Picnicking in Italy
Lots of people visiting Italy are looking to save some money when it comes to their food budget. Others just love to people-watch. And still others just like the outdoors. If any of these types are you, then you will definitely love the experience of what I call "lunch on your own." Whether you want to sit on a bench or spread out on a blanket a picnic lunch can be a fun, memorable time in Italy.
Here are a few tips for “picnicking” in Italy
Pick up prepared hot items at a deli. In Italy, a deli is called a salumeria, gastronomia or an alimentare. These shops will provide utensils, plates, and napkins for their "take-away" food.
Open-air food markets have fresh fruit, bread, cheese, olives, and meats they will slice for you. Everything you need to make your own sandwich. Some larger markets might even have fresh pasta you can “take away.”
The local supermercato (grocery store) also has everything you need for an outdoor lunch including the wine and beer! To make a more elaborate lunch hit up the store's deli section. It’s similar to what you find in the states.
Find a food truck or a Panini store. Both operate similarly to the salumeria and/or alimentare above. And provide all the napkins, etc.
Beware of local restrictions for sitting in public places. Especially high traffic (tourist) areas. Places like the Spanish Steps in Rome and St. Mark’s Square in Venice won’t allow you to sit and have a lunch spread with a blanket and all. If you want a full sit-down on the blanket lunch followed by a short nap, head to the closest park.
Rome - Borghese Gardens
Florence - Cascine Park
Milan - Sempione Park
Venice - Sant’Elena Gardens
If a quick lunch break with a little people watching is more your style, chose a bench in any local piazza or square, most smaller Church steps, even along the river’s edge. Some cities have boardwalks along their river with benches lining the way.
Always, always take all of your trash with you. You can find waist-high, round, brown trash cans every few feet in most of Italy’s city centers. Italy is proud of its recycling habits. If you can’t find a trash can, look for the nearest recycling bins.
Now that I have provided a few ideas on how to do an outdoor lunch on your own, I hope you will enjoy the experience.
What tips do you have for picnicking in Italy? I hope you will share them with our readers by dropping your tip in the Comment section below.