Italy on a budget 10 Days
Hi - I am new to Chowhound but am loving the Italy posts. My boyfriend and I are going on our first Italy trip next week to Venice, Florence, Naples, Capri and Rome. I would love some great suggestions on what to see and more importantly what to eat. I've heard you don't need to spend much to get an amazing meal...?? Thanks for the tips!
We had a delicious, but simple lunch at Oteria Pepo in Florence. Daily specials around 6 euro each. Fresh, tasty, and generous portions. Charming atmosphere, as well. Via Rosina, 5/6 R, near the central market. Also had a fabulous dinner at Ristorante BoccaNegra in Florence. It was pricy, but the secret is that next door, and around the corner, the same group has both an osteria and a pizzeria. The high-quality food is passed down to both less-expensive establishments. The pizza was great (and I'm a pizza snob, with high standards)! And around 3 euro for simpler varieties. Lively music, and stylish young crowd. Our waiter from the fancy restaurant somehow spotted us the next evening at the pizza place, and came over to say hello. Via Ghibellina, 124/R, near Piazza S. Croce. Fabulous pizza in Rome, near the Borghese gallery at Pizza Magi. Via Salaria N. 70. They do a 72 hour slow rise dough that is out of this world! Also cheap but VERY satisfying!
Hello! My husband and I just got back from Venice five days ago, and took most of our dining cues from the Chowhound post entitled "Listings of where to eat in Venice". (Most were very good except for Ai 4 Feri: very disappointing)
I don't know how long you are in Venice (there are a lot of different neighbourhoods), but I agree with other posts that the best idea is to get away from the main areas in Venice such as the San Marco Square. If you don't want to venture far from your hotel, then just get off the main drag/main walkways to a side road or a smaller Campo (square with a church). Something off to the side where more locals live usually means that the restaurant is frequented on weekends by locals who know good food and won't be willing to pay a lot.
One of our most enjoyable cheapish moment was to hang out in Dorsoduro (coming along Fondamenta Nani from the Zattere stop or from Accademia). On the Fondamenta Nani there is a wine store (Cantine del vino oia Schiavi with a sign that sticks out saying Vino alla Bottiglia) that sells glasses of wine for 2 EUR and different tapas for 1 EUR or so a piece. You can get the wine in a glass and drink it inside, but the real fun is getting it in plastic and standing along the canal with everyone else. You want to be early-ish after work as it gets busy. But in good weather, you feel llike you are living in Venice with the students, people coming off work and just a few tourists. With a plate of tapas, you alsmot have a meal. There is also a real gondola repair shop just down the canal for authenticity.
If you want dinner with a view, the restaurants at Zaterre along the shore in Dorsoduro are also cheaper than most over in San Croce, etc.
We really enjoyed the perfect food at La Bitta in Calle Lunga San Barnaba (off a Campo five minutes from the abovemntioned canal), but you will probably need a reservation made the same or previous day. We saw a lot of people being turned away at the door. Very good and classy food at normal prices. The Campo next to is also reasonable (we enjoyed the wine after dinner at the patio of Caffe Bar Ai Artisti).
Don't bother with beer. Drink wine -- it is WAY cheaper almost everywhere and very good almost everywhere, even at it's cheapest.
Enjoy yourself and walk a lot! You don't have to be inside to enjoy Venice. And don't take the gondalier's first price. Walk away. You will probably be chased by someone else offering a better price.
A few suggestions:
1) Get a copy of the Slow Food Guide to the Osterias of Italy. It is now available in English.
2) Be sure to do "Search this board" searches for all the cities you are planning to visit. You will find dozens and dozens of helpful suggestions already here for you.
3) Look for places to eat away from the centers of towns, which is where most tourists eat and tend to be more expensive. You are visiting several of the most heavily touristed and most expensive cities in Italy.
4) Visit the local markets, which often have food stands selling inexpensive prepared food items.
For Florence, search for my post "Florence Report - December 2007" and you will find several suggestions for reasonably priced meals there: Teatro del Sale is not to be missed (lunch 20 Euros, dinner 30 + 5 Euros to join the club - but both meals include wine, mineral waters, and coffee); Il Contadino is good and has a fixed-price menu with multiple selections; Nerbone in the Mercato Centrale is good for lunch, but try their other dishes along with the boiled meat sandwiches; Vino e Vecchi Sapori is good home-style cooking. Not mentioned in my 2007 post is Le Mossacce, which I recommend for a quick and inexpensive lunch: it's advantage is that it is just a short walk from the Duomo and is a reliable place to lunch after a visit to the cathedral (it does not have a big sign, just its name on the front window).
Thanks to you both! I will definitely check out your post, CJT. Teatro del Sale sounds like a great place for a nice long meal and the home-style cooking is right up my alley at Vino e Vecchi Sapori.
I'm really excited to check out some of the local markets esp in Rome for some fast, fresh and delicious lunches while sight seeing.
Any suggestions on where to stay in Naples? I know its not the safest/cleanest of the cities...
naples is wonderful! Check out this hotel, which is in the heart of the old city close to the Via Tribunali. You will have many wonderful cheap eats opportunities right in this area, including some of the best pizzerias, coffee shops places to buy snacks etc, a fine goodprice slowfood trattoria on via Sapienza) not to mention all of the little shops and daily life experiences, in the midst of ancient greek/roman/baroque naples all around.
the motorini and street life can be a little c