• Italy's news in English
 

US tourists outraged over €42 ice cream bill

Published: 31 Jul 2014 09:48 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 Jul 2014 15:23 GMT+02:00

James and Mariann Luciani had just finished dinner when they and a relative stopped for an ice cream at Bar il Caffè, just a stone’s throw from the Trevi Fountain.

Having paid around €3 or €4 for an ice cream so far on their Italian holiday, they were shocked when the bill came to €42.

The Lucianis contested the charge, only to be shown a menu - having not checked before ordering - in which the price for an ice cream was set at €13 apiece. The waiter told them that they had, in fact, been given a discount as they were relieved of the €2.50 per person cover charge.

“We’d just paid €59 for our entire dinner, including a litre of wine, and then were charged €42 for gelato!” James told The Local.

“We’ve been careful in watching out for pickpockets in Rome, but I never thought I would get scammed here,” he said.

The couple paid the bill but, unsure whether such a high charge was legal, they returned to the bar on Thursday morning with the police.

Mediating between the waiter and the Lucianis, a police officer checked the menu and found that the price was written down. As the menu was available, the bar was not breaking Italian law.

SEE ALSO: How to avoid getting ripped off in Rome

“I should have checked the menu,” James told The Local, adding that he and his wife had previously been guests of Italian relatives and so had not encountered such problems.

Bar Caffe Rome by Rosie Scammell

When approached by The Local, the waiter said that he only worked at the bar and did not decide the menu prices.

When the manager arrived at Bar il Caffè later on Thursday, he told The Local that he was an "honest" person and the problem was the customers' fault.

"It's their fault...I advise foreigners to read the menu," he said, declining to give his name and pointing to menus on a number of outdoor tables.

"Italy isn't like other countries. Here there's always a different price at the bar and sat at a table," the manager added, pointing to a sign above the ice cream stand which in English states the cheaper "take-away" prices.

"An ice cream in this cup is big," the manager said, holding up a glass bowl which carries the €13 price tag. "You could have it for lunch!"

But the Lucianis are not the first visitors to complain that the place is a tourist trap. The bar’s TripAdvisor page gets a resounding “terrible” rating from 25 of its 28 reviews.

A British tourist who visited earlier this month described the bar as a “complete rip off” to “avoid at all costs” after she was charged €29 for two drinks.

The practice of overcharging tourists in Rome gained international headlines last summer, when a group of British tourists were charged €64 for four ice creams. The authorities were so embarrassed by the uproar that they were invited back to the city to experience the best of Italian hospitality.

But high prices are not only found in the Italian capital. Last August an Italian billionaire, Flavio Briatore, took to social media to denounce a bar in Sardinia which charged a tourist €20 for a fruit juice.

Have you had a similar experience in Italy? Send your stories to: news@thelocal.it

READ MORE: Tourist outrage over pricey fruit juice

Don't miss a story about Italy - join us on Facebook and Twitter

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
700 feared dead in Med migrant ship 'massacre'
A migrant centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa. Photo: AFP

700 feared dead in Med migrant ship 'massacre'

Seven hundred people are feared to have drowned when a fishing boat carrying migrants to Europe capsized off Libya, the UN's refugee agency said Sunday. READ  

Benetton pays $1.1m into factory disaster fund
A relative of a victim of the Rana Plaza building collapse weeps as she takes part in a protest marking the first anniversary of the disaster. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP

Benetton pays $1.1m into factory disaster fund

Italian fashion retailer Benetton announced Friday it would pay $1.1 million into an international fund to compensate victims of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh two years ago in which 1,138 people died. READ  

Navy takes control of boat seized off Libya
The boat was reportedly seized and taken towards the Libyan port of Misrata. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

Navy takes control of boat seized off Libya

The Italian navy said it has taken control of a Sicilian fishing boat that was seized by armed men off Libya in the early hours of Friday. READ  

Fiat Chrysler sets bonus scheme for Italy workers
A banner of Fiat - Chrysler in front of Fiat Headquarters at Lingotto in Turin. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Fiat Chrysler sets bonus scheme for Italy workers

