Rome tourist rip-off: four ice creams, $82

No visit to Rome is complete without a gelato but two British couples had a nasty shock when they asked for four ice creams.

When the bill arrived, the four tourists realised they were being charged €64 ($A82). It would have been more had they chosen to sit at one of the gelateria's tables.

Their subsequent complaints about the exorbitant price have rekindled a debate over the rip-offs perpetrated by many businesses in the city.

Roger Bannister, his brother Steven and their wives Wendy and Joyce, who were on a six-day holiday in Italy, were astounded to be charged €16 ($A20.40) each on Sunday after ordering four ice creams at the Antica Roma bar and gelateria close to the Spanish Steps.

"And when we paid up, they didn't even say thank you," Mr Bannister, of Birmingham, told Corriere della Sera newspaper, after providing the receipt.

Cafes in Italy double or triple their prices for customers who choose to sit at a table, but the Britons bought the ice creams to take away.

"It's incredible. It can't be normal, can it?" Mr Bannister said. The managers of the bar in Via della Vite confirmed that the British tourists had been charged €64 but insisted the ice creams were worth it because they were large.

"We're not talking about one or two scoops, they are really big," a manager, who declined to give her name, told The Daily Telegraph.

"No one forced them to order big ice creams. We also serve small ones which only cost €2.50. But if you want a lot of ice cream then it is worth the price. And the prices are displayed everywhere."

Officials in Rome said it was shameful that the tourists had been charged so much and that such practices harmed the image of Italy. "It's a scandal," said Matteo Costantini, a city councillor.

The Daily Telegraph