Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Italy on a Budget

This is first in a week of posts about Italy (then I'll shut up about it I promise!) If you want to know where not to miss in Italy, how to say 'does this come in black?' in Italian and what's in this month's issue of Italian Vogue come back again soon!

Have a cappuccino in a piazza in Rome
Food and Drink

Food in Italy is expensive, but it is definitely possible to eat out on a budget if you're careful.

.There are loads of pizza by the slice fast-food places, where you can generally get a pretty decent wedge of pizza for €2-3.

.It sounds pretty obvious but the further away from the big tourist spots the cheaper it's going to be. Moving just a few streets away from the Colosseum in Rome took €1 off the price of a coffee at least.

.If you're an espresso fan Italy is naturally the place to be! It's generally several euros cheaper than a cappuccino or caffe latte (Don't order just a latte or you'll get a cup of milk!) Or else get your caffeine fix at McDonald's. I know, I know, it's not exactly Italian, but the coffee is cheap, pretty good, and you can generally sit outside facing the opposite direction and forget you're there at all!

.If you want to go to a restaurant I'm fairly sure there doesn't exist a bad one in Italy! I never found one anyway. Pizza, Pasta and Omelette are the cheapest things on the menus but if you want vegetables they come separately and are quite pricey so I just took vitamin tablets and managed without!

.If you're staying in a hostel try and find somewhere with a kitchen. Quite often I had a big meal out at lunch, and then just snacked in the evening on bread and cheese and fruit from the supermarket.

.Gelato (ice cream) is amazingly yummy, and everywhere! You can get a small cup or cone in most places for €1.50-€2 which is actually really filling, and you can usually pick two or three flavours.

.In the evening find a bar that has a buffet. For the price of a drink (which ok, is very expensive, although not that different to London prices) you can eat as much as you want!

Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio in Florence

The great thing about Italy is there is a never ending supply of monuments, galleries and museums, and although most of them cost to get in you can reduce the price you're paying if you're careful (or lucky!).

.Some cities like Siena offer a discounted pass which gets you in to several museums for several days.

.If you're under 25 and from the European Union take some ID with you as several museums will let you in at a reduced rate. This was definitely obvious in Rome, Naples and Siena.

.If you're under 18 you can get into quite a few places for free!

.Most of the Churches and Basilicas are beautifully decorated and will let you in for free if there isn't a service on. Make sure you're dressed appropriately though, shoulders must be covered and you can't wear shorts or skirts above your knees.

.There is actually loads to see just walking around outside, and in the summer the weather is generally good enough to spend your whole days wandering around sitting in Piazzas, admiring fountains and staring in the windows of all the designer shops!

Check out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

Italy is not the place to buy on the cheap. Everyone is very chic, and like they and the French are famous for, they buy a few expensive pieces rather than lots of cheaper things. The clothes are also very classic and simple, so this is the place to purchase your forever pieces rather than fast fashion.

.Many places including Siena, Rome and Milan have designer outlet malls outside the cities which you can get a round trip by bus to from the centre. I didn't try them out so I can't vouch for how good the pickings are though.

.Several places I visited including Florence, Milan and Rome had flea markets on at weekends and during the week, where prices are lower and you can haggle if you dare!

Try not to get hit by a scooter!

The good news is travel around Italy is very cheap (at least compared to the UK anyway!)

.If you're travelling a long way between cities see if you can catch a slow train. I caught a five and a half hour train instead of a three hour one from Naples to Florence and saved €30.

.If you can, stick to travelling in just one region. Travelling around Tuscany for example I paid only €7.20 for a 111km trip!

.In cities generally a one way journey by train or bus is about €1. If you think you will be making more than a couple of journeys however you can get a 24 hour travel card for €3-4 and save, well, at least enough for a coffee or gelato!


Cafe Fashionista said...

This is such an amazing post. I felt as if I were reading a travel guide, only one written by a close friend as opposed to an unknown author. You've provided so many great tips - now I want to take a trip to Italy. I can't wait to read your next Italy travel post! :)

OceanDreams said...

Thanks for all of this wonderful info about Italy, I would love to go there! I love Italian food and love to travel as well, hope you have a wonderful week!

Sherin said...

Italy looks so amazing. I'm dying to go there really soon, but am seriously lacking friends these days. But thanks for the tips. I'll definitely use them when (if) I go.

Harriet said...

Thank you so much for all your nice words! I would definitely recommend Italy as there's something and somewhere for everyone, even if you're on your own!

Sherin - sorry about the lack of friends around, I am definitely finding that since I graduated. Loads of Fashion Bloggers seem to be relocating to London though, so hopefully we'll get lots of new ones!

ALEXANDRA P. said...

ohh you have such a cute blog and even cute photos!! :)