Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Winston Aldworth: Let the icecream buyers beware

When in Rome ice-cream can get expensive. Photo / Thinkstock
When in Rome ice-cream can get expensive. Photo / Thinkstock

Ah, Rome.

The romance. The architecture. The fabulous food and wine. The grubbing locals looking to scam you at every corner.

The Italian capital's passion for creaming unwitting tourists is renowned, with the famed icecream scam back in the press. This time, three American tourists were hit with a bill for $66.50 for three icecreams and a small bottle of water. When they queried the bill at the icecream shop in San Crispino in Rome, they were told the icecreams cost $20.50 each.

Their mistake, of course, was to idly assume the price of icecream would be reasonable. After all, they wanted to buy the spumone, not the spumone factory. Rest assured the prices weren't clearly displayed.

It's a sad state of affairs when you can't order an icecream without warily demanding an inspection of the menu - or menus for that matter, as many of Rome's eateries seem to have one price for locals, one for visitors and a third for anyone who leaves their guard down.

You can't say you weren't warned. After all, the Romans gave us the term "caveat emptor". And they've spent the millennia since reiterating the point to visitors.

The fact it's an icecream at the centre of the scam, underlines the absurdity. Surely, this is the most innocent of treats.

My tip: If you're in Rome and fancy an icecream, get on a train to Florence.

- NZ Herald

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Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

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