Ordering an ice cream as a sweet treat to cool down amid Florence’s stunning architectural delights actually sent the temperature of one visitor soaring as he was handed the bill. A visitor, who headed to the beautiful Italian city from his native Taiwan, was told to fork out £22 for a gelato served in a cone. Understandably irked at the over-the-top pricing, he complained to the shop owner, yet was told they “cost a lot because they are tasty.” Left with no option, he then paid the full 25 Euro cost.
His Italian tour guide complained to official authorities, with the Times later reporting the retail owner had hidden the gala price list to avoid it being seen by hungry customers.
Police official Elio Covino told La Repubblica: “Hiding prices is very common and is a habit that creates a poor impression around the world, given that tourists are the main victims.”
The venue was fined £1,800, or 2,000 Euros, after it was discovered the price list had been concealed.
In 2013, a similar Gelateria in Rome, Antica Roma, was forced to defend charging four British tourist £54 for ice creams.
It took out full page adverts in local newspapers to justify its retail pricing structure with an open letter entitled “Il prezzo e giusto” – translated as “the price is right”.
Meanwhile tourists to another holiday hub in the country, Venice, will also soon face additional costs.
Visitors hoping to take a romantic gondola ride, wander through St Mark’s Square or see the splendour of the Doge’s Palace will have to stump up £9 (€10) after the Italian Parliament passed the measure aimed at tackling the tourist crisis in the city.
Overwhelming visitor numbers to the sinking city have angered Venetians for decades despite tourism being Venice’s lifeblood.
Once the world’s greatest market city where exotic goods from across Asia met wealthy Europeans at the end of the Silk Road, Venice now relies primarily on the tourist dollar.
he new measure is aimed at improving the sustainability of the Venice’s tourism industry while alleviating residents’ frustrations about tourists ‘clogging’ the city’s streets and waterways.
Only tourists visiting on single day trips will be forced to pay to enter the fee while those staying overnight will be exempt, according to the Firenze Post.
The fee was authorised in the passing of Italy’s controversial budget which the Italian government has been arguing with the European Union over for months.
Matteo Sechi, spokesman of the association Venessia.com which fights for the defence of the lagoon city from mass tourism, said day-trippers account for the majority of Venice’s tourists and argued it was right they paid an entry fee.
Mr Sechi told the Firenze Post: “The landing tax rightly points to the daily tourists, who are the majority of visitors to the city.
“But they bring in only 30 percent of turnover compared to 70 percent brought by the few million overnight stays.”
Mr Sechi labelled visitors who only come for the day as ‘hit and run tourists’ and said they were mostly responsible for the packed squares which frustrate genuine residents.