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07/05/2013 10:00

Brits complain about £54 ice creams in Rome

Tourists are fed up with the rip-off prices - but it's not the only city to take advantage.

Gelato (© AP Images)

When Roger Bannister, his brother Steven and their two wives ordered four ice creams at the Antica Roma bar and gelataria last week, they were shocked to be handed a 64 euros (£54) bill. They complained to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, adding "It's incredible. It can't be normal, can it?" The incident has rekindled a debate about rip-off prices in Rome.

The Daily Telegraph contacted the managers of the bar who confirmed the amount the tourists from Birmingham were charged, but rather than displaying contrition, "insisted the ice creams were worth the money because they were large". The paper went on to report: "We're not talking about one or two scoops, they are really big," a manager, who declined to give her name, told The Daily Telegraph.

"No one forced them to order big ice creams. We also serve small ones which only cost 2.50 euros. But if you want a lot of ice cream then it is worth the price. And the prices are displayed everywhere." 

Perhaps the managers of the bar are missing the point. Undoubtedly the tourists should have checked the prices and unlike a souvenir statue, a rapidly melting ice cream is much harder to get a refund on. But the quibble is with the price itself - ice cream shouldn't cost that much unless, let's say it's laced with actual gold or handchurned by the resurrected corpse of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Then again, although the debate is ongoing about Rome's rip-off prices, particularly the cost of coffee if you are so foolish (or minted) to sit down at a table in a piazza, or the prices Roman 'centurions' charge to have a photo taken with them, Rome isn't alone in charging ridiculous prices to tourists. I can think of at least one hotel in Paris that charges 14 euros for a glass of apple juice - and no, it isn't from the garden of the Hesperides either. London isn't averse to rip-off rates to certain museums and attractions either. The fact is that in cities, you can't simply let go as you would do on a beach holiday - you have to use your common sense to avoid the less savoury parts of city living.

@jillnil says: "Not surprised they are angry...daylight robbery!"

@geraint700 says: "Hope it was the best ice cream ever"


@Gunjee_dot_com says: "And the prices are displayed everywhere' sounds like the normal Italian excuses."

The fact is that whether it's in Rome or not, no one likes being ripped-off on holiday - it rudely drags the rose-tinted spectacles from our eyes and makes us see the city for what it often is: grubby and a rat race.

Have you ever been ripped off on holiday? Tell us in the comments below.

07/05/2013 11:28
Whatever city you happen to be in, you should  ALWAYS  ask the price before ordering anything.
07/05/2013 11:31

This seems a bit extreme. We were in Rome last summer and went to the famed Giolitti's ice cream place (in my opinion best ice cream in Rome). We paid about 12 euros for three HUGE cones with whipped cream on top. Well worth the money. My advice is check the price list before ordering, not just in Rome but everywhere.

07/05/2013 11:18
Whilst working in Egypt, everywhere I went was a rip off. I got so frustrated with this until I was told.......there are two prices, realistic, and touristic. This has stayed with me whenever venturing from my home.
07/05/2013 11:14
Wouldn't order bupkis that I didn't know the cost of, people are daft !
07/05/2013 12:04

I think its their own fault, who buys anything without checking the price, they deserve to just eat their ice cream and shut up for being stupid.


At the end of the day its the business who chooses to set their prices, if they were too high then no one would buy their product, then they would close down, the fact people are dumb enough to pay the prices mean the business is finding a market, so people need to stop moaning.


Near me you can buy a steak in a pub for £4.99 or you can go to the best pub and pay £49.99 for a steak, to me they look very similar, they both have a market, so who is to say how they should dictate their prices? this applies to any product anywhere,  so at the end of the day shame on the family for not checking and asking and then moaning because they were thicker than 2 short planks.


07/05/2013 11:33
i think in most major european cities you have to go into the back streets away from main attractions to get realistic prices,any main square to sit and eat or drink is going to be very expensive
07/05/2013 11:15
It's there own fault if they pay it!   When i'm out with my family and we want an ice cream i just pop into the nearest supermarket.
07/05/2013 12:28

Its clearly wrong that now days you can be arrested for taking your children out of school outside of school holidays when we all know as soon as school holidays begin the price of everything doubles.

07/05/2013 12:28
Supply and demand. The owners said the prices were displayed and even if they werent a sensible person would never order something without asking the price. No good moaning about it afterwards. Simply go to the next gelateria. 

