Saturday 20 December 2014

Italy's 10 biggest holiday rip-offs

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Cocktails in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. Even at happy hour, a beer and a cocktail at this temple of consumerist posing can set you back €25. A single apperitif at Il Portico, a popular celebrity haunt, will cost around €35. Find somewhere less frenetically self-conscious.
The €20 Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice. It is an iconic cocktail in an iconic setting, but the price tag will leave a bitter after-taste. A change of management at Harry’s has just been announced, so bide your time until more reasonable prices are introduced.
Gondola rides. It is ungallant to ask in advance, particularly if you are on your honeymoon, but you can get a nasty shock if you don’t. The system is well regulated, but you will still stay pay upwards of €80 for a 45-minute ride. Consider sharing the cost with others.
Men in gladiator costumes offering to pose for photographs outside the Colosseum. There was a crackdown in 2011 after unscrupulous operators were caught charging unwary tourists €30. Steer clear – and in no circumstances lend them your camera.
Sun-loungers. The cost on the best Italian beaches can be so extortionate, e.g. €20 a day on the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. No tan is worth that. Use a towel, keep a stiff upper lip and spend the money in the bar.
After-dinner grappas in Cortina d’Ampezzo. They can add up, particularly at the swankier bars where €12 grappas are not unknown. If you like to get stuck into the grappa after a hard day’s skiing, choose a more down-at-heel boozer. Lift passes in the exclusive resort are also pricey - around €50 a day, compared to just €25 at Mount Etna.
That mid-morning coffee sitting down. It will cost more than double what you would pay standing up – as the locals do, at a bargain price, less than €2 for an espresso. Sitting down outside attracts a further surcharge.
Airport taxi fares. A one-way taxi journey from Milan Malpensa airport to the city centre is likely to cost you €80, according to recent research. From Rome Fiumicino to the city centre, taxis should apply a flat rate of around €50, but some holidaymakers have reported being charged more than €120. Take public transport except in an emergency.
Outdoor tables in popular Italian piazzas. Heed the tale of the two Danes who were recently charged €600 for lunch in the Campo Santa Maria Formosa in Venice. Always check prices, including extras, first. Less popular squares offer much better value.
Tea in St Marks Square, Venice. When the band is playing at Quadri’s or Florian’s, there is a €7 surcharge, so even a simple cuppa could cost you the best part of €20. Either steer clear or sit there for two hours, drinking in the scene

After a British tourist was charged £54 (€63) for four ice creams in Rome last week, we take a look at some other holiday rip-offs.

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