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How to eat cheap in Florence

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Everyone says that Florence is a very expensive city, and these days we all need to watch our money. But Florence can be quite reasonable—if you know where to go.

If you’re planning a trip soon, here are some very important tips to help you save cash while visiting Florence and make the most of your time in this magical city:

  • Breakfast

Ideally, you’ll want to find a hotel that offers a free or reasonably priced breakfast. However, if that’s not an option or you just want to head out early, do the smart thing and go to a café (or bar) and eat standing up. It may sound strange but it could be a difference of a few euro if you do not sit at a table. Simply order your chocolate pastry and cappuccino at the bar, enjoy, and then pay the cashier when you’re done. One charming café I prefer is Chiaroscuro (Via del Corso, 36r). A cappuccino at the bar should set you back one euro!

  • Lunch

During the day, you’ll probably be very active, running around between the Uffizi Gallery, Santa Croce, and the Accademia where Michelangelo’s David lives. For a lunch break on the go, do yourself a delicious favor and stop by the on-the-street bar I Tre Fratelli, on Via dei Cimatori, just off of the main shopping street Via dei Calzaiuoli. There the two friendly brothers will take your order for a panino (choose from dozens of tantalizing options: salami and fennel, roast turkey, and vegetarian are just a few) and a glass of wine. Together this meal will cost about 4 euro. Set your wine glass on the wooden shelves outside and talk with other patrons about how ridiculously good the panini are. You’ll see Italians here, too, not just tourists.

  • Aperitivo

Several bars throughout Florence offer their version of “happy hour.” For the price of a glass of wine (maybe 5-7 euro), you can pile onto your plate appetizing treats such as risotto, pasta salad, and prosciutto-wrapped melon. The hours for aperitivi are rather late in the evening, say 7:30, compared to an American happy hour, because Italians tend to dine later. For a fun atmosphere and an excellent aperitivo, I point you to Moyo, on Via dei Benci, 23r, just down the street from Piazza Santa Croce. The food is sumptuous and could very well serve as your dinner!

  • Dinner

So you’ve been tiring yourself out all day and you finally want to relax and have a nice, quiet sit-down meal. I have no higher recommendation for a great meal at a great price than Trattoria il Contadino (which means “trattoria for the peasant farmer”), on Via Palazzuolo, 71r. For the fixed price of 11 euro, you’ll be treated to a first course (primo), second course (secondo), a side dish (contorno), a large water, or a small carafe of house wine, as well as exceptional service (which is also included in the price). The waiter will read off to you their daily menu, which may include ribollita (a traditional Florentine hearty bean-vegetable-bread soup), chicken cacciatore, and roasted potatoes (they have the best!). The waitstaff speaks English as well. Follow up your filling meal with an espresso and a Tiramisù, for just a little extra.

Photo of food stall in Florence, Tuscany originally posted by Alaskan Dude

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer cheryl tucker

Cheryl Tucker is a freelance writer living in Florence, Italy, for as long as she can. She gave up her apartment in New York City to see about making a life for herself here. She is working on her first novel, edits academic books, and eats very, very well here.

2 responses to “How to eat cheap in Florence”

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  1. A reader says:
    November 12th, 2008 at 08:56

    Great information about how to save money on meal and breakfast. I will surely follow your ideas and addresses that you have mentioned while having tour to Florence.

  2. nancy says:
    September 4th, 2009 at 11:24

    great information, we sure will try your suggestion on cheap food,when we are in Florence 2 weeks from now, thank you !

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