Cost of food in Italy

Jan 6th, 2003, 09:30 AM
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Cost of food in Italy

Is is realistic of me to think that my husband and I can keep our food budget while in Venice, Florence and Rome to around $100.00 per day? We will be getting a free breakfast and we don't normally do the fancy restaurants. Although we do like to go fancy a few times.
Also, we're not much for wine at dinner.
Jan 6th, 2003, 09:40 AM
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At $100.00 a day you can eat like kings...I can eat on $20 a day in Italy by shopping in the markets and having bread, salami, fruit, and veggies..These little picnics are mobile and delicious.
Jan 6th, 2003, 09:43 AM
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The cost is comparable to what it would cost to eat out every meal in the U.S. Pizza is cheap. Veal and fine wine is costly. If you avoid eating right by tourist sites or in your hotel you will be well within budget.
Jan 6th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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Yes, you should be able to get by on $100/day. Lunches are fairly inexpensive at least in Rome; dinners can be too if you shop around a bit. a lot of dinners come with 3 courses and a carafe of wine. we thought the food was very reasonable overall.
Jan 6th, 2003, 10:16 AM
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Hmm.. We didn't find this to be our experience at all. We just came back from Italy and spent $150+ a day on food and we ate breakfast, included in the room rate, at our hotels. In our experience, multi course dinners averaged $100 - 160 with wine. And in nicer resturants you are expected to order multi courses. Lunch was usually $20 -30. I found food prices comparable to major US cities.
Jan 6th, 2003, 10:24 AM
Eye Spy
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Sharon, you think like I do. I know lots of Fodorites on these threads love to spend their time and money in restaurants when they are overseas but not I. I prefer to keep things simple when it comes to meals. Breakfast is included in the room rate so you might as well eat it, although I'd rather pay less for the room -- I can get something at the local caffe down the block with the other Italians. You are going to be fine. I like to go to the food shops and prepared food windows in the supermarkets and make myself a picnic lunch (weather permitting) and sit somewhere with my feet dangling over a canal as the gondolas float by silently or sitting on a bench (if you can find one) in a Venetian campo. You could also purchase some food items and bring them to the hotel and enjoy them while you're relaxing in your room (tip: I always bring some plastic cutlery with me in my luggage for this very reason because it's light and can be thrown out). I do go to restaurants but not every night; keeping it rather simple and trying to sample the local cuisine. I just don't like spending 2 hours at table when I could be walking around the city and taking nightime pictures. But that's just me. You and your husband will be fine!
Jan 6th, 2003, 10:24 AM
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I spend $50 a day on lodging. $25 a day on food and $25 a day on transportation and museums. I have done this in Europe 3 times and I have always stay in apartments and have eaten rather well. We rent cars sometimes and sometimes take the train. I am on a budget but that hasnt stopped me from completing loving Venice, Rome, Florence,the Amalfi, Paris, Amsterdam, and the south of France.
Jan 6th, 2003, 10:33 AM
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I think a $100 budget will be a good one. You'd only have trouble drinking nicer wines (house wine is cheap) or going to fancy places every night. Throw in a few picnic lunches (food from the market can be great, with bread, cheese, olives, etc.) and you'll come in under-budget. Avoiding tourist places at busy sites also saves you money (and besides, they usually aren't any good).
Jan 6th, 2003, 10:40 AM
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You should have no problem. For lunch, have paninis (sp?) in one of the small food shops (with a drink it'll be well under $20 for the two of you) and you'll have plenty of that $100 for dinner, especially since you don't drink.
Mark, we never felt obligated to order multi courses in better restaurants.
Jan 6th, 2003, 12:20 PM
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In Italy a lot of bars have Tavola Caldas (just look for that sign at a bar) at lunch (meat ball sandwichs or veal cutlet sanwiches etc - very tasty and filling and cheap).
Jan 6th, 2003, 12:48 PM
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You last line" w'ere not much for wine at dinner" tells me you have got to an american. Does not sound like you do not drink at all,.so it usually one of a couple of reasons.
You tend to drink as a social thing, a glass of wine at a party, rather as part of your diet with food as Europeans do.
You freak at the ridiculous prices of wine in restaurants in the US so you pass for icetea or water with lemon and save 30$.
Anyway if you do drink I would say take the opportunity to try wines with food especially in Italy. Italian wines are the most food friendly in the world.
Not as heavy and high in alcohol like California. The best part is the price of wine in Italy at restaurants. They are so amazingly low. They are basically the same as the local wineshops prices. As far as your budget, I was in the 3 cities you are visiting last November and I drank wine every dinner and about half the lunches and we only averaged about $100 a day.
Only Venice is really as expensive as Major US cities, and even there the wine is still reasonable, Florence and Rome have lots of Trattoria that you can get a 3 course tourist menu with house wine or water for $13 to $15 person out the door ( tax and service charge included ).So on the days you only spend $50 you are banking $50 for another day to hit the better restautants, of which there are many here on Fodor's Rant and Raves. If you like red wines you have got to try the 1997 Brunellos, many enotecas have reasonable flights of 4 wines to give you a chance to get more for your buck. Montalcino is a great place to enjoy food and wine in
casual setting overlooking some of the best scenery in the world. Italy is the best place in the world to learn about great food and wine experiences and not break the bank. But the only problem is once you are hooked and when you return to the US, to continue the experience you must cook at home or you go broke.
Mario Bataglia on the food network will give you all info you need for Italian cooking and at the same time make you want to return to all the other regions of Italy you missed this time.
Whine or no whine have a great time.
My wifes favorite whine is when are we going back to Italy.
Jan 6th, 2003, 01:09 PM
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Thanks to all who replied. Yes my husband and I do enjoy shopping at local markets and doing the picnic thing. What better place to do it than in Italy. We also like to go to small local restaruants to get a feel for the copuntry. We try never to go to American Chain Restaurants, unless I want a T-Shirt. As for not being much into wine, part of the reason is that we do not care for Red Wine and have felt in some countries (Norway) that Red was the only way to go. But when in Rome .......
Jan 6th, 2003, 02:38 PM
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If you get the Food Network cable channel, look for Rachel Ray's "$40 a Day" show. Several segments are shot in Italy, and it looks to me as though she's eating pretty well on that budget.