US-Italian carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced an incentive system for employees in Italy tied to the group's productivity and profits in a move it hopes will improve prickly labour-management relations. READ  

Italian fishing boat seized off Libya’s coast
The fishing boat was taken to Libya's Misrata port. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

Italian fishing boat seized off Libya’s coast

An Italian fishing boat was seized off Libya's coast in what is believed to have been an act of piracy, according to news reports. READ  

Woman dies after botched nose operation

Woman dies after botched nose operation

A woman who was admitted to hospital with a broken nose died after a doctor failed to provide her with sufficient oxygen during the operation. The anaesthetist has now been found guilty of manslaughter. READ  

Lesbian shares custody in landmark Italian case
The Palermo ruling has set a precedent in Italy. Photo: JK Beitz

Lesbian shares custody in landmark Italian case

An Italian woman has been given the right to shared custody of her children after splitting up from their biological mother in a case that has set a precedent for gay couples in Italy. READ  

Italian government warns Whirlpool against layoffs
Whirlpool plans to cut 1,350 jobs in Italy. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/AFP

Italian government warns Whirlpool against layoffs

Italy's government joined unions on Thursday in denouncing reported plans by US appliance giant Whirlpool to cut 1,350 jobs a year after it took over Italian rival Indesit. READ  

Man kills mum for affair with rival mafia boss
Photo: Shutterstock

Man kills mum for affair with rival mafia boss

A 22-year-old man has been arrested in Rosarno in southern Italy for allegedly killing his mother, for having an affair with a rival mafia boss. READ  

Foreign taste for Italian cheese spurs sales
Demand for parmesan is especially robust in the UK. Photo: Shutterstock

Foreign taste for Italian cheese spurs sales

Exports of Italian cheese and dairy products rose to a new record worth €2.2 billion in 2014, as appetite for parmesan and gorgonzola grew in northern European countries, farm research body ISMEA said. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
National
How to live in Italy without speaking Italian
Politics
Revealed: the Italians who worship Mussolini
National
My Italian habits that foreigners just don’t get
International
Did the Pope reject France's envoy to the Vatican because he was gay?
Culture
Illnesses that only seem to strike Italians
Ferrara lawyers want crucifixes back in court
National
'Italy’s probably the worst place for business'
Ten ways Italians celebrate Easter
National
'I don’t see signs of a turn in the economy'
Business & Money
Ten 'Italian' firms that aren't actually Italian
Opinion
Why are Italians such crazy drivers?
Culture
Pompeii Villa boosts Italy heritage hopes
National
'I want Knox extradited if verdict upheld': lawyer
Culture
Seven ways to get tongue-tied in Italian
Technology
Scientists reconstruct DNA from fascist sperm
National
Italian police: 'Isis flag' was jacket in tree
National
Furore over Naples nude nun billboard
Politics
Berlusconi: Two decades of courtroom saga
Health
Italy's C-section rate among Europe's highest
National
Rome bans Ben Hur filming at ancient site
International
Why Libya is ringing alarm bells in Italy
National
How Islamic college plan has split Italian town
National
James Bond's best Italian moments
Sport
Purrfect catch: Italian twins land giant catfish
National
VIDEO: Massive sinkhole opens up in Naples
Culture
Italians 'don't love' their language
National
In pictures: Italians mock Isis on Twitter
Opinion
Could Isis terrorists really invade Italy?
International
EU to increase migrant aid to Italy
National
Lampedusa: Tiny Italian island swamped by migrant tide
Culture
Italy sells off Mussolini buildings to raise cash
National
Italians are Europe's most reckless drivers
National
Why flirty Italians still don't do online dating
Gallery
Top 10: the most romantic places to propose in Italy
National
Top 10: your favourite Italian words
International
Bond meets Snowden: The HSBC whistleblower
Education
Ten common mistakes Italians make in English
National
What makes life in Bolzano so good?
National
Swiss town's ploy against workers living in Italy 'not racist'
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Travel
How the weak euro is boosting tourism to Italy
Politics
Italy sends mixed signals on Greek debt
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,574
jobs available