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May 19, 2008 11:13 AM

2 weeks in Italy on a limited budget - help!!

Hi there,

I'm off to Italy from July 2 to 15 on a choir tour and while our breakfasts are included every day, we are responsible for our own meals for the rest of the trip, except in a few instances.

I'm looking for some inexpensive recommendations for lunches and dinners - and by inexpensive, I mean the cheaper the better! My colleagues and I are impoverished musicians!!

Here's where we're going:
July 3
Arrive Venice - independent lunch, dinner at La Colomba
July 4
Venice - tour of Piazza San Marco, Campanile, Doge's Palace, etc. independent lunch and dinner
July 5
Venice - full day at leisure, possible trip to Murano? independent lunch and dinner
July 6
Travel to Florence via Ravenna, independent dinner
July 7
Full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano - independent lunch in Siena, independent dinner back in Florence
July 8
Florence - Half day tour of the Accademia and highlights of Florence
Rest of the day at leisure, independent lunch and dinner
July 9
Florence - Uffizi Gallery, rest of the day at leisure, independent lunch, dinner is at I Quattro Leoni
July 10
Travel to Assisi, independent lunch
Travel to Trevi, dinner at La Prepositura
July 11
Travel to Rome, via Frantoia
Independent lunch, dinner at Osteria dell'Angelo
July 12
Rome - morning tour of Vatican, independent lunch (around Piazza Navona), afternoon tour of Pantheon, St Maria Degli Angeli, Santa Maria Maggiore, Forum, Coliseum, etc...independent dinner - possibly somewhere in Trastevere?
July 13
Rome - full day at leisure, independent lunch and dinner
July 14
Rome - full day at leisure, independent lunch, dinner at Azienda Agricolo II Castellacio

Your recommendations are most welcome - many thanks in advance!

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  1. On our several trips to Italy, my wife and I are never able to eat more than one Italian meal a day. We have the hotel breakfast and either a late lunch or early dinner, while we snack the rest of the time. Opportunities to snack are everywhere: gelato, pizza slices, hot sausages, cold cuts, fresh vegetables, breads, cheeses, focaccia with various toppings, etc. Their regular meals are huge even though we only share an appetizer, split a primi, each get a secondi plus salad and split dessert. Of course, wine is really inexpensive, but the more expensive beer is the hot drink now. Use the “Search this board” above for suggestions for each individual city.

    1. Venice is the hardest place to eat cheap. Trattoria Storica, at Cannaregio 4858 Ponte dei Gesuiti, has a 20EU fixed price menu that is exceptional. Friendly, country-style restaurant. In Florence, I had a reasonably priced dinner at I Ghibellini at Piazza Di S. Pier Maggiore, 8. Ate there twice, it was so good. About 20EU per person including wine, but you can do it for less. In Rome, for lunch or an early dinner (they close early) try Da Benito at Via dei Falegnami, 14. It is very well priced and will knock your socks off!

      1 Reply
      1. re: chezfredo

        Go to for my post on Florence restaurants from last December. Plenty of good choices at reasonable prices, good quality food, and some good exposure to the local atmosphere. Suggest you musicians go to Teatro del Sale for dinner (reservations required, not open Sunday or Monday) because they offer entertainment after dinner which is often musical and there's not extra charge beyond the 30 Euro dinner cost (plus one-time 5 Euro membership in the Club).

      2. For Venice:

        If you like pizza, check out Casa Mia on Calle Oca just off Campo SS Apostoli. GREAT pizza, and at a reasonable price.

        La Zucca has fantastic food and it is a good value, especially if you do not order too much (which is hard to do, because it all looks so good - but some dishes are quite rich, so be careful.) You MUST reserve here.

        Ostaria Garanghelo in San Polo is a fun place, and inexpensive if you stay away from seafood.

        If you do go to Murano, or are in the neighborhood of Fondamente Nove, a good place for a snack or lunch is Algiubagio. They have tasty pastas and salads served outside with a view, and they also have good sandwiches and spritzes inside the bar. At dinner in the dining room, the price goes way up.

        You should consider snacking your way around by partaking of the great sandwich and cichetti traditions. Tramezzini are little half sandwiches sold all over the place with many different fillings - they are a little over a Euro each. Cichetti are bar snacks ranging from a cube of mortadella to stuff vegetables and fried seafood. There are many places to eat cichetti and even more to eat tramezzini.

        Some good places for bar snacks -

        Un Mondo di Vino (Salizzada San Canciano in Cannaregio
        )Gia Schiavi (Fondamenta San Trovaso 992 in Dorsoduro)
        I Cavatappi (Campo della Guerra in San Marco)
        da Alberto (Calle Giacinto Gallina in Cannaregio - I love this place, and it is also fairly inexpensive to eat here, if you drink the house wine and stick to one course.)

        In Ravenna, there is a wine bar called Enoteca Ca' de Ven - we had three kinds of piedini and a bottle of wine there for 19 Euro - or if you want a sit down meal Ristorante La Gardela is really good and the portions are huge so you can definitely split a couple of things there.

        Have fun -

        1. In the smaller villages outside the cities you listed, food prices drop dramatically.

          1. For Florence, try tripe stands.
            There are plenty of them, but the following ones are excellent.
            - One at the corner of via dei Macci and Borgo la Croce, near the Sant'Ambrogio market.
            - One in front of the American Express office on via Dante Alighieri near the Duomo.

            They serve a couple of tripe dishes such as Lampredotto, tripe salad, tripe sandwich and more. The stand in front of the AE sells various takeout foods other than tripes, too.

            I tried both of them, and personally prefer the one near Sant'Ambrogio market. I cannot recall how much it cost me, but it was incredibly cheap. You can also have some cheap rosso with your tripe dish. I think this is one of many ways to eat well and cheap in Florence.