€ 24 for two cups of coffee at the bar.
The Venice Scams reach new and never before seen heights. It’s kind of hard to believe but two women visiting Venice for the day were charged 24 euro for two perfectly normal coffees. And they weren’t even sitting down but enjoying their treat standing up at the bar. 24 euro, well, that has to be some sort of a record. Not even the most expensive establishments on Saint Mark’s Square can compete with that.
– I paid because I was shocked. I was so upset that I couldn’t react, was what one of the women, who actually is from Padova and not really a scammable tourist anyway, told the journalists.
I could have been too. Coming up to the cashier with a few measle coins in your hand just to be presented with a bill of astronomic proportions.
Venice Scams as bars and restaurants.
Venice is expensive, and the Venice scams are many. You have to be street-wise and know where to go and where not to go. The bar in question is called Rivo Alto. It’s situated right on the San Marco side at the Rialto bridge. Just the fact that it’s right there, should make you doubt, and maybe walk a few steps away from the busiest tourist zones.
What I know about this particular place is that it’s not more scammy than anyone else in that neighborhood. I don’t drink my morning coffee there, but I’m sure they make an excellent java.
– They didn’t even put the coffees on the receipt, but it was written “banco” (bar) 24 euro, the poor day-travelers claimed.
Scams in other parts of the world.
I have traveled a lot. In Italy, in Europe, and sometimes in the world. About Italy, I can easily say that for a foreigner, it’s sometimes tricky to not get deceived. But that goes for most parts of the world. There are two details that put the tourist at a disadvantage:
- The traveler more often than not finds himself in the same spot as other travelers. There is a very good chance that he encounters scammers, pickpockets, and bad hotel deals just because the people who have made scamming a commercial activity work where the tourists are. You are at greater risk in London than you are in Barton-upon-Humber.
- Different countries have different rules. It is difficult to understand how to go about things in a strange environment. That is true about both how to avoid scammers and pickpockets, and how the laws and general rules work. My mom was robbed of her wallet five minutes after getting off the Airport shuttle in Croatia. She didn’t even notice it.
To defend yourself against thieves, and life-changing bar tickets, you have to study your opponent. And, of course, the more you travel, the better you get at keeping him a bay.
Venice actually has done quite a lot to make the city safe for tourists (Well, they live from them so that’s what you should expect.). And so has the rest of Italy. There are ways to not get ripped off. And here are a few tips:
- Prices are exposed on the wall of the bar. That’s the law. If you sit down at a table you have the menu, but even if you just want a standing coffee or a beer, the price must be on the wall. That is your price guarantee.
- Again… If you can, don’t go to the restaurants near Saint Mark’s, Rialto, or the general area between those two sites. I know lots of awesome places right there, but you can’t just walk around and choose randomly. If you have no idea where to go, stay away from the central part. Away from the most touristic parts of the city, you can still find yourself at a bad trattoria, or a lousy bacaro. But at least the risk of steep markups is much less.
- Remember that Italians are a talking people. Ask, and ask again. If you don’t like the ticket, ask why it’s so expensive. Maybe they did a mistake, and if so they will correct it.
- Follow the locals, and if you can’t, ask at the hotel, the B&B, or even at the grocery store. Venetians are always very glad to help a lost visitor to a good eating place.
So, if you’re from Padova, shouldn’t you know better?
So, back to the two ladies who got the astronomic bill…
The fact that it was written “banco” is more or less standard. Other Italians wouldn’t react in any way to that. It can be a way of not being liable for any misunderstandings (scams) later. You just have to say no, and that you want if specified (For your business accountant).
And the 24 euro was exactly ten times the exposed price on the wall. A caffè macchiato is 1,20 at the bar, which actually is a low price tag in that specific area. If they had protested before paying, I’m sure the cashier would have corrected the error… And maybe even thrown in a glass of limoncello to compensate, though knowing about how most of the bars treat tourists in that particular area… maybe not. And Rivo Alto has a few really interesting bills if you trust the reviews on TripAdvisor… A cold-cut platter with two spritz – 58 euro… Two glasses of wine and a coke – 25 euro…
… Or maybe, the two tourists from Padova just wanted the attention? But what do I know…