Venice cafe angers tourists after charging £38 for four drinks

iStock/Getty Images/ Juan Carlos Bustamente

A tourist has been left gobsmacked after he was charged 43 (£38) for two small coffees and two bottles of water in St Mark's Square, Venice.

The iconic location is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Italian city but the prices of the beverages took Juan Carlos Bustamente, who was visiting from Chile, by surprise.

When he asked for his bill at Caffe Lavena, which is located on the edge of the square, he couldn't believe that the prices were reportedly around 10 times the general price of a hot drink.

Two 250ml bottles of San Pellegrino cost €10 each and two espressos were priced at €11.50 each. A furious Bustamente took a picture of the bill and shared it on Facebook, which soon went viral.

The Sun reports that the 62-year-old wrote in the caption:

I don't know what you think but 43 euros for two coffees and two bottles of water!

This is theft. Shame!

However, the owner of the establishment has responded by saying that it is clearly stated that customers will be charged more if they want to sit outside as it is part of a 'premium experience' of sitting in St Mark's Square.

A spokesman from the cafe said in a statement:

People get annoyed when the bill arrives because they do not listen when we hand them the menu even though it states clearly enough that prices are higher to sit outside.

They just wave us away and if we insist they get irritated. If they just want a coffee they can have it at the bar for 1.25.

If they want to sit outside and enjoy the music of the orchestra, look at the bell tower and the Basilica of St Mark's, then they are paying for an entirely different experience.

The cafe has been in the square since 1750 but they have faced criticism in the past for their extortionate prices.

In 2013, four customers were charged €95 for four espressos with liqueur while some reviewers on TripAdvisor have labelled it either 'poor' or 'terrible.'

Earlier this year, at a nearby restaurant in the square, four students were charged €1,100 for a meal which led to the city's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, agreeing to investigate the prices in the city.


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