Postcard from... Milan

 

Ask any Italian to name the most mafiosa city in Italy, and there’s a good chance they’ll say not Palermo or Naples … but Venice.

The City of Bridges is also the city of hapless tourists, many of whom don’t know it’s just about the worst place on the Italian peninsula to take potluck with your lunch or dinner arrangements.

In many establishments, clients who arrive without fluent Italian will be treated to a menu that’s similar to the one enjoyed by locals – except for the prices.

A Danish couple discovered this last month when where they were charged €600 (£510) in a Venice restaurant for a dinner of fried fish and prawns.

It has now emerged that the understandably miffed pair filed a complaint with the Italian embassy in Copenhagen after returning from their holiday.

The couple, who are both diplomats, said the cook at the restaurant in the central Santa Maria Formosa neighbourhood appeared from the kitchen and offered to add a few prawns to their meal as they were dining.

Local press reports suggest the tourists mistook the offer, in what appeared to be an “ordinary and unpretentious restaurant-pizzeria”, as a simple gesture of hospitality.

According to the couple, the restaurant management then explained that the prawns are what drove the bill up to an eye-watering €600. It’s not known whether they left a tip.

Police in Venice are now investigating the incident. And the local edition of the Il Gazzettino newspaper warned: “This kind of thing puts the reputation of the city at risk.”

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