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Food budget for budget travellers in Italy

Food budget for budget travellers in Italy

Old Aug 10th, 2009, 07:33 AM
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Food budget for budget travellers in Italy


We are 2 students who are will be travelling to Rome and Florence, the first time, in the summer for 9 days . Food is obviously a very important part of our trip, but we don't want to break the bank because of it. Can anyone recommend a daily food budget (within our student means) for both of these citiess in a way that we can get a true taste of Italian cuisine?

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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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Markets are your solution. You can get local fresh produce without breaking the bank or eating in restaurants. Big savings and fun too. You get the real colour of Italy that way.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 07:58 AM
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A couple of years ago, my daughter and her buddy made extensive use of the kitchens in hostels (they did their homework and made sure there WAS a kitchen).

Kate is a good cook and she would buy ingredients and would make soup for others who would contribute bread, fruit, wine (where permitted). This allowed them to keep their budget to 12 Euro a day and still have the occasional slice of pizza, glass of vino.

Of course, they also had the luxury of meeting up with my husband and me in both Rome and Umbria...we are both foodies and treated them to good meals out courtesy of The Parental Unit.

Without that, I think 12 Euro a day is pretty stingy!
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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You really need to be areful in terms of beverges. Take you own water bottle nad refill from hostle or hostel taps asyou go. soft drinks are very expensive and come in minute cans - way smaler than US size - and while basic table wine is cheap - it's not THAT cheap.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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Good tip re: water bottles, ny! One thing to consider is that there is potable water at many of the fountains as well as drinking fountains in Florence and Rome; just mark down which ones before you leave for the day so you can plan your refills.

Try to eat from the markets and take away counters, including pizza, pasta, and a lot of Middle Eastern options. Turkish kebobs are filling and cheap. Bring your food with you to a scenic spot for a picnic. Stand at the counter when drinking your coffee and eating your cornetti/pastry at breakfast. Sodas are pricey.

Also, in Rome we found two wonderful good valued restaurants. The first one I recall is Alla Rampa, and you could take a salad plate-sized dish and pile it with all sorts of great antipasti for E10. It was a meal in itself. The other one was near the Vatican, and I can't quite recall the name, but it also served plenty for the price. I'm sure there are others.

I would generally suggest E25 to eat, but it does depend on how cheaply you wish to eat.

A hint, and it was appalling to me since we rarely do the fast food thing here in the U.S. -- we took our kids to check out the prices McD's in Florence when we came out of a museum -- it was nearly E6 for each kids' meal!! I found a Turkish kebob place a bit further down, and for a much more filling and healthier meal, we paid E3.50 and were able to split one of them amongst two kiddos!
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 03:10 PM
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I'm going to turn this around-

What is YOUR ideal budget for food each day?
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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I'd endorse Picean's comment above.

A so-called "Happy Meal" at McDonalds in Venice would cost you about 7.50 Euro.
Not happy!
Also, I think that you would find that food is generally more expensive the closer you are to major tourist attractions - Vatican, etc.
Be aware of coffee prices. There is one price to drink it standing at the bar, a higher price if you sit indoors at a table, and an even higher, much, much, higher price if you want to sit outdoors with your coffee. Italians do not do take away coffee very much. You will see it, but nowhere as much as you would in the US or Aus.
In supermarkets you can buy a bottle of drinkable wine for about 4 Euro.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 07:03 PM
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Can you afford 25 euro per day per person? That's not luxurious but would allow you to eat at least sometimes in restaurants. Having a main meal at lunch-time is a trick that helps get you a hot meal in a nice place for less than the dinner time costs would be.
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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 05:21 AM
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Hi hh,

Take whatever you would spend if you were vacationing in similar size places in the US and convert to Euro.

You won't be too far off.

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Old Aug 11th, 2009, 11:18 AM
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Depends what all you'd like to eat, and the tip about water bottles made a lot of sense. If you're on a budget, I do suggest rental apartments as they tend to cost less than hotels and the kitchen + fresh market shopping combo is a real money saver....Also having aperitivo at bars is a good idea since for about €8 you can often get a cocktail + buffet access and it's really filling. Pizza by the slice really keeps a budget down too, and for nice dinners, those can be had in Trastevere or in Firenze near the main station for €35 or less.
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Old Aug 12th, 2009, 06:49 PM
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We were a little shocked at the food prices in Rome even after nearly a year spent on Fodors and other forums. I have some advice: First, consider taking some staples from home if you can pack them -- we took a jar of peanut butter and some granola bars. We also found one place that made "piedini" which are like quesadillas with fresh ingredients and inexpensive. Rent an apt or find hostels with kitchens as you will want to cook your own meals on occasion. Pack picnic lunches with food from grocery stores. If coffee is important to you, try to find places where locals go -- the price difference for a cappuccino was very great depending on where you are. Remember to stand at the counter for your drink rather than sit at a table. Split pasta dishes and pizzas if you can. A final piece of advice is to not wait until you're starving before thinking about where and what to eat. I know this is obvious but several times we were so busy seeing the sights that by the time we realized we were hungry, we plopped down at the nearest spot. Not always the best food, nor at the best price.

Have a great trip!
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