Cachi: oriental fruits that became part of Italian Autumn

At this time of the year, Italian countryside’s landscapes are changing colors; from light yellowish they are going towards one of my favorite colors: orange and red! Colors are bright  and warm and every little gem of nature adds a pinch of Autumn in our days.

cachi italian autumn

There is one gem that became very popular and typical in Italy even though its origins are to be found in a very far land. It is kaki (or Persimmon), a rounded and orange sweet  fruit that decorates many family tables in Italy in Autumn time! Not to speak about the beautiful tree of cachi, with their bright orange color: they are simply part of our imaginary of a chilly rainy November day.

cachi Italian autumn

The origins of this fruit are to be found in Asia and it can be proudly described as one of the oldest plants in cultivation. In Italy kaki is eaten alone and simple with a spoon as a dessert and it is also used to make jams, cakes and liquors, just like most things in Italy. Our motto is: whatever tastes good should be eaten in all its possible shapes! That’s why during our Italian Food Tours you can try many different kinds of jams, patè and dressings!

Be careful to eat cachi only when well ripe, as they contain high levels of tannins and are really astringent (or allappanti as Italian say)! You’ll understand if it is just by touching it: it should be soft! If you are in Italy and you buy them, you’ll probably be sold unripe ones! That is completely normal! Just place them together with few apples and they might be ready to be eaten even within 24 hours!

cachi italian autumn
Cachi contain a lot of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fiber, and are said to be beneficial for the nervous system, the liver, and for gastrointestinal problems. They contain a lot of sugar and are a high calorie fruit: try it to believe it! Even one normal size cachi can be really filling! If you pass by in the right season (between October and November) you might be lucky enough to try them during our Italian Food Tours.

Interesting facts about cachi

The full name is diospyros kaki, from Greek the fruit of Zeus! In Italy is often called cachi or diospero in Tuscany.

This fruit was introduced across Italy in the middle 1800s.  It is believed that Mussolini created a decree for them, requiring each farmhouse have a cachi tree planted besides it.

Italian Craft Beer

Italian Craft Beer: Italy is not just about wine

Italian craft beer

So you thought Italy was all about wine  right? Have you spent your last Italian holiday tasting every single Chianti selection? Well, let us prove you wrong! Wine is still our best product, no doubt, but there is a new trend spreading in Italy, thanks to young, local and creative entrepreneurs: Italian craft beer!

After long years of religious dedication to the art of wine production, the new Italian generation realized that with our great genuine products we could also give it a try with beers! And so it happened! Don’t you trust me? Take part in our Florence Beers and Bites tour and find out more! Let us guide you and surprise you and discover Italy’s newest flavours!

Italian Craft beer

As a matter of fact, Italy’s craft beer scene turns out to be one of the most creative in Europe, with around 500 breweries established in the past 10 years, most of them small-size and relatively young. Italy’s craft beers often contain unusual ingredients such as grape must, chestnuts and different fruits and spices, depending on the region the brewerie is located and the typical products of their area you will find interesting mix of flavours in your beer.

If you want to try a Tuscan one, visit the Birrificio Toscano BSV! Their speciality is Pratomagno, flavoured with a mix of herbs from Pratomagno Mountain!

Birra Viva Toscana

Birra Viva Toscana

The coolest thing is that Italian craft beers are so local-based that you really need to go and look for them sometimes! You won’t just find them everywere, as for wine, and strangely enough it is easier to find them in small Italian villages.  So whenever you travel across Italian countryside, stop by local small pubs and ask taste their selection of Italian craft beer! If you are in Florence, no need to struggle: just contact us and join our Florence Beer tour!

As every Italian product, also with beer quality is the first element. The rest is creativity! 

Fried Pizza: because pizza is always pizza!

Fried Pizza

Fried Pizza

How many types of pizzas have you tasted in your life? There are so many extravagant version of this typical Southern-Italian dish that it is sometimes impossible to distinguish original Italian ones. Well, there is always something new to try! You know what we are talking about if you’ve joined one of our Roma Pizza Tour!

