I've just read this article with a smile. In case the link fades it reports of a group of tourists who enjoyed four coffees and three liqueurs at the Caffe Lavena in St. Mark's Square, Venice. They were a bit stunned when they got their bill and it totalled 100 euros ($130). I found it interesting because I know that feeling.

Procuratie Vecchie
The Procuratie Vecchie with Caffe Lavena on the right, Piazza San Marco

I'm not about to jump up and down and scream highway robbery, it costs what it costs, you don't have to drink there, but it can be a shock to the system if you're not forewarned. So I'm putting the warning out there hoping that whoever reads this is at least armed with the knowledge that these peeps weren't. They foolishly travelled to one of the worlds premium tourist destinations and failed to do their research. I too have been that person. In my defence, blogs and Trip Advisor didn't exist in 87, in fact the internet wasn't even a global thing then, so we only had books like "Let's Go Italy" as a guide. I should have read the Venice section a tad more intently I guess.

Caffe Chioggia
Flora writing postcards and drinking expensive mineral water at Caffe Chioggia

Whilst they apparently didn't read the fine print on their menus that warned them of the "music surcharge" of six euros per person which in turn amounted to almost half their bill. I got stung in a slightly different manner. In 1987 my Australian/Italian girlfriend and I sat down in the Caffe Chioggia, just around the corner from Caffe Lavena to write postcards. We sat in the third row from the front and got stung around $20 for two bottles of mineral water. Keep in mind that this is 1987 and you could get a bottle of mineral water for under a dollar back then.

Turns out the prices are set by which row of seats you choose to sit in. It got even more expensive if you sat further out in the first row next to the piazza. I guess you paid more if more tourists saw you, a sort of people watching people being watched by people as you people watched kind of thing, figure that one out. So the closer you got back to the actual bar the cheaper it got, quite cheap if you drank inside apparently, nobody could see you in there I guess. No fine print warnings on any menus back then either.

Caffe Chioggia
Me drinking expensive mineral water at Caffe Chioggia

So there ya go, some good advice for when you next hit up Venice, choose your seats carefully or go in Winter like I did last year when there's no outside seating to sit in as it's snowing. The snow isn't price structured.


Irishman said…
awww, look at young cute Stu!

Where did it all go wrong? :P
stu said…
hahaha where? not sure. When? around 1995 lol