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Old Oct 30, 12, 8:30 am   #1
 
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Coperto service charge in Italian restaurants

Almost every restaurant i have eaten in in Italy charges coperto. usually 2-3 euro, sometimes as high as 5 euro. this is in answer to the removed cover charge that was moved to England.
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Last edited by cblaisd; Oct 30, 12 at 8:42 am. Reason: Clarification
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Old Oct 30, 12, 4:40 pm   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slawecki View Post
Almost every restaurant i have eaten in in Italy charges coperto. usually 2-3 euro, sometimes as high as 5 euro. this is in answer to the removed cover charge that was moved to England.

Dear Jer,

since 01/2006 in Rome, and Lazio region, the "pane e coperto" has been banned. Slowly this has been extended to every italian region.
Unfortunately there are still small towns which apply pane and coperto fee, even though this is not legal anymore.
Normally a compliant, referring to the "ordinanza" (the law that forbid to apply pane and coperto fee), is enough to get it removed from the bill.
I am sorry and disappointed if you've been asked to pay for it after 2006, as it's not a correct and professional behavior.

Best wishes!

Last edited by jamm; Oct 30, 12 at 4:41 pm. Reason: typo
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Old Oct 30, 12, 5:20 pm   #3
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Originally Posted by jamm View Post
Dear Jer,

since 01/2006 in Rome, and Lazio region, the "pane e coperto" has been banned. Slowly this has been extended to every italian region.
Unfortunately there are still small towns which apply pane and coperto fee, even though this is not legal anymore.
Normally a compliant, referring to the "ordinanza" (the law that forbid to apply pane and coperto fee), is enough to get it removed from the bill.
I am sorry and disappointed if you've been asked to pay for it after 2006, as it's not a correct and professional behavior.

Best wishes!
Thanks, as always, for your great info.

But I've read that many tourists still receive this charge - being targetted as tourists and therefore unlikely to know of the ordinance you refer to.

Could you possibly share with us an appropriate sentence in Italian that we tourist types could use if faced with being charged for pane e coperto?
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Old Oct 30, 12, 5:39 pm   #4
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I just did a search over on Slowtravel, and here are a few mentions from last year regarding the pane e coperto charges - for each link, it's the first post I'm referring to:

http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a...1#499005175001

http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a...1#324002175001

http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a...1#884003694001

http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums/a...1#983001794001
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Old Oct 30, 12, 5:48 pm   #5
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And here's an entire thread from ST that discusses this topic:

More on tipping, pane e coperto (the thread is from June of last year).
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Old Oct 30, 12, 8:16 pm   #6
 
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hotel monaco grand canal:COPERTO
Couvert
Cover Charge
€ 6,50
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Old Oct 30, 12, 11:33 pm   #7
 
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Venezia doesn't have this pane and coperto ban, as long as it's stated in the menu it's legal.
In Rome, and the whole Lazio region, it's forbidden to have this item in the menu and of course in the bill.
Then there are associations of restaurants also in other regions who decided to remove "pane and coperto" , some applies others don't, as it's not a law.

The "pane e coperto" fee in Rome restaurants is not only targeting tourists, locals often get it too as well, but nevertheless it's not correct.

Last edited by jamm; Oct 30, 12 at 11:35 pm. Reason: typo..as usual
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Old Oct 30, 12, 11:45 pm   #8
 
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this one in english http://www.italia.it/en/useful-infor...estaurant.html

all the other sites I'm stepping to seem to lack english version
http://giostream.altervista.org/prez...sta-normativo/
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Old Oct 31, 12, 1:17 am   #9
 
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that's pretty strong language for when about half of italy can and does still charge coperto legally. i see bologna charges, venice charges. small towns? milan, bologna, venice,?

there is more to italy than rome. has been for a couple thousand years.
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Last edited by slawecki; Oct 31, 12 at 1:38 am.
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Old Oct 31, 12, 2:18 am   #10
 
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yes my mistake in the first post when I stated it was slowly extended to all the other regions. That was actually the plan but other regions didn't completely follow up.
I had the hope the first link I provided in the previous post confirming that it's just Lazio region until now with effective ban would have mitigated the strong language of mine :-)
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Old Oct 31, 12, 3:20 am   #11
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And I confused the pane e coperto charge with a service charge - and it was the service charge I had read about being targetted to tourists (specifically to English speakers). Sorry about my earlier post.

Here's where I had read about it, from ParlaFood:
Grano and the Selective Service Charge
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Old Oct 31, 12, 5:12 am   #12
 
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- Always ask for a receipt.
- Check it out in details.
- Refuse to pay the "coperto" voice and subtract yourself from the bill
- If pay cash give the exact amount (of course with NO tip!) and wave goodbye
(never leave cash on the table, hand it to waiter/cashier)
- Give a call to Finance Police at 117 (free of charge) and report the business

With those dudes being firm and resolute is the way to go.

"Il coperto non dovuto" - "Coperto is not due"

That's it.
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Old Oct 31, 12, 5:43 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest Bump View Post
- Always ask for a receipt.
- Check it out in details.
- Refuse to pay the "coperto" voice and subtract yourself from the bill
- If pay cash give the exact amount (of course with NO tip!) and wave goodbye
(never leave cash on the table, hand it to waiter/cashier)
- Give a call to Finance Police at 117 (free of charge) and report the business

With those dudes being firm and resolute is the way to go.

"Il coperto non dovuto" - "Coperto is not due"

That's it.
Thanks for the info! Your post just reminded me of an article I came across last year and thought it had very useful info regarding reading your receipts. But then I shared it on SlowTravel and basically got flamed.

Here's the article in question (it's a blog post from a tour group company called Walks of Italy):
How Not to Get Ripped Off Eating in Italy

And here's the Slowtravel thread with the discussion (my user name there is Jady):
Great Tips for Dining in Italy Without the Rip-Off
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Old Oct 31, 12, 6:37 am   #14
 
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That article is excellent sk3.
Thanks for posting.
It is as insightful as the info you dispense here.

Flames aside, all Italians know that what happens in the main tourist areas by many restaurateurs, is indecent.
And it is disturbing even more as it affects the tourist experience in Italy in whole.
I'm sure following the hint given, without being paranoid of course, can forfeit the 99% of traps.

Last edited by Forrest Bump; Oct 31, 12 at 6:45 am.
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Old Oct 31, 12, 9:59 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk3 View Post
Here's the article in question (it's a blog post from a tour group company called Walks of Italy):
How Not to Get Ripped Off Eating in Italy
very good one, on the same line here another article in english The anti-scam guide to italian restaurants

Quote:
Originally Posted by sk3 View Post
Could you possibly share with us an appropriate sentence in Italian that we tourist types could use if faced with being charged for pane e coperto?
The magic word is Guardia di Finanza
As pointed out by Forrest Bump you can call (free of charge) 117 to report it.
But normally the threat of Guardia di Finanza would immediately discourage any restaurant to abuse a tourist/local. No place would want GdF being involved, as they won't leave without giving a fine.
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