I know James, I've never said it's a nice thing..
I know James, I've never said it's a nice thing..
We learned early on to ask for the price of EVERYTHING in Italy before buying. One trick that they play in the snack stalls is charge €3.00 for a bottle of water if you don't ask the price first. Asking first means you will get a small bottle of water at the bargain price of €2.00.
We once sat down in a bar near the Pantheon (a mistake already), I asked them first what a beer would cost me. It turned out to be €6.00 for a pint. So I went ahead and ordered the beer, along with a bottle of water and a small can of diet coke. The bill was €14.00!! They charged about €4.00 each for the water and the coke!!
They will put a 10% "service charge" on for a takeaway pizza and then hide behind the language barrier when you start remonstrating.
Funniest thing is, they actually get upset when you don't fall for their cons.
Anyway, I just came back from Amsterdam. Now there is a town that appreciates its tourist industry!
Aha. That explains why they charged us 9 euros for 2 cups of coffee when we visited Rome this summer... And in addition we gave them a 1 euro tip... gullible tourists
While their pricing system in cafes is lame, it's not entirely secret. In many places they list 2 prices, one being for standing at the bar, and the more expensive one if you choose to sit. If you'd bothered to read a little about Italy or pay attention while you were there you might've known this. It sucks, but that's how it is. Also, you're there in the height of the tourist season. This is when prices are at their highest. This is especially true if you're in the center of Rome, where all the tourists will be.
9 euros for 2 cups of coffee?????????????????????????????????????????????
coffee costs about 0,80 cents, if you sit at the table and a waiter serves you can cost 1,50-2,00 (definetely no more).I mean, if someone ask you something more for a cup of coffee, have a coffee in another cafe..(prices of cappuccino are slightely more, 1,10-3,50 (if you sit)
well, reading the prices before acquiring it's a good idea everywhere, as well as do not buy a can of coke in front of colosseo (or in front of Eiffel tower, for example).
In many occasion the tourist behaves in a different way when he's abroad. If he was in his country, he would never buy something in the most tourist place of the city, but apparently he forget this basical rule when he is on holidays.
in other cases the problem it's more concrete: taxies in UK cost less than in Italy for example, so a foreigner who uses taxi for the first time in Italy (only for the first time) can't guess how high could be the cab fare.
I suggest to everyone to read a very nice book written by an italian journalist, beppe severgnini:La bella figura (a field guide to the italian mind).
I think it could help to understand our behaviour more than an usual tourist guide.
I agree with the author's point of view:he describes our national faults and merits in an ironic and critical way, warm but without finding excuses.
Although I kind of agree with what you say about Italians in BIG cities (ie Rome, Florence etc), in the non-touristy places the Italians (I believe) have a great sense of hospitality. I was living in a small fisherman's town in Tuscany for a month, and we got treated (there were four of us there learning Italian) like royalty. We were considered as mini-celebs. Got approached by loads of locals who just wanted to chat, we had tea with the mayor, were invited to BBQ's on the beaches by random people etc. It was really nice.
I think any big city gets quite bored with the number of tourists that visit. I've heard many foreigners say how they think people in London are very rude too!
The one thing which iritated me most was how Italian men would just join us and insist that they take us around Rome or clubbing or whatever. I'm there on a holiday , I don't want to be dragged everywhere.
It's true that Italy is a top tourist destination. It's beautiful but things like people shoving a rose in your hand eventhough you say no thanks and then demanding any guy next to you to pay for it (at Fontana di Trevi) or some guy saying "It's free, It's free" and grabs your hand to fasten a bracelet and then asking for a donation for Africa (near the Duomo) just puts you off.
I have to say I thought Milan was nicer in terms of people (more detached? No weird man chasing you etc.)
yeah I agree with Scotland as the rudest- u must not have ever come here
well ok...As an American im used to a overdose of good/fake customer service but I have never met a bunch of ruder, inconsiderate bunch of people in customer service (bars, telecomms, trains and bus workers) as here in Scotland!
YEAH, Italy can really drain your energy. Getting through the day hassle free is almost impossible. One trick I have learned after many visits is to try to deal with women in any kind of business transaction when ever possible. Some of the men are cool but many will rip you off ANY way they can. Restaurants are classic. Best to find a non tourist place and check ALL the numbers and figures on everything - from menu on, write it all down..... My Girlfriend is American Italian and she just hates the whole game so much that her attitude is that about 95% of them are guilty (guilty of whatever she thinks they're up to, nevermind reality) - that gets a little much too sometimes but she has her reasons. It's funny because Italy is in the G8 but, in some ways, acts like a 3rd world country. Short changing tourists is probably the #1 art form that's practiced (they must REALLY miss those Lira's with all those zeros. Euro's are much easier for the tourist to handle - score one for us). Anyway, a great place to visit but every rose has it's thorns. Zoom''
as a kiwi now living in italia i know a bit about hospitality (NZ invented the customer service industry) and where i know places in Rome fall way short of the mark i have learnt that italians too hate bad service.
they will make a stand if they feel they are being ripped off so do as the locals do and make yourself heard.
i live in tuscany which has a reputation as being a bit of tourist trap but at least the locals here are polite and helpful (most of the time). country folk generally are.
touristy spots are notorious for bad service as some get the idea that they are always going to get customers no matter how badly they treat them.
i find the more populated the area the more likely this is too happen. but out here in the fields i find the locals are only too happy to oblige, i have made friends with italians that cringe when i tell them about experiences in rome and florence, they can also share similar stories.
the months of june, july and august are also a factor in the ripoff situation, there are just too many tourists around for proprietors to care.
i can sympathise with the story of the yakking shop assistants although i find the worst offenders are the gormless wonders working in London. to me they can be the most rude of all.
one way to avoid rip offs is to be aware of what is going on, check the menu for service charges and the 'cover charge' ( the charge for the table cloth and cutlery) and if they are not printed ask the waiter before ordering.
avoid restaurants and vendors beside major monuments, find a supermarket and stock up on bottled water, a 6 pack of 1.5lt bottles should cost no more than €3.00.
only tip if you think they deserve it, italians are bad tippers anyway so don't feel obliged.
rome drivers are actually pretty skilful, eyeball them as you cross the road, walk quickly, don't run, and don't stop. they will come close but won't touch. (if you want really bad go to naples)
italians are a unique culture, which is great. i celebrate that they are nothing like the rest of europe, and i hope they stay that way. thats probably why i've chosen to live there. they just take a little while to get used to.