Clearly communicated that Coperto is included. However, patrons may be advised to check specifically if there is any "Service Charge"

No Scope of any negative surprise here. Clearly communicated that Coperto / service charges / cover charges included

WHAT IS "COPERTO" AND WHO CHARGES IT


The Italian concept of "Coperto" or "Cover charge" has been a source of much discussion across times and forums. Restaurants in Italy charge the Coperto as a cover charge which would be added to the overall food and beverage bill. So hypothetically if you are a family of four having a meal, with coperto being Euro 2 per person, one can easily add Euro 8 to the overall invoice. 


Coperto is charged generally by restaurants, pizzerias, trattorias, cafes and bars across Italy. The coperto goes by different names - cover charge, service charge; some even try to pass it off as a type of tax. In a nutshell, it is an addition to the overall bill. 


​It is not that a tourist is caught unawares. It is generally written in small fonts right at the bottom of the menu card and not always very easy to find. However, in a menu written in Italian, it may be next to impossible for a patron to locate. 


The Coperto is a very Italian way of life. Levied on a person basis, it can range from Euro 1 to Euro 5 depending on a host of factors but most prevalent in "tourist traps" - typically restaurants in the heart of tourist areas. In general, the closer you are near the tourist attractions, the higher the coperto. For example, in restaurants in the heart of Milan offering fine views or proximity of the Duomo or right on Piazza Navona, some restaurants charge a coperto of a solidly steep Euro 4. 


In some extreme examples, a restaurant may charge a "Coperto" as well as a "Service charge". That is likely to set you back by Euro 3-5 per person even before you have ordered anything to eat. 



WHICH REGIONS IN ITALY CHARGE IT


Most regions in Italy charge the coperto with the exception of Lazio, of which a part is Rome. In Rome, however, while the coperto is barred, most restaurants charge a "service charge" which pretty much replaces the cover charge. 


​In Venice, it is likely that you may be charged a Coperto as well as a Service Charge. Patrons beware!

Europe off the Beaten Path!!

A Blow up of the above picture 

Check the "Coperto" written in very tiny words at the bottom of the menu card. 

some simple rules TO COMBAT THE COPERTO

1. IN GENERAL, THE BEST RESTAURANTS DO NOT CHARGE ANY COPERTO (ALTHOUGH THERE COULD BE GLARING EXCEPTIONS). IN OUR EXPERIENCE, THE RESTAURANTS NOT CHARGING THE COPERTO WERE THE ONES WHERE WE HAD THE BEST FOOD EXPERIENCE. SO RULE OF THUMB, PATRONISE RESTAURANTS WHICH DO NOT CHARGE THE COPERTO. 
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2. ASK BEFORE YOU LEAP. IT IS NOT RUDE TO ASK THE WAITER / SERVER WHETHER THE RESTAURANT CHARGES A COPERTO / SERVICE CHARGE / COVER CHARGE. IF THE ANSWER IS YES, AND YOU DO NOT WISH TO PAY IT, JUST MOTION AS IF TO MOVE TO ANOTHER ONE. THERE IS A FAIR CHANCE THAT THE WAITRESS WOULD WAIVE OFF THE COPERTO. 

3. THE COPERTO GOES BY DIFFERENT NAMES - SERVICE CHARGE, COVER CHARGE ETC. CHECK SPECIFICALLY FOR ALL OF THESE SYNONYMS WITH THE RESTAURANT. IF YOU ARE NOT CONVINCED WITH THE ANSWER, ASK AGAIN. ITS BETTER TO BE SURE THAN TO BE SURPRISED WITH A NUMBER YOU WERE NOT PREPARED FOR. 

4. THE RESTAURANTS IN THE TOURIST AREAS WOULD HAVE WAITERS OUTSIDE INVITING YOU INTO THE RESTAURANT. AS A RULE OF THUMB, BEWARE! THESE COULD BE TOURIST TRAPS AND IN MOST LIKELIHOOD WOULD NOT BE THE BEST FOOD EXPERIENCE NEITHER VALUE FOR MONEY! 
 The Italian "Coperto"
  1. WHAT IS "coperto" and who charges it
  2. which regions in italy charge it
  3. europeunexplored's tips to avoid the coperto