Living it up on a small budget
Students around the world have made an art of living frugally. Here are some tips from them that tourists visiting Italy will find helpful. Instead of eating in restaurants, use the neighbourhood markets and discount alimentari. Buy bread, cheese, fruit and cold cuts at the outdoor markets that are open from early morning until 2 p.m. and have a picnic in the park or in the shadow of a monument. Buy something ready-made at a tavola calda or rosticceria and eat in a nearby osteria or wine shop.
Pizza al taglio is excellent and much better nutritionally than a hamburger and fries. In Rome, save your shopping for postcards, pictorial guides and souvenirs for the day you visit the Vatican and then buy them at wholesale prices on Borgo Pio and via del Mascherino where the best prices can be found.
Take your coffee, drink or ice cream standing up at the bar like the Italians do and save the sitting down occasions for “very tired feet” moments. Sitting at the café table costs more than twice as much.
Always double check the size of the currency you give when paying a restaurant, shop or taxi driver, and count your change right away. Be sure you receive a copy of your restaurant bill or conto and hold on to it at least until you are far away from the restaurant. The Italian tax police are cracking down with stiff fines for customers and owners when receipts are not given. Similar advice for those tempted to buy fake designer bags and pirated CDs from street vendors-just don’t, its against the law.
Mid-January and mid-July are the times for annual sales or saldi in clothing and shoe shops when the big and very small sizes of everything are available at reduced prices.
For cruise passengers sailing into Mediterranean ports, check out these 10 money saving tips: http://50yearsinitaly.blogspot.it/2012/10/10-money-saving-tips-for-mediterranean.html