One of the specialities of this tour is the fried pizza! Yes, you got it right! As if pizza was not good enough, we decided also to fry it! This recipe is of Neapolitan origins and it is called Montanara recipe, which takes its name from the montanari. I montanari  were the mountain peasants, who apparently used to eat fried bread dressed with tomatoes and cheese.  Just to give you an idea of how easy this recipe is!

So here is what you need to try to do Fried Pizza at home:


  • 800 gr basic pizza dough

  • Mozzarella (better if buffalo one)

  • 1 clove garlic , peeled and finely sliced

  • 400 gr good-quality tinned plum tomatoes

  • oregano

  • fresh basil

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • vegetable oil

It is better to prepare the tomato sauce first, so that once the dough is ready you can just dress it and enjoy your fried pizza while still warm. So, first of all heat a saucepan, pour few spoons of olive oil and add the sliced garlic. Cook gently over low fire. When the garlic turns light golden, add the tomatoes and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 20 minutes, turn the fire off, add some basil and put to one side.

Tomato Sauce for Fried Pizza

Now you’ll just have to fry your pizza base and it is ready! Let’s suppose here that you have already your basic pizza dough ready. Divide it in 12 balls of around 60 gr each and then flatten them to obtain a disk-like shape. Every disk of pizza is going to be fo 8-10 cm of diameter. At this point, heat 2 cm of vegetable oil on a frying pan and fry each pizza for 2 minutes or so on each side. Put the dough balls in the oil only when it is really hot. Remove them with tongs and place them on a tray with some kitchen papers, so that the extra oil is absorbed.

Fried Pizza

Now spread each one of the little pizza with a spoonful of the tomato sauce and tear over some mozzarella and few leaves of basil or dried oregano.

Here you go! Easy, tasty and colorful! Don’t forget to try the original Montanara recipe when you pass by Italy!


#LasagnaForEveryone: an easy lasagna recipe

There is something about lasagnas that I really can’t tell. As if it could embody all the flavors and all that makes up Italian identity. Lasagnas  is home…

Now, lasagnas  is almost everywhere in the world, but please, please, please do stay away from bad imitations! That doesn’t mean it has to be complicated! You can prepare lasagnas yourself following this very easy lasagna recipe, without spoiling it with shortcuts.

Lasagna: the best of Italian Food

It won’t be like the one you can have in Italy, but it will get really close to it. Have you tasted the best lasagna in Milan? You will have the chance of trying the real authentic taste of this dish at Pastificio Moscova!


Extra virgin olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound pork sausage

1  can tomato Sauce

1  can tomato Paste

1  canned chopped tomatoes

1 glass of red wine

1 celery stalck

1 carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 middle-size onion

1 teaspoon of sugar

Salt and black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

800 ml of béchamel sauce 

The best way of making lasagna is to cook the ragù sauce a day before. It is just a matter of fact: it tastes so much better the day after. To prepare the ragù heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large pan or a pot (where all of your sauce will fit in the end) and add diced garlic, onion, carrot, parsley and celery. This is the base for most of Italian sauces and the ingredients added are called odori all together. Let them fry for some minutes and then add the ground beef and the sausage over medium heat until browned. That’s where the wine comes in. Over high heat, add a generous glass of red wine until completely absorbed. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, sugar, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now if you have time, the longer your ragù cooks, the better it will taste. So if you have some time, let it cook even for few hours over low heat. You can add water any time you see that it is necessary for the sauce to remain of the right texture: not too dry and not too liquid.

easy lasagna recipe

Once the ragù is ready, let it cool for some minutes (or wait the day after if you can). Preheat the oven at around 180 °/ 356 F. Your lasagnas is almost ready! Start with a layer of lasagna noodles in an ungreased 9 X 13 inch baking dish, then spread the first layer of meat sauce,  few generous spoons of béchamel and parmesan. Repeat layers and top with last 3 noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining béchamel sauce and cover everything with a nice layer of grated  parmesan. Bake for around 50 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. And here you are!

easy lasagna recipe

 Enjoy and do not add anything on it!!!! It will taste just wonderful the way it is! ;).  An easy lasagna recipe that will help us spreading the right lasagnas taste all around the world!!!! And if you pass by Milan, to join us and taste the best lasagna in Milan!


