On our just completed trip to Venice we were confronted in two restaurants (one Da Fiore) with a statement that the service charge was NOT included, though nothing to this effect was stated on the bill or on the menu. In the first case, the server specifically told us that the service charge was not included when he presented the bill - at Da Fiore, there was no indication whatsoever, so we inquired and the young hostess said that it wasnt and that a service charge was NEVER included in Italy. This really made us wonder since (1) the usual case it is that service is included or the bill will indicate that it is not and (2) there wasnt even any place on the charge slip to add a tip, so we had to leave a cash tip. This at arguably the foremost restaurant in town. Made us wonder a bit.
Any thoughts by anyone? Is this just a case of overreaching when serving people who seem to be able to be able to bear the cost or is there really a bona fide trend toward a tipping system in upscale Italian spots? We left 10% in both cases but also would up with a little bit of a bad taste.
Id appreciate hearing others thoughts.