Sometimes it seems like the web is a nagging mother. Articles titled “Ten things you shouldn’t do on vacation” or “eight ways to tick off an Italian” seem to dominate the web right now. If the travel corner of the web was like an episode of Seinfeld there’d be a major character called the “Travel Nazi” who would tell you in no uncertain terms that he’d whack off your kneecaps if you ever ordered a Cappuccino after 10am because “Italians just don’t do that”. For what it’s worth, I do not accept the Travel Nazi nomination and if elected I will refuse to serve.
The question is: what if you really wanted a cappuccino after lunch? What if that foamy cuppa would be the one and only thing that could transport you to your good place? Hell, you should have one, shouldn’t you? It’s all relative. Italians won’t [normally] kill you for asking for a cappuccino outside the normal window of opportunity. Oscar the bar guy will just shake his head, roll his eyes and mutter to himself the word “tourist” just like he did when you walked in, then he’ll go about his business making what you’ve ordered as long as the milk doesn’t look or smell like curdled road kill.
Anyway, the point was going to be that there is very little practical information on the web. I found some this morning and was surprised.
I mean, if you’re planning a trip somewhere, the first thing that pops into your mind is going to be “how expensive is it?” I guarantee it. (Unless you’re a corporate CEO in America who has every dime of his ten million a year salary hidden overseas in a tax-free account so that we the people can pay the enormous costs of his police protection out of our collective tax pockets like the complacent sheep we are.)
But I’ve digressed again, becoming ever more curmudgeonly with age and the endless, elephantine rampage of idiotic supply side economics. What I found useful as all get out is this: How much does it cost to spend a month in Umbria, Italy?
The author assumes you spend your month in a self-catering property with kitchen. Actually, she makes a lot of assumptions, because we all travel differently. Some of us drink quite a bit of wine, for example, while others might enjoy torture museums.
In general though, good food costs quite a bit less than it does in the US. Great wine from important people in the wine trade costs about the same in Italy as it does in California, but there are simple wines at the grocery store that you can drink without fear for one or two euros per bottle. (You can also get cheap and good wine from huge vats or from a contraption that looks like a gas pump in wine stores or at wineries. This kind of wine is called vino sfuso.) Housing you can arrange before you get to Italy, so you’ll know what that costs. Getting a group and renting a big place is pretty cost effective, usually.
And just so you know: since I wrote this post I came up with a page of my own about the cost of a vacation in Italy.