Valentine’s days in Italy

List the first three adjectives that come to your mind when you think of Italians: I am sure “romantic” is going to be one of them. Why? Because Italy is not just the world’s capital of food, but also love!! Italians are great lovers and know how to be romantic! That’s just a fact: Romeo and Giulietta, Dante and Beatrice… it is not a coincidence that even nowadays many choose our country for engagements or marriages in our beautiful cities or villas in the countryside. Now we don’t want to go that far, but what about a romantic week holiday during Valentines days in Italy? 

Padlocks clipped by lovers

Padlocks clipped by lovers

All you need to do is decide one or more destinations for your romantic trip and add some original Valentine’s day surprise on top! First, you have to choose which city better fits your need: a magnificent and chaotic Rome, a small and mysterious Florence, a cosmopolitan and lively Milan? But after all wherever you will be is going to be magical! Just relax and enjoy the great Italian atmosphere!

What do Italians do for Valentine’s day? They go for walks in parks (check out Giardino di Boboli if you are in Florence) or enjoy the sunset in one of the city’s best spots (reach Giardino degli Aranci in Rome) or an Aperitivo in some classy bars (Milan will offer you plenty of good ones). The youngest ones will look for a bridge or a lamppost to tie a chain and a padlock as an indelible trace of their love.

Thinking about a special Valentine’s gift? Go for something original! Here are some Valentine’s day ideas: a day at an Italian SPA, relaxing and enjoying thermal waters, a day-out in one of the many stunning Italian little villages or, least but not last, one of our food tours for two! These can be a great idea to spend some time together and get to know another culture!

Valentine's days in Italy

Valentine’s days in Italy

If you want to act like a local, rent a vespa and bring your lady for a panoramic ride! Don’t forget chocolate and flowers! They are still a must!

Butter and anchovies: easy crostino topping

Having some friends over for dinner on short notice? Don’t panic! The trick is to start with some good and filling appetizers! Surprise your guests with the starters and they’ll enjoy the rest even better! And if you have no time for shopping, we have a perfect idea for you!

All you need is bread, butter and canned anchovies and here you go with a great Italian starter: crostini burro e acciughe! Sometimes the simplest things are the best!

Butter and anchovies crostini topping

If any of you have passed by Italy already, you might have tried it along with our Florence Food Tour, during which you get the chance to taste Italian crostini in Florence.

Now, as you know there are many crostini toppings in our tradition. You might now some of the very standard one: tomato and basil, black olives… Burro e acciughe is something that doesn’t come to your mind easily, but believe me it is a pleasure for your mouth!

As ingredients, we’ll list what it would be better to use, but surely any surrogate will do:

  • Tuscan bread

  • Good quality unsalted butter

  • Good quality anchovies, in oil or salted.

  • Pickles baby capari (if you like)

Butter and anchovies crostini topping

Tuscan bread is the one that best fit this recipe. If you don’t have, just use what bread you have. Cut as many slices as to have at last two crostini per person. Toast the bread and let it cool some minutes. Spread a good layer of butter on the slices and, depending on the size of these slices, lay one or two anchovies on the top. You can add a capari as the final touch on your crostini burro e acciughe. And there you go, you are ready to offer your guests an original and finger-licking Italian starter!

If you do want to taste Italian crostini while in Florence let us know! We’ll make sure you’ll get the best out of your stay!


Torta Fedora: the best of Tuscany

Italian culinary tradition is wide and varied: all kinds of pasta sauces, the many versions of lasagne, tasty meat stews, pizzas, and last but not least: the desserts. There are so many of them that there is always something new to taste. One of the less-known ones is Torta Fedora, a real delicatesse of Tuscan cuisine. A soft heart of puff pastry, whipped cream and sponge cake covered up with a crunchy layer of dark chocolate.

Torta Fedora

Torta Fedora

I bet we already made you drool! No despairs though, you’ll get the chance to try this tasty dessert of our cuisine during our food tours in Florence!

And in case you like it, and we bet you will, here is a simple version of this recipe that you can try at home. The only thing that you might struggle to find is the alchermes liqueur, which you can replace with any another kind of gentle and
Alchermes and Maraschino

Alchermes and Maraschino

sweet liqueur. Some versions of this cake is with maraschino, a liqueur obtained from the distillation of Marasca cherries.

