Venice

Hundred-euro cafe' bill stirs controversy in Venice

Receipt for coffee and bitters posted on Facebook

Hundred-euro cafe' bill stirs controversy in Venice

Venice, August 19 - A bill rung up in a Venetian cafe' and posted on Facebook stirred controversy in the local papers of Italy's famed city of waterways on Monday over alleged tourist gouging. Local newspapers wrote of how a group of seven Roman visitors were handed a tab of 108.80 euros for four coffees and three bitters at a cafe' in Venice's popular tourist mecca, Saint Mark's Square. "Musical accompaniment" padded the total by 42 euros, while the alcohol cost 44.80 euros. The owner of the cafe' justified the bill saying, "Tourists are given a menu where all the prices are indicated, including the musical supplement". An official from a local business association also defended the bill. "If those Roman tourists had taken those coffees and bitters 100 meters away, outside of the piazza, they would have certainly paid a different price," said Ernesto Pancin, the provincial secretary of the Federation of Public Commerce (Fipe). "I'm sick of these episodes that continuously attack Venice and allegedly fleecing locales. They seem to me (made by) people who don't know how to get around in the world. What did they think they'd pay in a cafe' that is the top both in service and quality, seated in Saint Mark's Square and with an orchestra that plays for them?" Pancin added. "Some people should stay at home. I'll play the devil's advocate: that coffee, it seems to me, should have cost at least 20 euros for the overhead that our businesses have".

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