How to Dine for Under $10 in Italy

Updated: Jun 12

Italians are known for their incredible meals filled with multiple courses of bruschetta, pizza, pasta, caprese, tiramisu, and so much more, but that can get expensive if you’re traveling Italy on a budget. We want to show you how to make it possible to have a delicious meal for under $10.00– without missing out. If you’re wondering how to save money when traveling in Italy, this is a top tip to have in your back pocket! The secret: apericena!


The word apericena comes from aperitivo (drinks and light bites before dinner) and cena (dinner). So, you can think of apericena as a heavy-handed aperitivo, where you really don’t even need dinner afterwards because you’ve been able to fill up on a variety of appetizers. Locals love to meet for apericena to wine and dine before dinner to open up their appetites for the main event or just go on hanging out while sipping drinks and munching. As visitors, we can embrace this as a fun opportunity to fill up on apericena and remove the need to pay for a huge meal, all while getting to be part of the cultural happenings. This secret tip is KEY if you’re traveling Italy on a budget!


As a travel company that offers experiences to integrate visitors with the most authentic side of Italy, we want you to know how to fully immerse yourself in the culture of Italy by indulging in the delectable cuisine, whether you’re traveling Italy on a budget or not! Watch or read below to understand exactly how apericena works and how to partake in it, as told by CET’s founder, Sierra Busch!


The Easiest Way to Save Money When Traveling in Italy: Apericena

Apericena happens around 5-8pm, but you need to first do some local research to know the best place to go because the quality and abundance of apericena varies from place to place. A quick Google search or asking a local will do the trick!


Once you’ve arrived at your selected place, you’ll simply order a drink as you normally would, likely paying between 8 and 10 Euros (around $9.50 USD). Along with your drink, you’ll gain access to a buffet of scrumptious appetizers and side dishes, or sometimes they’ll bring you a plate of whatever they’re serving for apericena that evening. Just to give you an idea of what to expect at an Italian apericena, I have seen pasta, veggies, caprese salad, pizza, sandwiches, pan-fried zucchini, bruschetta, cheese, prosciutto, and so much more! The buffet is all you can eat (until it’s gone, so arrive early!) and it’s perfect for those of us trying to stick to traveling Italy on a budget.


Another tip I have for saving money while traveling in Italy is to go to the grocery stores! In the back of the stores by the deli, there is often a section of pre-made meals or dishes. They will have pans of pizza and pasta where you can choose how much you would like to buy and simply purchase it by weight.


They also have side dishes that you can purchase, similar to the ones given at apericena! This is a great choice for vegans and vegetarians too, because they have a lot of yummy veggie options for purchase. Going this route is also perfect after a long day when you just want to eat in your Airbnb or on your beautiful terrace.


You’ve just learned two great tips on how to save money when traveling Italy on a budget, including how to dine for under $10 in Italy! We would love to tell you more about staying on a budget in Italy or more about the traditions of apericena, so feel free to reach out!


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