Here is what you will need:

1 roll of puff pastry

1 disk of sponge cake

550 gr whipped cream

Icing sugar as required

Few spoons of milk

For the chocolate crust:

150 gr: dark chocolate

1 spoon of water

2 spoons of honey

Icing sugar as required

For the bagna (to soak the sponge cake):

65 g of water

35 g of sugar

50 ml of alchermes liquor

It would be better to prepare the sponge cake the day before or – don’t tell anyone we suggested you-  you can buy already-made one. First thing, you’ll need to bake the puff pastry. Before doing that make sure you poke few holes on it using a fork, gently brush it with some milk and sprinkle it with some icing sugar. Bake at 180° until golden brown.

While you wait for the puff pastry to bake, prepare the bagna, with which we will soak the sponge cake. Pour the water together with sugar in a small pot. Once it boils, you can leave it cooling a bit and then add the alchermes liqueur.

At this point, take the puff pastry out of the oven, cut it the same size of the sponge cake and lay the sponge cake on it. Pour the bagna all over the sponge cake and now our base is ready to be topped with a thick layer of whipped cream. Let now rest the cake in the fridge for at least few hours.

Cioccolato a pezzi

Let’s now prepare the chocolate topping. Cut the chocolate in pieces, put it together with 2 spoons of honey and a spoon of water in a small pot and let it melt in a bain-marie. Let it cool, sprinkle some icing sugar on a clean surface where you can pour the chocolate. Add icing sugar until it gets thick enough to make a ball out of it. Let it rest a bit until it becomes a malleable dough of chocolate.

At this point, place it on a long piece of baking paper and roll it out using a rolling pin. Now it is all up to you: decorate your Torta Fedora as you wish with the “chocolate papers” you made! You can also add some icing sugar if you want it to look nicer!

Torta Fedora

Well, if Torta Fedora doesn’t sound easy to make, we can assure it tastes good! Don’t miss our food tours in Florence next time you are around, during which you’ll have the occasion to ask more tips for this recipe to the local “artisans” of desserts!

Food Events in Italy this Fall 2014

Fall is considered to some travel experts the best time to be in Italy. The unforgiving sun is finally starting to hit the breaks, the summer crowds have headed back home, cool Fall breezy evenings and best of all: it is harvest time. Despite the greatest efforts by modernization, Italy is very much still an agricultural society. The country is mercy to the seasons, the weather conditions and its rotating bounty. As a result, Italy for tradition sake celebrates the fruits of its labor with periodic food events that just happen to concentrate during the fall time.

If you are planning to be in Italy during September, October or November, here are some food events in Italy this Fall you may want to check out:

Anchovies2September 17, 2014  Salted Anchovy & Olive Oil Feast
Monterosso al Mare, Italy (Liguria)
Festival of anchovies- a staple of the Mediterranean! Various tastings of salted and marinated anchovies with bruschette paired with local wines of the Cinque Terre in Monterosso.  Celebrated each year over the second weekend of September.

vino al vinoSeptember 18-21, 2014  Vino al Vino
Panzano, Tuscany, Italy
The festival takes place in the main square of Panzano in the Chianti Classico wine region of Tuscany. Countless wines from select wineries in the Chianti Classico subzone is available to be sampled at a small entry fee. Enjoy a wine filled of weekend with live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

September 18-21, 2014  Taste of Roma – Rome, Italy
Foodie Heaven –  A truly unique event where upscale and knowledgeable ‘foodies’ come to sample stunning signature  creations from the latest, greatest and most exciting restaurants in the eternal city.

Baviera FestSeptember 19-28, 2014  BavieraFest – La Spezia , Italy (Liguria)
A beer festival which promotes and showcases typical products of Bavarian traditions: German beer, pork products, sausages, cheeses, dessert strudel, pretzels (Bavarian bread) all complete with cultural and entertainment pairings of music and various exhibitions.

albatrufflefestOctober 11th-16th, 2014 International White Truffle of Alba Fair 2014 Alba, Italy (Piedmont)
In the name of the tartufo bianco, early October to mid-November, Alba, nestled in Northern Italy in the Piedmont region, hosts the Alba International White Truffle Fair, which welcomes international chefs, foodies, wine experts and gastronome travelers to taste the decadent, aromatic and world prized Italian white truffle. Wine sips to match truffled inspired food tasting samples run freely at this must-savor fall food festival in Italy.

