Price wars. It’s Rome’s tourists versus the city’s gelato sellers this time over the price of an ice cream cone. How much could a couple of scoops of Italy’s famous dessert really cost? Apparently upwards of €14 per cone!
An American couple called the police recently after being charged €42 for three ice cream cones and a bottle of water at a gelateria in Rome. Shocking, right? Apparently this is totally normal. The couple was charged €13 per ice cream cone in Rome at a small café. The incident reignited the war on tourist pricing in the Eternal City. The flights to Rome may be cheap, but the gelato certainly isn’t!
It all went down like this…
The couple and a friend ordered a few cones of gelato at Bar II Caffe near Trevi Fountain. They were charged £42 for the ice creams and a bottle of water. They paid, furiously and returned the next day with police in tow. The proprietors showed the police their café menu, stating that ice creams are €13 each, leaving the couple with no case at all.Tip for travellers: read the café menu before placing your order! Cafés and gelaterias in Rome can charge whatever they want for their desserts. If you don’t want to pay more than €10 a cone, better avoid the gelato shops in and around the tourist sights.
It’s common practise in Italy for café owners to dramatically increase their prices for customers who sit at tables. Unsuspecting tourists typically take a seat while locals know better, and enjoy their coffees at the bar.
Both of these prices are usually indicated on the menu or price list. Visitors should ALWAYS read the menu before taking a seat and if you’re looking for a cheaper cone, try wandering a few streets away instead of heading to the gelateria right next to Trevi Fountain or the Spanish Steps.
Travelling on a budget? Check out our guide on How to: experience Rome for FREE.