Tourists charged £100 for three hotdogs, a sandwich and soft drinks in Rome

Helen Coffey
The eatery was on Via della Conciliazione leading up to the Vatican: Getty Images

A family were shocked to be presented with a bill for just over €119 (£103) after ordering three hot dogs, a sandwich and five soft drinks at a restaurant in Rome.

The tourists from Puglia, Italy, were particularly galled to find a service charge of nearly €20 (£17) had been added on.

Leo Recchia, 47, had been visiting the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with his wife and two children on 2 November when they ducked into a café on Via Della Conciliazione to escape the rain.

He told Italian news site Il Messaggero that he didn’t “pay much attention” to the menu.

“We sat down, my son chose the hot dog on the menu. We ordered two more, plus a sandwich,” he said.

“€22 for each hot dog. A sausage with fries... Almost €20 of service. To think that the night before we had gone to a restaurant behind the Pantheon: we spent the same, but for a complete dinner.”

The restaurant also charged €6 each for four cans of Coca Cola and €5 for a bottle of mineral water.

The restaurant owner admitted: “We had other cases like this, other complaints.”

However, he argued that the prices are clearly written on the menu and that they reflect the establishment’s proximity to the Vatican.

“We can’t say they are popular prices. But whether it’s expensive or cheap is a subjective question.”

It’s the latest in a long line of stories featuring tourists being hit with sky-high bills in Italy.

A couple of Japanese tourists received a bill for more than £380 (€429.80) after ordering two plates of spaghetti and fish and two glasses of water in Rome.

The pair uploaded a picture of the bill to TripAdvisor, which shows they were charged €349.80 for the food and an extra €80 as a compulsory service charge.

The incident took place at Antico Caffè di Marte near Castel Sant’Angelo in the city centre and the review quickly went viral.

The restaurant hit back at accusations it was scamming tourists out of hundreds of euros, telling Italian paper Corriere de la Sera: “The menu is clear, the reason they (the Japanese tourists) paid that price is because they not only ordered the spaghetti but also the fish that was fresh.

“The customers chose it at the counter themselves.”

However, Italian police are starting to crack down on repeat offenders thought to be misleading and overcharging patrons.

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