Florence bar fined €1,000 after angry customer calls police to complain about €2 coffee: ‘Can you believe it?’

·2-min read
The Ditta Artigianale coffee bar in Florence is popular for its coffee-making and has won winning several competitions (Screengrab/YouTube)
The Ditta Artigianale coffee bar in Florence is popular for its coffee-making and has won winning several competitions (Screengrab/YouTube)

A coffee bar in Florence was fined €1,000 (£846) after an angry customer called the police to complain that the restaurant charged double the average rate for the beverage.

The owner of coffee bar Ditta Artigianale, located at the centre of the Tuscan city, said his establishment was fined because the price of the coffee was not displayed on the menu behind the counter.

Trouble began when the cafe charged €2 (£1.70) for a decaffeinated cup of coffee to a customer on Monday.

The average price of a coffee in Italy is around €1 (84p), but cafes have increased their prices in the last couple of years after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted businesses.

The customer complained because the cafe had not displayed the price of the coffee on their menu and called the police.

While coffee prices in Italy are not regulated by the government and depend on a cafe’s own decision, municipal police intervened because the price was not displayed on the menu behind the counter.

Francesco Sanapo, the owner, lashed out at the rules that led to the fine and said the coffee in question had originated from a Mexican plantation and had been “prepared with great care by baristas”.

In a post on Facebook on Monday, Mr Sanapo wrote he was “ready to pay for my mistakes” but said the cafe had displayed the prices on its digital menu and the laws were “absurd and should be changed”.

“They fined me because somebody got offended for paying €2 for a decaffeinated coffee [which involves a water extraction process]. Can you believe it?” Mr Sanapo said in a video posted on Facebook while holding up a letter from the police.

“Even today, someone can get so annoyed that they mobilise the police, who find us to be in the wrong due to an outdated law.”

“I believe that with everything that is served in bars today, this law has so much absurdity and should be changed, otherwise 99.9 per cent of bars and restaurants would easily be wrong,” Mr Sanapo wrote on his Facebook post.

Ditta Artigianale is described on Facebook as the “first Italian coffee bar dedicated to quality coffee” and is well known in the Tuscan city.

The bar’s coffee making has earned it multiple awards.

Some of the bar’s regulars have also taken to social media to defend the establishment, with one joking that if the man had reacted the same way in London, he would have called intelligence officials.

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