Eurochocolate (google images)

Eurochocolate (google images)

October 17th-26th, 2014 Eurochocolate Perugia, Italy (Umbria)                  EuroChocolate is an annual chocolate festival that takes place in Perugia, the capital of Umbria (central Italy). The festival  is one of the largest chocolate festivals in Europe. EuroChocolate draws nearly one million tourists and Italian natives each year!  This decadent chocolate fest offers many snack and souvenir options such as chocolate covered bananas, chocolate liqueur, chocolate molds, and chocolate bricks.  In addition to the array of chocolate tasting novelties, there are also scheduled activities including chocolate art displays, experimental chocolate tastings, street performances, and chocolate sculpting. In recent years, an igloo was constructed out of 3,600 kilograms of chocolate bricks. There is even an opportunity to make a chocolate day spa appointment.

TERRAMADREOctober 23-27, 2014  Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre
Turin, Italy (Piedmont)
Displaying the extraordinary diversity of food from all continents and uniting small-scale farmers and artisans from the north and south of the world who follow the principles of The Slow Food Movement which include: good, clean and fair production of food and water. Here you will find food that is defined not only by excellent taste, but also by environmental sustainability and social justice.

November 8-10, 2014  Merano Wine Festival 2014
Merano, South Tyrol, Italy
This is a very unique wine-event, a celebration and a showcase of the finest Italian and international wines. Selected producers present their wines to professionals, enthusiasts and journalists. The pleasures of the palate are combined with a delight for the eyes, because the Festival is held in the majestic rooms of the Kurhaus, an elegant historical building in the center of town. Food tastings from high quality, local purveyors are also available for experience.

Speaking of being in Italy this Fall- we have a contest going on! Post your favorite selfie in Italy (or from being on one of our food tours) with the hashtag #FoodTours on our Facebook page and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to get a full refund of your tour tickets! The picture that will receive more likes from your  by December 25th wins!


Good luck!

Where to eat in Italy during August

August as you may of heard, is a month in which many Italian businesses close. It is a phenomena that plagues local expats, tourists and observers of il bel paese. Many say “why close during one of the busiest summer months of the tourist season?” In realty, part of the month-long break surrounds the Ferragosto holiday that falls on August 15th but the largest rational goes back to culture and the quintessential Italian “tradition” of enjoying life. Most people also wonder about why there is a 2-3 hour pausa in the middle of the day as well, as that could be a great time to make some sales! But it’s not just all about relishing free time and eating long lunches with the family- it’s ironically rooted in practicality. You see, before fans and air conditioning and people largely held jobs that required a significant of physical energy, it made more sense from a point of view of productivity to close during the warmest hours of the day (usually 1pm-4pm). Likewise, August usually being the hottest month of the year, it makes more sense to close up than to work in extreme heat and take the opportunity to cool down with friends and family at the seaside. And even if nowadays we have these modern conveniences like climate control apparatuses, Italians still take these weeks to enjoy the seaside, life and community. But if you are on vacation in Italy during August, you might find yourself extremely disappointed if you want to eat out at great restaurants only to find them closed for the month.

Here are some suggestions for where to eat in Italy during August:


Interior at Pizzeria del Ticinese (google images)

Interior at Pizzeria del Ticinese (google images)

Pizzeria del Ticinese- This is a rustic Italian restaurant that is known by locals for it’s consistently good pizza baked in a wood fired oven in one of Milan’s trendiest districts on Corso di Porta Ticinese. Reviews also suggest some of their first courses and the house special calzone called “Il Calzun del Ticines” filled with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula and buffalo milk cheeses. di Porta Ticinese, 65
20123 Milan, Italy

La Hora Feliz- Traveling with a group of friends and looking for a hip aperitivo with a large buffet? This is a great choice for your aperitivo in Milan during August. Read our posts on the tradition of Aperitivo if you don’t already know what it is! In all fairness, it will not be difficult to find an aperitivo bar open in August in Milan, but I particularly like this bar due to its large indoor and outdoor seating options as well as some fairly good options from the buffet during the summer such as spaghetti with clams, octopus and potato salad, cold cuts, fresh summer fruit platters and more.

