looked at me like I was crazy. Made a huge effort to look at the board and see what we ordered before ringing it up. Uh ok, I get it I’m American and I order by numbers isn’t that what the numbers on the board are for? Just sayin!