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Old 08-08-2011, 07:40 PM   #1
corky441


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Meals in Italy

I swear, planning will be the death of me

As I make some final plans, I was wondering if anyone who has been on the Viva Italia trip recently could help me out.

Since the are several meals for us to do on our own, Im wondering how much an average "nice" sit-down meal will be ???? I am mostly concerned about dinners in Rome, Florence and Venice. Just a rough idea would be so helpful.

I really don't want to use our credit cards and I'm planning on pre-purchasing some Euros to start with and I'm also getting a Cash passport card preloaded in Euros. I would much rather have more funds on hand than too few

Any help would be most appreciated
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:20 PM   #2
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Well I hope you pack a lot of Euros!! We just returned from the Alpine Magic ABD, with a pre-stay in Venice and the prices are very steep, even for just a pizza lunch. Our first day in Venice, our family of 5 went to a restaurant where we each ordered a pizza and soda - 110 Euro!! Nothing fancy either. That evening we had a dinner in a not-too-fancy restaurant, no alchohol, and it was 230 Euro. I would imagine the prices in the really nice restaurants are pretty steep! The average price for a soda was around 4 Euro in the tourist areas. Also, beware of any type of restaurant that has a "view" or patio that faces any of the popular tourist areas - on a previous trip to Florence, my husband and I enjoyed a croissant and orange juice at one of those cafe's and the bill was 34 Euro! The high prices are just one of the things you have to accept when you travel to Europe. Just be prepared, and read menus before you sit down, but have a great trip!
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:51 PM   #3
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I lived about 40 minutes from Venice for about a year out of the last 2 years and visited Rome 3 times over the last 3. Rome you can find lots of affordable places. Generally speaking the closer you are to tourist attractions the more expensive. Also you pay more to sit down inside and eat (a seating charge, anywhere from 1-5EU per person depending on the restaurant). You will save the most money on the exchange rate if you get cash out of an ATM with your debit card. It's by far the cheapest way to get out money (according to my husband who's lived in Europe for the last 11 years).

We were boring and usually ate at the Hard Rock Cafe in Venice. It's right near Saint Marks Square. We probably paid 20EU or so a person, but free refills on soda's which is nice in the summer months. Soda costs more everywhere. Water, wine etc are much cheaper. You can eat at the cheap eateries on the go for under 7EU/person. Sit down cheaper eateries probably looking at 15-20EU/person.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:59 PM   #4
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We lived in Florence for 3 months and traveled to both Rome and Venice about 6 years ago. I agree with the suggestion to try to get out of the touristy areas to eat. Not only will it be less expensive, but the food will be SO much better. We LOVED Rick Steves' guides for great inexpensive out of the way meals. Don't eat at restaurants offering set price meals for multiple courses- these are designed for tourists. And as another poster mentioned, as soon as you sit down, there is a charge per person (think of it as something like a built in tip). I'd say a typical "nice" meal with a salad, a pasta, and an entree will run you about $40-50 per person. And don't forget to save room for gelato!

We ate at the Hard Rock in Rome because we were desperate for American food (and we had two small kids who had a difficult time sitting through typical 2 hour meals). I ordered iced tea and the waitress who was from the states said she wouldn't charge me for it. I took one sip and knew why- ick! As someone else said, wine will be cheaper than soda. And if you order bottled water and don't want it carbonated, make sure you say so!
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:29 PM   #5
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We put everything on our credit card. You definitely get the best rate from the CC company. However, keep in mind that there may be an international fee on your card. It is still cheaper than running to the bank, getting a bad rate and paying a high fee on top of that. I learned my lesson last time. You do get a better rate at the ATM machine even with the bank fee.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:53 AM   #6
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Ooo! Thanks for asking these questions corky, I have been pondering the same thoughts lately.

As far as getting some Euros in advance, are you are all saying if we use our current banks Savings or Checking account ATM card IN Italy, we will get the best exchange rate? In Italy, are there any advantages to withdrawing from Savings verus Checking account (I'll check with my bank since I assume things could vary between banks).

Similar to corky (whom we happen to be on the same Viva Italia trip with coincidentally), we also planned to get at least some amount of Euros to have in our pockets and be prepared before arriving in Italy.

Does anyone have a rough idea on what the general savings would be waiting to get to Italy and using an ATM versus exchanging $300 - $500 for Euros here in the states before leaving for Italy?

I mean, I know a dollar is a dollar, but if the savings waiting to use an ATM IN Italy for just several hundred dollars is negligible, then I may opt to pay that small amount for the convenience of being prepared and having a few hundred in Euros before arriving. We would then use ATMs in Italy for any additional necessary withdrawals. But if we’re talking getting $50 less for a $300 - $500 exchange versus waiting to get to Italy, then I would probably wait.

However, one other consideration is most ATM’s have a withdrawal limit which may be less than I want to have on hand when I arrive. So I though getting it at home in advance may make more sense, but maybe not?!?

