The old yet charming country of Italy is one of the most favored and most visited tourist attractions and backpacker destination in the whole of Europe. Though the influx of foreign visitors could be attributed to the magnificent edifices that have withstood the tests of time, it could also be because of the food.
Italy, like its next door neighbor France, is well known for their food. Who has not heard of the perfectly cooked al-dente pasta or delectable multi layered pizzas or of lip smacking Gelatos? No one! These classic favorites are known the world over and a lot of people flock to Italy just to have a taste of these.
Authentic Italian dishes are a joy to eat because, not only are these not difficult to find, they are easy to prepare and do not cost too much. If you’re a traveler with a limited budget, you will not go hungry in Italy.
If you find yourself hungry after admiring Michelangelo’s David in Florence, you can drop by Osteria Antica Mescita, an inexpensive eatery near the Arno River and Piazzale Michelangelo. At Osteria, you can have a mouthwatering order of “involtini” (aubergine rolls) for only €8.00. The Vini e Vicchi Sapori is also a traditional eatery found in Florence. Since the Vini is located near the Piazza della Signoria, tourists are usually pleasantly surprised to find out that they can partake of pasta dishes for about €6.00.
If pasta is not your thing, you can proceed to The Oil Shoppe for some sandwiches. This establishment is known for huge meat-filled sandwiches that go for €3.00! If you feel more adventurous and would like to partake of more authentic delicacies, look for traditional “trippai” (tripe stands) and try to eat a lampredotto (sandwich with tripe or cow’s stomach). This sandwich should not cost more than €3.00.
After you’ve had your fill of pastas, sandwiches or tripe, you can end your Florentine meal with a scoop (or more) of Italian gelato. Though there are several gelaterias (ice cream parlours) in Florence, look for Festival del Gelato near the Via del Corso center. They are known for cheaper (but delicious) gelatos that cost about €1.00 a scoop.
When you’re in Rome… do as Romans do and have a hearty meal at Al Picchio near the impressive Trevi Fountain. This cavern-style eatery is famous for its bruschetta and risotto. A complete meal should not cost more than €10.00. If the cost is too high, drop by Bar Gelateria, which is just a few steps from the great fountains. Though basically an ice cream shop, you can purchase a pizza here for only €6.00
If you’re craving for some American cuisine, you can have combo-deals at American Bar along Borgo Angelico. A pizza and coke combo goes for about €5.00, a sandwich and a drink for a Euro less.
On your last night at the Eternal City, splurge and have a fancy meal at La Caravella. They have combo-menus that go for around €11.00 and this already include a first and second course, white potatoes and salad. You may have to pay extra for beverages.
And when you get hungry while you’re on the road, stop and take a quick break at nearby gelaterias. For a mere €2.50, you can buy a cone and two scoops of your favorite ice cream.
No matter how limited your funds are, you can always find some place to eat in Italy. In case you don’t know where to look (or to go), don’t be afraid to ask others for tips and advice. Don’t limit yourself to the usual international cuisine; else you will miss out on a lot. Be adventurous and try out new food items. It’s probably one of the best ways you’ll really appreciate Italy more intimately.