When visiting an Italian art city like Rome, Venice or Florence, full of museums and sightseeing, planning your time is crucial. You might need a huge breakfast to get plenty of energy and maybe wait until evening for a nice dinner in a restaurant. But what if you get puckish on the way?
Sitting in a restaurant, pizzeria or trattoria can be expensive or steal you an hour or two. So, whether you are on a budget, or want to use all the minutes you have at your disposal, here are few tips on how to save time and money during lunch time.
1. Grab a salad, sandwich and fruit in a supermarket
This is something you can do all around the world. And it is a great way to save money. A small bottle of water generally costs less than 0,50 euros. The same bottle can cost 1 or 2 euros in a bar.
Remember that you cannot sit in the street to eat. Having lunch on the Spanish steps in Rome or in Piazza San Marco can be annoying. The police will immediately arrive to ask you to stand up or go away. Find the local park and have a sit on a public bench.
2. Take a walk in the most central market of the city
Markets can offer any type of food you want to taste. You can also find booths selling and cooking meat of fish, like in Torino or Catania. Plus, can you think of a better way to understand a different country than visiting the central market?
Just pay attention to pick pockets. Markets can be really crowded and you do not want remember them for having your wallet stolen!
3. Grab some street food from a…
Kiosks or one of those little shops selling their goodies from the shop window. In Rome you can have supplì, in Palermo an arancina, in bologna a piadina. Some of these little shop can have a bench in the front or few sits inside. If you are lucky you can have a sit there and have lunch for few euros. See also Ravioleria Sarpi
4. Have some focaccia in a panetteria
Do you know that the Ghetto in Rome has one of the best focaccia of the entire
city, region, country, world? You can have a piece for 2 euros and if you are lucky you can find it still warm from the oven!
You can find simple focaccia, sometimes called pizza bianca, white pizza, focaccia farcita with any type of toppings or focaccia/pizza rossa, with tomato sauce on it.
It is generally served with some paper, so you can easily eat it on the go, or why queuing for a museum.
5. Stop in a cafe
Cafes, bar in Italian, can serve sandwiches, salads, focaccia, toasts and of course drinks. If you eat quickly at the counter, the price will be cheaper than sitting, even if some bars can have the same prices when you take a sit. And generally do not have the “coperto”, the sum you pay to be served.
6. Have an ice cream from a gelateria
Italian ice cream can be seen as a meal. It has milk, fruit, nuts. So once in a while you might have one for lunch, or as a special treat in a sunny day. Gelaterias and bars generally serve it on the go. But you can also take a sit and be served there. Pay attention, the price can be much more higher when you sit down. Especially in the centre of Venice or Portofino!
Grab one on the go and do not forget to ask for “panna montata”, the whipped cream on top. If you have to cheat on your diet… go big or go home.
Or, as another proverb says: when in Rome, do as the Romans. We love big, fat, delicious ice cream in sunny days. Are you with us?
See also Sicilian granita