How to buy a sandwich in Italy
One of the most basic tips for a cheap holiday is how to get a meal for a few euros. But in some parts of Italy sandwich can be hard to buy.
It’s kind of embarrassing, but it has taken me around fifteen years to figure out how to buy a sandwich in Italy. I know that in Rome and Florence and around the big tourist sights, there are sandwich cars and cafés advertising Panini, Piada, Piadina, and Toast, but they do not exist in ordinary southern towns. Or they are only available in the evenings, and I want my sandwich at noon.
I have lost count of the number of times, I’ve walked into a café and asked for a Panini, only to be met with a shrug, a shake of the head and maybe two palms making scissor movements. Sometime you can have a salad or a proper meal instead, but most of the time there is nothing.
Head for the Salumeria
Unless you go to a proper, old fashioned ‘salumeria‘ or ‘alimentari’ food store, where they sell bread rolls, cheese and cold cuts in slices from a counter at the back. Ask the man or woman behind the counter for a bread roll with ham and cheese, and he or she will cut and weigh off the proper amounts and hand you the most delicious wrapped panini to be paid at the cash register on the way out. It is really quite easy.
Outside in the sun, you head for the nearest park bench or café serving soft drinks, sit down and unwrap you luncheon package. It’s a admirably simple pleasure, but hard to figure out, if you are more familiar with supermarkets and cafés with a proper lunch menu.