• 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
Italy's property sector struggles to recover
Property prices in Italy continue to fall. Photo: Rome property photo: Shutterstock

Italy's property sector struggles to recover

Property prices in Italy dropped a further 0.7 percent during the first three months of this year as the country’s housing market struggles to recover from the economic crisis. READ  

Travel
A day out in...Procida
Sunset over the island of Procida. Photo: Will Hornby

A day out in...Procida

Often overshadowed by Capri and Ischia, the island of Procida in the Bay of Naples can actually make for a more relaxing and less expensive day out than its bigger neighbours. READ  

Passenger fury over BA’s late Italy airport switch
The BA flight to London Gatwick was rerouted from Rome to Naples. Photo: Mark Harkin

Passenger fury over BA’s late Italy airport switch

British Airways passengers, or at least the lucky few who made it back to London from Italy on Wednesday night, vented their anger after their flight was rerouted from Rome to Naples without sufficient prior warning. READ  

In pictures
Animals cool off with ice lollies at Rome zoo
Orangutans Petronilla and Zoe cool off in the shade with an iced lolly. Photo Bioparco di Roma

Animals cool off with ice lollies at Rome zoo

Zookeepers at a Rome zoo have taken a unique approach to ensure the animals keep cool during the latest heatwave: give them ice lollies. READ  

Italy amends contentious fertility law
A human egg is fertilized. Photo: Eugene Ermolovich

Italy amends contentious fertility law

Italy's health minister Beatrice Lorenzin signed new guidelines on assisted fertility on Wednesday, updating Italy's current restrictive laws which date to 2004. READ  

Migrant crisis
Trafficker jailed for 18 years over boat disaster
At least 366 people died in the boat disaster in October 2013. Phot: Roberto Solomone/AFP

Trafficker jailed for 18 years over boat disaster

A Tunisian people smuggler who survived one of the worst migrant boat disasters in the Mediterranean was given an 18-year jail sentence on Wednesday. READ  

How to keep cool like an ancient Roman
A centurion crosses the road. Photo: Filippo Monteforte

How to keep cool like an ancient Roman

As the mercury rises in Italy and the days and nights get unbearable, we look to the ancient world for tips on staying cool. READ  

Two more arrested in Italy anti-terror sweep
Twelve people have been arrested in Italy as part of an anti-terror sweep. Photo: Shutterstock

Two more arrested in Italy anti-terror sweep

UPDATED: Two North Africans have been arrested in Rome on suspicion of being part of an al-Qaeda-inspired cell that was planning attacks in Italy and North Africa. READ  

Gervinho denies chopper demand to Al-Jazira
Roma striker Gervinho has hit out at claims he requested a helicopter and a private beach as part a UAE transfer deal. Photo. Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Gervinho denies chopper demand to Al-Jazira

Roma striker Gervinho has hit out at claims he requested a helicopter and a private beach as part of the deal that would take him from the Serie A club to Al-Jazira in the United Arab Emirates. READ  

Girl, 16, raped by man posing as police officer
The 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped in the Prati area of Rome. Photo: Jeffrey Nunes

Girl, 16, raped by man posing as police officer

A man has been arrested in Rome on suspicion of raping a 16-year-old girl in the Prati district of the Italian capital on Monday night. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Chaos deepens at Rome's blaze-hit airport
National
Italy raises terror alert after attacks
National
Sardinia's poor give all to refugees
National
A beginner's guide to aperitivo in Italy
Fake Italian restaurant tops TripAdvisor ranking
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
National
Italian grandfather, 91, completes middle school
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Is this Italy's most violent sport?
National
Italy smashes record for tallest Lego tower
Travel
Dark tourism: Italy's creepiest attractions
National
Italo-American cuisine mocked on Facebook
National
Italy's immigrants send billions back home
National
Why Italians aren’t having more babies
National
The pros and cons of being an au pair in Italy
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
National
Italy: we'll hurt Europe over migrant crisis
Top that! Italy snatches pizza title from Spain
Travel
Most liveable cities: five neglected Italian gems
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Politics
Berlusconi and Putin: an enduring love
National
Italy has fourth highest petrol costs in world
Features
Six bizarre health tips Italian grans swear by
Turning away migrants 'heartless': Sicily mayor
National
Italy okays proton therapy in cancer case
Nuns stuck in lift for three nights 'drank urine'
Five insane ways EU money was blown in Italy
Yes, it's still a crime to insult Italy's president
National
Nine in ten Italians don't like Roma: survey
National
VIDEO: €619 fine for nuns' Italy beach photo trip
Politics
VIDEO: Mattarella meets Britain's Queen
National
VIDEO: Rome police help ducks cross busy road
National
Tide turning in Italy over gay marriage
National
Italian court tells veggie mum: feed your son meat
National
7 ways Italian culture will change your life
National
Italian town sets new Tiramisù record
National
US finds Pompeii frescoes robbed in 1950s
Travel
10 things to do in Milan when you visit Expo
National
Producer warns of global Prosecco shortage
IN PICTURES: Berlusconi joins Instagram
National
Italy starts to show the strains of migrant influx
Migrant gets permit for saving drowning woman
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

3,479
jobs available