Some years ago, during my first trip to Rome, I’ve been the naive victim of a tourist trap.
So it happened that we arrived at Piazza Navona at night, hungry, tired and fed up with the (almost) non-stop rain. We wanted to eat at a nice and elegant terrace in the main square ‘cause it seemed such a beautiful experience.
We have ignored the advice that we have received to avoid the main squares and streets and to look for the small restaurants where the real deal was awaiting for normal travellers (like us).
Thus, after leaving the crowded pizzeria which the most travelled among us has chosen, we have landed on the electrically heated terrace where you could feel like you were part of the ‘La Dolce Vita’ cast.
The stardom didn’t last much, though. At seeing the prices in the menu we felt less hungry – but still not defeated. So we ordered coffees and sweets. Which were bad – dry, a few days old, tasteless.
The bill we had to pay taught us a valuable lesson I still apply in my trips. The sweet waiter explained that the coperto plus the 15% for staying on the warm terrace, plus the VAT equalled our huge bill. For that amount of money we would have eaten delicious pizzas, with wine and deserts in one of the normal places.
I still love Piazza Navona, Rome and Italy in its entirety, but I eat where the Italians do it: in small, crowded places. But this is another story…