Outrage over ‘festive charge’ on coffee in Turin

A €1 New Year's Eve price hike at an ice cream parlour and café has provoked backlash on social media in Italy.

Outrage over 'festive charge' on coffee in Turin
Photo: Salomé Chaussure/Flickr

One resident was so upset by the extra charge – which is equivalent to the average price of a coffee in Italy – that he took to Facebook to vent.

On New Year's Eve, he went to Menodiciotto and bought two espresso and two marocchino coffees – a northern Italian drink with a shot of espresso, milk froth and cocoa powder – for which he was charged €14 – €4 of which was listed on the receipt as a ‘festive supplement’, or €1 for each drink.

In his Facebook post, the man asked: “Since when does a festive supplement exist in ice cream parlours?”

Other users were quick to comment on the photo. One criticized the café, saying, “this is why tourism in Turin isn't taking off”, while others leapt to its defence, pointing out that areas like Venice are much pricier.

Eventually, the gelateria responded, arguing that the charge had been clearly advertised. “The festive supplement, outlined on the menus and on a sign on the door, was the €1 increase in price for items bought on the evening of December 31st (from 8pm onwards)”.

Manager Marco Oliva told La Stampa on Sunday: “During the holidays, especially when we are open during evening hours, we pay our employees more money and so we thought the charge was necessary.”

Italy has hit headlines for its price hikes before, but previously tourists have been the main victims, usually caught out by a high 'table charge' while locals sip their espressos standing at the bar.

In July 2014, two American tourists were shocked at a €42 charge for two ice creams, while in May 2013, news that a group of holidaymakers from the UK paid €64 for four ice-creams in Rome made global headlines. That story garnered so much attention that the group was later invited back to the capital by shame-faced authorities and treated like royalty.

An espresso at the local bar is a daily habit for many Italians, and the country has a strong tradition of keeping coffee prices as affordable as possible. Between 2008 and 2013 there was a five-year freeze on coffee prices, despite a rise in VAT, leading many baristas to complain that they were barely making a profit on hot drinks.

In 2015, figures from Istat, the national statistics office, showed Turin was the priciest place in the country for a coffee, with an espresso costing an average of €1.04. Across Italy, the average espresso costs €0.94, with a cappuccino costing an average of €1.27.

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Turin chosen to host Eurovision Song Contest in 2022

The next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2022 will be held in the northern Italian city of Turin, organisers confirmed on Friday.

Italy's Maneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam.
Italy's Maneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam. Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP

“Turin has won the race to become the host city of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest, having triumphed over 16 other competing bids,” read a statement on the contest’s official website.

“The Grand Final will be held in PalaOlimpico on Saturday 14 May with Semi-Finals on 10 and 12 May.”

“We won! Turin has won!” mayor Chiara Appendino wrote in a celebratory post on Facebook.

Italian state broadcaster Rai said Turin had beaten off competition from the cities of Milan, Bologna, Rimini and Pesaro to host the event.

READ ALSO: Italy wins Eurovision: ‘We just want to say to the whole world, rock’n’roll never dies!’

Turin will be the third Italian city to host the event after Naples (which hosted in 1965) and Rome (1991), after Rome-based rock band Måneskin’s victory in Rotterdam earlier this year with the song ‘Zitti e buoni’.

That event, watched by 183 million people, was Italy’s third Eurovision win and its first for three decades.

‘Turin is the perfect Host City for the 66th Eurovision Song Contest,” said Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl.

“As we saw during the 2006 Winter Olympics, PalaOlimpico exceeds all the requirements needed to stage a global event of this scale and we have been very impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment from the City of Turin who will welcome thousands of fans next May.”

“This will be the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Italy in 30 years and, together with our Host broadcaster Rai, we are determined to make it a special one.’

Turin was home to the 2006 Winter Olympics and is hosting the ATP Finals tennis tournament next month.