Living in Italy is wonderful, no doubt about it. But there are some things, which are hard to accept – one of them is the coperto. It’s an additional fee you have to pay in restaurants, just for getting a seat, a tablecloth and napkins, and some cutlery, the price ranges from 1 euro in a simple osteria to 3,50 in fancy restaurants. For non-Italians it’s hard to get the point – why should you pay for something you need anyway, just to be able to enjoy the service?
One day I had a funny/nice argument with the waiter about whether the coperto makes sense or not (It’s like buying a door and paying extra for the key), I argued. He told me how it came the coperto to be: In the old times, simple people who would eat in an osteria, would always carry around at least a knife with them. If someone showed up without one, he had to pay extra, which made sense in those times. Somehow the Italian osteria owners managed to keep this custom alive and everybody still seems to believe that it’s a great and special service to get some cutlery and a seat!