Via San Vito 5
20123 Milan, Italy

**General tip, head to the neighborhoods such as the Navigli, Corso di Porta Ticinese and Brera for good bets to enjoy some very valid bars and restaurants open during August.


Pizza at Pizzarium in Rome, Italy (google images)

Pizza at Pizzarium in Rome, Italy (google images)

Pizzarium– for some superb Roman pizza and finger food like supli, head to Pizzarium to sample all the various squared pizza by the slice that have a huge variety of seasonal gourmet toppings. Recommended by the most sought out food journalists in Rome and Italy over.

Via della Meloria 43
00136 Rome, Italy

Metamorfosi- If you’d like a fine dining splurge when in the eternal city of Rome during August, this 5 star restaurant will blow your mind and not just your cash. The chef tasting menu’ is pricey but when considering the wine pairings are included and thoughtfully chosen for you, it’s a worthwhile experience for the food and wine fanatic.

Via Giovanni Antonelli 30
00197 Rome, Italy


A glance at the menu!

A glance at the menu!

Coquinarius– Nestled in a side street just steps from the Duomo lies a gastronomic oasis that is extremely valid even beyond the month of August. It has a very fresh and contemporary atmosphere with a slight feel of being an oasis away from the lareg tourist scene albeit being a stone’s throw from the city’s most frequented landmark. Don’t miss the fresh pastas, appetizer platters and the staff’s wine pairing suggestions. Another bonus: it’s on the same street as the world famous gelateria GROM. 🙂

Via dell’Oche 15R
50122 Florence, Italy

Mercato Centrale– The top floor of Florence’s Central Market (Mercato Central in San Lorenzo) has recently been renovated as a sort of modern food hall and offers a wide array of restaurants to choose from including pasta bars, the authentic pizzeria “Sud”, a full beer and wine bar, meat and cheese-mongers including a food stand that sells fresh, tasty mozzarella plates and much more.

Via dell’Ariento 10
50100 Florence, Italy

Looking for more tips for things to do in Italy during August? Our food tours are not running for the month however our fun segway tours are! Segway Tours are a great way to do some sightseeing while staying cool, too!

10 tips for eating in Italy on a budget

Traveling is one of the bravest things one could do in life, I applaud you and commend your efforts in advance. It takes a lot of energy to throw yourself across the ocean (or across countries if you are already on this side of the pond) and into a foreign culture to have some of the most unforgettable experiences of your life. Most of those unforgettable experiences will undoubtedly include food. ESPECIALLY if you are coming to Italy! Another brave part about traveling is pouring your hard earned dough into a plane ticket, accommodations, tours, museums, entertainment and food. You can’t quite control some costs but with food, there are definitely ways to be a smart traveler and in Italy you can really spend more than necessary if you are not careful. Here are some tips we have for you to make your money go further, satisfy your appetite, create good food memories and avoid overpriced, tourist traps.

Italian brioche and cappuccino: a typical breakfast!

1. If you are in Italy, try to be flexible and adapt to the local eating culture. If at home you are used to a certain kind of breakfast, try to abandon your habits just a little bit. For example, American and British style breakfasts served in Italy are very expensive. Italians generally eat a pastry and a cappuccino for breakfast (at the bar standing, not sitting) which costs no more than 3 euros. It usually costs 2.20EU. It may seem like a small breakfast, but perhaps pick up a piece of fruit from the local food markets and fruit/veg stands that brim most Italian cities for an extra bit of satiating fiber and sugar. Or alternatively, buy breakfast foods from the nearby grocery store and store it at your apartment or hotel if there is a mini-fridge (I’m thinking cereal and milk, etc).