On our trips to Italy we have averaged less than $40 a day, with picnics some days, light suppers some nights, and the occasional splurge.
Jan 7th, 2003, 05:39 AM
Alice Twain
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So, let's write down some figures. as you said the breakfast is not a problem. For lunch I suggest you to stick on a fast panino from some bar or, if you can find any, a self-service resturant ("Ciao" or "Brek"). In Milano the fist costs you less than 5 euro per person (a panino, a glass of water or another drink and a coffee). In the latter you might eat a dish of pasta and a small bowl of salad with a small bottle of water or a glass of wine with some 10 euro. At dinner you should have a wider choice of places where to eat. A pizza with white wine or beer will cost you some 15 euro per person. In a regular restaurant, having a first course of pasta, rice or soup, a main course of meat with vegetables and a desert the price might average 20-30 euro per person in medium level restaurants. At least this happens in milano, which is known for haing very costly restaurants. The prices should be more or less the same in Florence, as long as you eat off the main touristy areas, be highier in Venice and be lower in Rome. Also, remember that usually eating fish will cost you a good 25% more than eating meat. If you are costwise, keep off touristy areas, do some self-catering for lunch (a very good place where to buy handheld food, mainly pizza and focaccia, for little money are bakeries) and do not eat full meals (antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno, dolce are not a must, restaurants have no problem in serving "partial" meals, let's say an antipasto and a primo or a primo and a contorno, on the other hand most italians just eat that way at the restaurant!) you should be able to spend far less than 100 euro for your food needs.
Jan 7th, 2003, 05:46 AM
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I second the suggestion about viewing Rachael Ray's $40 a day meals in Italy. I find that in Italy it is very possible to eat well for a lot less than you spend in France, for example.
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