Thanks
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:01 PM   #7
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We went in September. The ABD guides can give you excellent suggestions for all 3 cities. We ate very reasonably at some wonderful places recommended by our guides so ask them. They will provide a wealth of great information.
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:30 PM   #8
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I don't think the rate difference is going to make a world of difference. It could be $20 - $40 for around $500, but that is just a pure guess. It really depends on the rate that the bank gives you versus the best exchange rate. Typically exchange rates are based on the amount of the transactions...the higher the dollar amount, the better the rate. When you charge a credit card, the rates are much lower because they are combining all transactions they get, thus you get the best rate. I'm assuming it is similar with an ATM card. If you go to the bank and exchange $500, you are getting their worst rate. I would definitely take some Euro's with you, but it will be better to find an ATM and withdrawal money there for the rest of the cash you plan on having.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diskidatheart View Post
I don't think the rate difference is going to make a world of difference. It could be $20 - $40 for around $500, but that is just a pure guess. It really depends on the rate that the bank gives you versus the best exchange rate. Typically exchange rates are based on the amount of the transactions...the higher the dollar amount, the better the rate. When you charge a credit card, the rates are much lower because they are combining all transactions they get, thus you get the best rate. I'm assuming it is similar with an ATM card. If you go to the bank and exchange $500, you are getting their worst rate. I would definitely take some Euro's with you, but it will be better to find an ATM and withdrawal money there for the rest of the cash you plan on having.
Me sentiments exactly. This trip has already cost a pretty penny-I may need to sell a kidney when we get back.

At this point I'm not about to nickel & dime( or Euro ) my dining options. I'm going to ITALY and I'm going to have the trip of a lifetime
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Your best life isn't necessarily your favorite life or the one you selfishly want. It's simply the life you're best at.
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the acqua alta.



Me & DH(Dino) Kelly K.C. Magoo Emmett
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corky441 View Post
Me sentiments exactly. This trip has already cost a pretty penny-I may need to sell a kidney when we get back.

At this point I'm not about to nickel & dime( or Euro ) my dining options. I'm going to ITALY and I'm going to have the trip of a lifetime


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Old 08-15-2011, 09:04 PM   #11
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One tip is to notice on your dinner bill if the tip is included in the total price. Some tips are included and sometimes not. Ask if you are not sure. I made the mistake of tipping 20% on the bill when the tip was included already. Boy the waiter was our best friend.Have a wonderful trip.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirthrindr2 View Post
Ooo! Thanks for asking these questions corky, I have been pondering the same thoughts lately.

As far as getting some Euros in advance, are you are all saying if we use our current banks Savings or Checking account ATM card IN Italy, we will get the best exchange rate? In Italy, are there any advantages to withdrawing from Savings verus Checking account (I'll check with my bank since I assume things could vary between banks).

Similar to corky (whom we happen to be on the same Viva Italia trip with coincidentally), we also planned to get at least some amount of Euros to have in our pockets and be prepared before arriving in Italy.

Does anyone have a rough idea on what the general savings would be waiting to get to Italy and using an ATM versus exchanging $300 - $500 for Euros here in the states before leaving for Italy?

I mean, I know a dollar is a dollar, but if the savings waiting to use an ATM IN Italy for just several hundred dollars is negligible, then I may opt to pay that small amount for the convenience of being prepared and having a few hundred in Euros before arriving. We would then use ATMs in Italy for any additional necessary withdrawals. But if we’re talking getting $50 less for a $300 - $500 exchange versus waiting to get to Italy, then I would probably wait.

However, one other consideration is most ATM’s have a withdrawal limit which may be less than I want to have on hand when I arrive. So I though getting it at home in advance may make more sense, but maybe not?!?

Thanks
I am a big advocate of not going without some local currency in your pocket, as I stated in another thread I had transportation issues at the airport in Ireland and I had to take and pay for a cab, I wasn't sure the cost of the cab and I wanted to get a few more Euro but couldn't find a ATM in the airport. So I would bring some.

This is what I did last year, for my first trip to europe, I got $300 worth of Euro through my bank here in the states, then as I needed more cash I used ATM machines, I was fortunate that I already had a bank account with Capital one, because as with their credit cards they don't charge transaction fees on ATM withdrawls.

You will get a better rate using an ATM vs using a currency exchange place in the airport or in the cities you are visiting. I used my credit card also for purchases but I have a Capital One card that I got exclusively for travel to Europe as they don't charge the transaction fees. I personally wouldn't want to be carrying around a lot of Euros if I could help it.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Diskidatheart View Post
We put everything on our credit card. You definitely get the best rate from the CC company. However, keep in mind that there may be an international fee on your card. It is still cheaper than running to the bank, getting a bad rate and paying a high fee on top of that. I learned my lesson last time. You do get a better rate at the ATM machine even with the bank fee.
we were in Rome, Florence and Venice in January. We got a credit card SPECIFICALLY because it did not charge international transaction fees (Capital One)...3% of each purchase adds up.

We ate in some cheap but good places. Overall, I think we spent somewhere between 40-55E for each sit down meal. We often share meals but not always. We had some wonderful ribollita in Siena.

It does cost a bit more to eat in Italy...we also ate at Hard Rock and after 2 wks of Italian food, a real hamburger was pretty darn good...but it's ITALY for heaven's sake. ITALY!!!
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