How Italians scam tourists, or what to watch for during visiting Italy.

włochy na co uważać

Travelling around Italy and marveling at the beauty of the visited places very easy to lose vigilance and be hoodwinked. Among the many sympathetic Italians honestly earning on tourism, unfortunately, it’s not hard to hit the black sheep, which want from you tear off the last euro. I despite a lot of experience, allowed several times to pull my leg. In this post you will learn what to pay special attention to minimize the risk and return home without unpleasant reminder.

Never order without knowing the price

It’s my number one principle uphold absolutely always and everywhere, not only in travel. Imagine that you go to a restaurant, sit down, order a chef special, some good wine, not browsing the menu. For me it is unthinkable, but it happens, some people just do so. What possibility to argue do you have if the waiter brings the bill amounting for example at 500 euros? None! After all, this is unique dish and a bottle of the best wine cost just as much. You shouldn’t to ordered it. Pay and cry. It sounds like a sci-fi movie? No, it doesn’t. Perhaps in 2009, it was front page news about couple of the Japanese, the cheeky restaurateur brought a bill for dinner and wine for 700 euros, of which only 120 euro was coperto! A few years ago, the British got in Rome bill amounting to more than 90 euros for four wafel ice cream, which was also breaking news. In apology these people were invited back to the capital of Italy for free at the expense of the authorities of the Eternal City. But restaurants and fast food points are not the only places where you have to ask for price. the plague are all kinds of souvenir shops where the goods are “priceless” because the price depends on how rich will you be in eyes of selling guy. There is another issue. In places very attractive to tourists, such as Rome, there is a tendency to use the double tariff. One price for Italian, and another for a foreigner. “Because we have to support each other, and those lamers tourists who come here have the money, so we have to earn. We’re not going to nibble ours.”

Do not buy fruits in tourist areas

You see a fruit stand in the center of Taormina? Avoid it a wide berth. In such places never buy fruits, because you overpay at least twice. The same is true for food products in groceries near tourist attractions. So where to shop? The best solution is either markets where stalls offer food at prices for the ordinary citizen, or buy groceries at any of the network stores, where everything is priced, and the prices are targeted for citizens. Being in the market (my favorite markets are in Sicily: Palermo, Siracusa and Catania) pay attention to the case with fruits / vegetables. Does it have the price on it? Some sellers sniffed business, tourist looking for something more instead of explore the museum chose to see the real city. Where? On the market, of course. Sellers avoid exposing prices, simply count on the lamer who pay more. Such stalls you should avoid.

Ice cream – for the Italians on spoons for tourists on scoops

Yes, it happened to me three times and still do not understand why. But first. If you’re an Italian fan, this is for your general information, but if your adventure with Italy just starting out, you may be surprised, because the Italian ice creams are usually sold on spoons, not on the scoops. What’s the difference? Big. The volume of the spoon is about twice as scoops. If the price of a small ice cream starts from 2 – 2.50 euro, paying so much you would like to have something to eat. I’ll add, that once I thought that spoons is the domain of southern Italy and northern scoops. It took some time, but I realized that it’s not. Returning to cheat. Once long ago I realized that for the same price you can get ice cream imposed in two ways, I made sure to buy only where I saw the pack. First time cheated me in Umbria. Into Ice cream box was loaded both spoon and scoop, with the latter spoon wasn’t cast in my eyes. The guy put the scoop. Oh well – I thought, I’ll be smarter next time. After three years another cock-up in Puglia. Going into the ice cream parlor wasn’t looked around for scoops, because the guy in front of me with a child (Italians) got ice cream imposed with spoon. I ordered, and he took out ice cream scoop and made mine. I got really pissed off. The third time occurred just a year ago in Naples. Ice cream spoons were smiled to me, but ice cream scoop for tourists – lamers was hidden under the counter. This time I didn’t give up. When the guy started to impose scoops, I started to argue with him, and when he told me boldly in the face, that tourists get the scoop, because he has to earn on someone,I turned around and left, and he stayed with the ice cream in his hand and a silly face.

druga papierowa książka

Water to espresso

Such a small detail, but it’s worth to mention it. When ordering espresso, Italians referred to simply as a caffe, must be added a glass of water to wash down, or – if you will – to rinse the mouth before, to better enjoy the taste of coffee (I met with both versions). Usually to tourists is not given a glas of water, but if you would like to rinse your mouth after a strong, “fast shoot” you can ask for water and absolutely it should be for free. The locals always receive a glass of water along with the caffe.


