Tourists furious after restaurant in Italy adds €2 charge for cutting sandwich in half

Diner describes incident as ‘incredible but true’

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 09 August 2023 10:35 BST
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The incident occurred at a bar by Lake Como
The incident occurred at a bar by Lake Como (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A British tourist was left gobsmacked after a €2 charge was added to his restaurant bill for cutting a sandwich in half.

The unnamed visitor was dining at Bar Pace in Gera Lario by popular holiday spot Lake Como in Italy when the incident occurred.

He scanned his receipt to find a “diviso da meta”, or “cutting in half”, charge of €2 for his toasted sandwich.

A picture of the receipt uploaded to Tripadvisor
A picture of the receipt uploaded to Tripadvisor (Tripadvisor)

Describing it as “incredible but true”, the tourist uploaded the receipt to Tripadvisor following a holiday in June.

“There were two of us and we asked for a toasted sandwich to share at the table,” he wrote on the reviews site.

“We have to pay because the toast was cut in half?”

The controversial sandwich-cutting fee cost more than a cup of espresso, according to the receipt, and raised the total cost of the sandwich from €7.50 to €9.50.

The cafe’s owner, however, defended the charge.

“Additional requests have a cost,” owner Cristina Biacchi told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

“We had to use two plates instead of one and the time to wash them is doubled, and then two placemats.

“It wasn’t a simple toasted sandwich, there were also French fries inside. It took us time to cut it in two.”

She added that the customer in question made no complaint at the time and, if queried, the charge would have been struck from the bill.

It’s not the first time tourists in Italy have complained about the price of a meal.

In 2019, a couple of Japanese tourists dining in Rome were shocked to receive a bill for more than £380 (€429.80) after ordering two plates of spaghetti and fish and two glasses of water.

The pair uploaded a picture of the bill to TripAdvisor, which showed 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.”

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