Remember folks, the price is what the trader determines is sufficient to screw as much as he/she can from you, whilst paying the least amount for the raw ingredients. If true service is offered with that price, then just accept that as his/her reward for offering you that service. Here I exclude those nasty restaurants who charge a service, er, charge and don't provide that service.


It is no good this chap complaining after he has paid and presumably eaten the ice creams. He should have checked the prices beforehand or, if no prices were displayed, he should have asked before purchase. If one may be permitted to go way, way back to the old Roman language (Latin), caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). No sympathy. Let's face it, chap, you were well and truly licked!

07/05/2013 13:45

Business etiquette is a thing of the past!  Just look at the daylight robbery we are all charged, no matter what our means, for Gas, Electricity and Water Services!

Thirty years ago, in Greece, we stayed at a brand new small family hotel, on Rhodes.  Dimitri, the owner, was a smashing bloke.  His car had one headlight, which only worked when you held the main beam stalk on, bald tyres, smoked more that the average Greek(!) and you had to hold the passenger door shut.  He LENT IT to me, to go and see a friend, staying in the next village - NO CHARGE.  He said that his ambition was, that in ten years he would have a new BMW. 

We kept in touch, and Dimitri got his Beemer, nine years later.  His son took over a few years ago.  The prices of everything rocketed, and at the end of his first season, he bought a new Audi TT!

Beware the price of Beer in Greece.  A small bar tried to charge me E.8 for a beer last year.  I said I wanted to buy a beer, not his bar - and left.  In the local Supermarket, the same can of beer was E.1.50!  Also, be very careful when you buy a FISH meal.  They charge by the kilo - mega-bucks, and...there ain't no scales, except on the fish!

07/05/2013 11:49
The main touristy areas in most European cities are a rip off for visitors, have a wander around London.  Rome always has been expensive.

had a lovely day out with my daughter, daughter in law and two grandchildren on Monday, as we prepared to go home we noticed a small ice cream vendor, they all wanted " 99s" , a cone with 2 scoops of ice cream and a flake, £ 12.80 !!, i didnt bother getting myself one.


i wasnt in Rome, i was on the westwood at Beverley, East Yorkshire.

07/05/2013 13:06

Its all a huge rip off, two adults and two children, pay more with large tour operators than 4 adults, don't try traveling alone, they add on single supplements anything from 30 to 50 pounds per day.

Families are a big group and so are single older people, why  is no one realizing that they have a limited  amount of disposable cash. I tried two different  trips for my 94 year old mum and myself, the single supplement meant no holiday. Not everyone who is single and or elderly has traveling companions and to charge more for a family of four against a group of four, its a rip off, and let not talk about the prices going up by so much during school holidays.

07/05/2013 16:35

I live in Thailand and the same applies here,im married to a thai and we can go to some places and she pays one price and i have to pay a higher price. If we go to a hotel she goes in first to pay then comes to get me because as soon as they see a foreginer.......


07/05/2013 12:46
It obviously depends where you buy - I found Rome generally quite reasonable, and especially whe  it came to entrance fees to places like the Colosseum-which were half the price you pay in London!

Well. There you have it. Even in 2013 Rome is still throwing Christians at the lions.


It could be worse. If it were England, where councils are closing all the public toilets, you'll find that you're still being ripped off for food but unable to give a sh!t.

07/05/2013 11:45

the price for these ice-creams are utter madness and the shop owners should be ashamed but Im astounded that these people paid it I don't care where u are in the world people can only make a mug out of u if u let them.

if I found myself in this situation I would of had a few choice words 2 say 2 the ice-cream seller before being very generous and throwing  20 euro`s at them!!

07/05/2013 16:30

Why buy something and then complain about the price? Just don't buy it. They will soon go out of business or lower their prices. Been to Rome and there are hundreds of ice cream sellers, some cheap some not like any major city. I did get caught out in a restaurant my first time their though. Brought lamb chops, not realising had to pay extra for vegetables. Chops were nice but felt a bit stupid (not to mention hungry) with just them on my plate, doh. Lesson learnt. Wondered why the waitress questioned my order.

Went to Harry Potter Studio Tour yesterday. Great day out but prices in the gift shop were shocking. Cheapest item was a £4 candy lollipop that would have cost 50p in a candy shop. So £3.50 for an 'exclusive' wrapper. £25 for a bit of moulded plastic that was supposed to be a wand. The kids were disappointed but need to learn can't have everything. Most tourist places will try to take you for what they can. The more we put up with it the more they will try to rip us off. You have a choice. Just say no!

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