Last semester, I studied abroad in Italy (a.k.a. every foodie's favorite spot), and I don't want to sound cliche, but it literally changed my life. Besides having fun and traveling around Europe, I ate countless amounts of delicious Italian food.

During my time in Rome, I was able to visit many restaurants and bars, and I learned many tips to follow when it comes to eating the Italian way. Here is a list of six tips I think every foodie should keep in mind when visiting Rome; besides eating tons of yummy food, you will also save your wallet!

Gail Rabasca

1. Aperitivo is life.

Marie Chantal Marauta

Believe me; this is the happiest happy hour you’ll ever attend. Aperitivo is not like the traditional happy hour we know in the US. Instead of focusing on drinks, it focuses on food. The way it works is that bars offer drinks that are more expensive than they normally are but drinks come with free food.

You must be aware of the place you choose to get aperitivo. While in some places you can pay €5-10 for a drink with free all-you-can-eat buffet, in another place, they will charge the same price with only one food choice. In order to find the best option, look at their aperitivo menu and food choices in advance. 

2. Eat like a local.

Mariana Hulian

Sometimes when we travel, we think that eating at food places near tourist attractions means eating authentic local food. This is definitely not the case with Rome. When eating out in Rome, and basically any city in Italy, you should avoid the tourist traps. Besides being expensive, they are not as good as you might think.

Instead, try to go to more "low-key" restaurants far from the popular places. A restaurant doesn't have to be big, luxurious, or full of people to be good. Avoid restaurants that have waiters outside desperately trying to get more customers. This is also the case for gelato; gelato places near tourist attractions are expensive, and the gelato is not the best. Trastevere and Testaccio are two neighborhoods in Rome that have lots of good places where you can eat authentic Italian food without paying a ridiculous price.

3. Go to the markets.

Mariana Hulian

I know that eating out while traveling is the best and most convenient option, BUT I highly recommend visiting an authentic Italian market. In the markets, you can explore many different options from fruits to countless types of pasta, not to mention all the different types of Italian chocolate. You won't be able to leave without buying a few.

When walking around the city, visit the Testaccio Market where you will find anything from spices to different kinds of fish. If you happen to be hungry at that time, try one of the paninis or pastries. Campo di Fiori Market is another good market, and it's one of the oldest markets in Rome. All of the products and food here are amazing.

4. Don't sit down at the bar.

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha, cream
Alex Frank

Let me start by explaining to you what an "Italian bar" is. In Italy, bars are places where you can get coffee, soft drinks and liquor, as well as fresh pastries and paninis. The typical bar scene is an Italian eating their "colazione" (breakfast) consisting of a cup of coffee and a pastry while standing at the bar. Many small typical bars don't have tables and chairs, so you have to eat at the counter while you chat. 

I encourage you to eat breakfast one day at a small bar, and order a cappuccino and a chocolate cornetto while you stand there talking with your friend.

5. Two words: House. Wine.

red wine, alcohol, wine, glass, cheers, beverage, liquor
Caroline Ingalls

It's short and simple: always order the house wine. Restaurants will give you the option of ordering the "vino della casa" rosso or bianco, which means red or white house wine. This is the best wine option you can get. Besides being cheap, it usually is a great quality wine. In most places you can order a glass, half liter, or even a liter if you're feeling like having a long talk with friends after dinner. 

6. Be careful with tipping.

coffee, tea, beer, pizza, money, bill, cash
Anna Arteaga

Usually waiters don't count on tips because they are paid a fair and livable wage. People will sometimes leave some tip as courtesy, depending on the service they receive. On the other hand, if the bill has a service charge then don't leave anything.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that tips in Italy are left in cash. There is no option of adding a tip to a credit card charge. 

#SpoonTip: Always have some cash in your wallet, specially coins. Some places won't accept cards or big bills. 

Follow these six tips for your next visit to Rome, and you will  have an excellent food experience without paying too much. My final tip is to ENJOY the food! When's the next time that you will get the chance of eating pizza margherita from an authentic Italian pizzeria in a random street in Trastevere?