After the publication of this post (in comments to him) raged on Facebook discussion about a glass of water to espresso. The first and fundamental question is whether calling for extra money is actually wicking or not. After reading the comments and obtaining a second opinion of my friends living in different parts of Italy came to conclusion, that a lot depends on the region and usually include in the amount of 0.50 euro starts to be a normal dealings in the north, the south still haven’t met. The second issue is the goal – before or after the espresso. There are two versions. Personally, I prefer after. I like coffee, but I’m not such a fan, to taste strong, bitter (not Sweetening) espresso sustained later in my mouth made me exquisite pleasure. On the other hand, coffee connoisseurs opinion is that the rinse mouth before drinking espresso gives you a better sense of taste. There is no rule. Warn only novice Italian fans, don’t try to pour this water into espresso, it will surely be a faux pas ; )

Italian taxi your nightmare

I will say this. If you have limited resources to travel do not use taxis. In general, taxi services is not cheap, but the tourists in Italy are incredibly deceived on them. Here harder to enforce your rights, than even in the ice cream parlor. Again I cite a story, which few years ago lived on the internet, again, the heroes wrer pair of Japanese. The taxi driver carrying them from Fiumicino counted for the course of 300 euros, while travel the Leonardo Express train on this route costs 15 euros per person. When you hear question “first time in Rome?” It should light a lamp inside you, because the driver is likely polls, whether you know the city, whether you are green as grass and he can drive “shortcut” making your travel “longcut”.

Giving the change – because tourists cannot count

Tourists, especially outside the euro zone, certainly sees the colorful notes for the first time and probably cannot count them. With this assumption come often dishonest sellers who want to cheat on the change, which is unfortunately very common. How to avoid? First of all, instead of packing shopping bags be focus on the fact that count indicative amount for your purchases, watch the sellers hands during register your products, instead of giving a playful packaging. It’s already minimize the risk , because the cashier noticed that track the exact movements. When you get the change check twice before you throw it into a wallet.

Sandwich with ghost stuffing

This sad story met us when in 2013 we stayed in Tuscany. I will not write it again, because Arthur did the short describing, showing on the pictures cheeky Sienese seller in one of the bars near the Piazza del Campo. Below I add link to post describing whole situation (now only in polish, but it’s mostly photostory).

Siena – polowanie na jelenia

It’s not cheating, but beware

Punch the ticket before boarding the train

It’s the Italian practice. It’s not enough that you buy a ticket for a specific train, before entrance the train you should validate it in a ticket-puncher, located on the platform or near it. If you travel without validaton you surely get a traffic fine. I mention this because a lot of people do not know, then feels cheated. The exceptions are tickets for high speed trains type freccia more about them you can read on the post to which I put the link below. Validation do not require a ticket bought in internet.

How to travel by train in Italy? Fast trains type Frecciarossa

Coperto even for a cup of coffee if you sit down at the table

Coperto, means fee for covering and bread in a restaurant or taking a table in the cafe is another issue that arouses emotions, although it’s not a cheat. However for coperto I advise you to be careful just in cafes. While in restaurant is a small part of the bill, in the cafe can enlarge it twice. Example is the famous Neapolitan cafe Gambrinus, a unique coffee with hazelnut cream I recommend constantly for three years. Coffee drunk standing at the bar costs 2 euros, but ordered to the table 4 euro. About Gambrinusie and caffe alla nocciola I wrote in a post to which a link can be found in the following window (now only in polish). I’ll add trivia which might relieve some irritation on coperto. Well, you must know that for tables displayed outside of premise owner usually pays the taxes to the city, hence the cost he wants to move on a customer. Do you want to sit down, throw in to the fee ; )

Kawowo – orzechowy zawrót głowy, czyli słów kilka o kawie neaplitańskiej


Haggling is nothing shameful especially when seeing a tourist most of Italians on a “buongiorno” raises the prices. Brief example. A year ago on May for four days I stayed on the Island of Marettimo, one of the three Egad located on the western shores of Sicily. The first day I got interested in a rag bag, which wouldn’t be anything special, but it has fantastic turquoise blue and white rope handles like a sailor rope. Of course, it was priceless. First, I heard that it costs 55 euros, of which was instant discount of 5 euro. More – absolutely not, because it wasn’t her shop, and the boss does not allow such practice. I looked to that store next day, the handbag has particularly and specifically price just for me circa 40 euros, but after three days saleswoman saw me passing along the street ran out screaming that sell it for 25 and tell me to decide, because this promotion is only for one day. Another example. Florence, April 2013. I’m standing in the queue at the Piazza del Duomo, and Arthur at that time made “business”. Local paintings vendor pushes hm paper panorama of Florence, initially demanding 50 euros, and in the end going down to 20 euros, which is an amazing discount, because this hand-painting he sells below costs. When Arthur already payed he pops up with the text that a second panorama he sells only for 5 euros. “Hand painted” image after framing in Polish glazier in glass and wood looks very impressive today in our living room ; )

So, be careful, don’t lose your vigilance, watch and always, without exception, ask about the price. If you have experience with cheating or its attempt, then please share your story in the comment under the text, warning thus other.

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