2. Lunch should be a very inexpensive pleasure in Italy. If you are paying more than 13-15 euros, you are having a pretty luxury meal in my opinion. If you are going to authentic trattorias, delis (alimentari), street carts or sandwich shops, you should expect to pay 3-10 euros depending on what you get. On the smaller scale would be a panino and the higher end would be meat and potatoes or a pasta. Our food tours in Rome, Florence and Milan are a great way to get to know local establishments that serve reasonably priced, authentic food. Plus, your tour guide will be a pandora’s box of restaurant recommendations!

Traditional porchetta panino- a very filling and cheap lunch option

3. Speaking of lunch, try as much as possible to go to alimentari (which are like deli shops) and order panini there to save money and have the freshest, traditional ingredients. Keep it simple! Ask for a panino with just roasted pork (porchetta) or prosciutto and pecorino, for example or a panino caprese (mozzarella and tomato.) Italians tend to have simple panini with a meat and/or cheese and perhaps fresh rocket (rucola) or tomatoes but don’t expect mayo, mustard, grilled vegetables, etc. You can have grilled veggies but each ingredient gets weighed so you have to pay for each addition. Keep it simple and enjoy the flavorful ingredients by themselves (i.e. mortadella on fresh focaccia is simple, cheap and out of this world delicious!)

Group wine tasting in Florence

4. When in restaurants, unless you really know about Italian wine or are curious to learn more (and trust the usually more expensive suggestions by the staff) it is best to stick with house wine. House wine is generally 6-10 euros a liter while getting a bottle is significantly higher and can sometimes be comparable in quality to the house wine if you don’t know what you are picking. Italy is saturated with wine and therefore it is important to learn the producers who make a great Chianti Classico for example in order to increase your chances of making a good investment on a bottle served at a restaurant. Or you can take a wine tasting with us to learn more so that you can make smart decisions when ordering wine in a restaurant other than of the house.

5. Do your research ahead of time for a city, learn about the neighborhoods woven through and bordering the mainland historical center. Eating in a neighborhood like Sant’Ambrogio in Florence, for example will be a lot more cost effective (and higher in quality) than say eating in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence where there are yes, beautiful seating areas with a gorgeous view of the basilica, but cut corners in terms of cuisine quality and blend in the cost of the location into the menu.

6. When doing restaurant and food research, check out yelp reviews and not only tripadvisor. For example, yelp in Florence is overseen by a local community manager who contributes to the reviews and has a somewhat more informed opinion as they are a local, rather than a tripadvisor review which can be very subjective to their personal tastes.

7. Try to make picnics as often as possible to save money. Food in the markets or grocery stores are dirt cheap and if you are visiting Italy in the summer, it is a wonderful place to have dinner in a nearby park or a large piazza (just bring/wear mosquito repellent if you are visiting in the summer!)

8. Skip the dessert menu at the restaurant and instead find a local gelateria for an affordable dessert option: gelato! Gelato shops (gelaterie) tend to stay open till about 10pm or 1am in some cases especially during the summer. A gelato can be as cheap as ONE euro (I’m talking baby cones here) but generally a normal sized serving will run you 2.50. Gelato is a cheap way to have a real Italian dessert unless you want a massive cup or waffle cone but keep in mind that will be going in your stomach so don’t let your eyes fool you! 🙂 You might even be able to find novelty flavors like tiramisu gelato- win win!

9. Try aperitivo! Aperitivo is the art of having a aperitif cocktail with a spread of snacks. An aperitif-style cocktail such as a spritz or a negroni are the most common and authentic aperitifs in Italian drink culture. The most an aperitivo should cost is 10 euros (but averages 7EU) and with that you get a drink and some food so that you don’t arrive at dinner ravaging and ordering everything on the menu. Most bars and cafes in Italy offer some sort of aperitivo between the hours of 6-9pm. Conveniently before dinnertime:)

Pizza at a trattoria in Rome

10. Pick trattorias over osterias. Generally trattorias are more casual and less costly than osterias and have more of a rustic, local feel with very traditional, seasonal fare. Having pizza for dinner is also not a bad idea and it will be under 10eu! For suggestions for the best trattorias in the city you will be traveling to in Italy, consult your tour guide on your next food tour with us in Milan, Rome and/or Florence🙂

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