By Jessica Dante
Florence may be a swamped with tourists most of the year, but you can still get an authentic Italian meal without draining your wallet of all its precious euros. Here’s my guide to eating on the cheap in Florence…
via Mama’s Bakery
The Italians aren’t big on breakfast, but if you’re looking for something more than a croissant and cappuccino for some early morning sustenance, head to Mama’s Bakery (Via della Chiesa, 34r) for a bacon egg and cheese sandwich. It’s the closest you’ll get to a greasy, New York-style breakfast nosh.
If you’re craving a large plate of breakfast food, try Astor Cafe‘s brunch deal – you can choose what you want on your plate from the brunch list, including pancakes, sausage, fruit, French toast and more. It includes a coffee or water, all for €7 (Piazza del Duomo, 20R).
If you’re in the mood for a delish and cheap lunch deal, check out I Fratellini (Via dei Cimatori 3), a hole-in-the-wall panini shop between La Piazza Della Repubblica and La Piazza Della Signoria. Most sandwiches are €2.50 and you can grab a cheap glass of wine while you’re at it.
If you’re near the Santa Croce area, try Antico Noe (Volta di San Piero 6r) – the paninis run around €4.50, but you get a lot of sandwich for the money and the menu has a tonne of unique offerings.
Not in the mood for a panini? Head to Paszkowski, right on La Piazza Della Repubblica, where you can grab a big plate of delicious pasta for only five euros. Pick which one (or two) types of pasta you want and enjoy.
via Jeroen Moes
Many Italian bars host what’s called aperitivo – it’s sort of like a happy hour, typically happening between the hours of five to nine. They usually work like this – you buy a drink, and then get access to all-you-can-eat appetisers.
Colle Bereto (in Piazza Strozzi) hosts one with tonnes of delicious apps from all different types of cuisines. Kitch is super well known and is regarded as one of the best aperitivos in Florence – and it’s only €8.50 (Viale Antonio Gramsci, 3r)
When you’re ready for your late night dinner (Italians typically eat around 9pm), your choices are endless. An inexpensive dinner option is Gusta Pizza (Via Maggio 46R), which has arguably the best pizza in Florence. Margarita pizzas are only €4, and if you’re lucky (and a girl), they’ll craft your pizza into a heart.
If you’re looking for more selection, Il Gatto e La Volpe (Via Ghibellina 151r) is a favourite with both visitors and locals – be sure to try their balsamic.
Last but not least is Ristorante Dante – the food is delicious and they love study abroad-ers, so much that if you tell them that you’re an international student, they’ll throw you a free bottle of Chianti (Piazza Nazario Sauro 12r).
Mmm, want more food inspiration? Check out our round-up of 8 Exciting Food Markets
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Author bio: In January 2012, author Jessica Dante sold all of her possessions, packed up two suitcases, and moved to Florence, Italy. Her original plan was to become an ESL teacher, brush up on her Italian, and eat her weight in gelato, but instead she returned to her original roots of social media consulting and is working for two companies based in Florence. She also writes for online travel magazine Bohemian Trails and for her own blog, You’ll Find Me in Florence. You can also follow her adventures in Italy on Twitter (@Jess_Dante).