Tipping in italy – Complete Guide

If you here, it means that also for you tipping in Italy is unclear.

Generally, in many places that provide some kind of service in Italy, you would not have to give tips as these are included in the price paid for goods and services. Therefore you will not be put under any pressure to provide a tip whenever you use a service or buy goods during your time in Italy. 

euro-coinFair enough nobody is going to object if you decide that you should provide tile whenever you have benefited from outstanding service provision while In Italy. Don’t worry if you are not sure how tipping works in Italy as we let you know everything that will be useful for you. 

The giving of tips in Italy is considered extra for workers who provide really good or outstanding service. Though you don’t have to provide tips in Italy sometimes it’s frowned upon if you give nothing at all (especially if you are a celebrity and the Italian media can call mean). There are no percentages of the bill that you are expected to leave as a tip. The amounts mentioned as suitable tips are the average for various services available in Italy. 

Here is an advice on when, how, why and how much to tip during a holiday in Italy:

italian-restaurant-rome-italy
Italian restaurant by Alan Kotok, via flickr.comCC BY 2.0

This should not be confused with tips. The Coperto is a charge in restaurants throughout Italy except for the city of Rome. Establishments have to show on bills or receipts that the total you have paid includes the Coperto. This is a charge to cover the cost of items like bread that are consumed during your meal. Depending on the restaurants the charge is generally in the region of €1 to €3 per person. 

Attention- If you don’t give tips in Italy you may be publicly shamed!

During his honeymoon In 2012 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg and his new wife dined in a couple of Rome’s finest restaurants and assuming that tips were part of the bill did not bother to leave any at all. As this couple was famous and exceedingly rich the next day there was consternation in all of the Italian media about how to mean these billionaires were. They could have saved themselves a whole host of bad publicity by simply handing out a few weeks in tips in each of the restaurants. 

Obviously you are not as rich or famous as the founder of Facebook yet you still want to avoid being embarrassed or publicly shamed for being too tight to give a tip when one has been expected. Read on to end any confusion that you may have in attempting to find out when tips are and are not provided in Italy. Follow our advice to avoid causing a diplomatic incident during your vacation in Italy. 

The pane supplement

Pane is the Italian word for bread. In places that do not charge you the Coperto they are allowed to charge a pane supplement, and in the majority of places that equals €1 – €1.50 for each person at the table. The charge can be avoided if you send the bread back untouched. Then again Italian bread is so tasty there is no reason to send it back to the kitchen when you can eat instead (especially with butter). 

The Servizio tip

When a group of 8 people or more eat at restaurants in Italy then the establishment is able to charge the party the servizio. This should only ever be charged when there are 8 people in a group and it should always be mentioned on the menu, how much has been paid should also be included on the bill. A servizio is counted as a tip, so if it has been paid then no other tip has to be provided. 

You are free to provide tips or not in Italy whenever you have not already paid a coperto, pane supplement, or servizio charge. You can tip what you want but generally would not have to tip the 20 % that has become the standard percentage in the United States (where the wages tend to be lower). As a rough guide, you could tip an average of €1 per each person at your party. Another way to pay tips in Italy is to round up the total bill, for instance, if the bill comes to €95 then pay €100. Giving tips when in Italy should not cause too much debate, and here follows a guide on how much to tip and who to tip. Should you receive excellent service then go ahead and tip €3 instead of €1. On the other hand, if the service was of the lowest possible quality then leave the place without giving a tip. 

Tipping in Italian bars

How much you provide in tips when in Italy will depend if you have been charged a service fee in a coffee bar, just check your receipt. If a service fee was charged then you do not have to leave a tip unless you feel the service was good. Otherwise, after drinking your coffee you leave some change as a tip, 0.10, 0.20, or 0.50 coins but not usually as much as €1. 

Tipping Taxis in Italy

Generally you would be expected to tip taxi drivers between zero to €2 for each fare when in Italy. You may wish to provide higher tips if the driver is particularly helpful and even helps to move your bags or cases, maybe €5 or more. Taxi drivers can charge you for extra luggage and should inform you if they have done so. For a normal taxi ride without any luggage simply tip the driver by rounding up the fare to the nearest euro or 0.50. 

Tipping at Hotels in Italy

Generally, tips in Italian hotels are determined by the job role performed:

  • A hotel porter tip at €1 for each bag or case they carry for you.
  • For the housekeeper tip €1 for every single day you are a guest.
  • Valet or concierge you should provide tips of €1 or €2 depending on how good the service was.

Tipping the Doorman 

Most of the time you do not have to give a doorman a tip, they would generally expect a thank you from you. Sometimes give a doorman a tip if they been helpful by calling a taxi for you, or carried bags for you. Give them a tip of €1. 

The hotel bellhop 

On average the going rates for tipping hotel bellhops is between €1 and €2 for each bag depending on how heavy those bags are. Generally the maximum tip is €5 no matter how many bags have been moved. 

Tipping people that provide a spa service 

Spa workers would not normally expect any of their customers to provide them with a tip. The recommended amount to tip for excellent spa treatment and service would be 10 % of your total bill. 

Tips for Tour Guides in Italy

There is no requirement to provide tips for tour guides in Italy. However it has now become a general practice for tourists to tip their guides. If you thought that the tour guide was good at their job and provided more information than is given on the guide scripts then by all means pay them a tip. Tips could also be given if the tour guide is friendly, knows what they are talking about, and are happy to answer all of your group’s questions. You might notice that the tour guides in Italy are a bit more expressive and animated than their counterparts in most other parts of Europe. Once you decide that your guide deserves a tip the usual amount is €4 or €5 each from every person at your party. 

Tipping the coffee server/barista in Italy

In Italian cafes you can decide to drink your favorite coffee while you are stood up at the bar, or opt to sit down at the tables. There can be quite a price difference of a few euros simply by sitting down. For instance, choosing to drink a mocha or cappuccino in a cafe around the most popular areas of Rome and sitting down could cost €8. If you really liked the drink or the service then it is polite to leave your change, or some small coins. Alternatively you can round up to the nearest euro when settling your bill. So if your drink costs €1.80 you can leave the change if you want to. It is up to you to leave a tip or not (though a celebrity should leave tips to avoid bad publicity). 

To tip or not to tip the restaurant server (that is the question)

Whether or not you have to tip restaurant servers in Italy depends entirely on whether or not the final bill had service included. It will be mentioned on the bill, just look out for the phrase “servizio incluso.” In restaurants that do not include service then it is usual to pay a tip that is equivalent to 10 or 15 % of the total bill. You can 15 % if you believe that the service was really good. You can still provide a tip when service was included in the bill if you thought the service was delivered to a high standard. Generally if impressed by service provide the tip by rounding up to the nearest €10. 

Tipping the airport shuttle driver in Italy

You do not have to tip the airport shuttle driver yet you can do if they are helpful. Usually people tend to tip €1 for every bag that the driver helps you with. 

Tipping for good service from a stylist

It is not common to give tips to stylists in salons yet you are free to tip if you received exceptional service. Perhaps the best method of tipping your stylist by rounding up the bill to the nearest €10. 

When not to tip in Italy

  • Buying a sandwich at an independent coffee shop.
  • When it is a family run business and the people serving you are the owners. You know that service is included but you liked the sandwich and coffee so much you decide to give a tip anyway. In that case, leave an extra two or three euros. 

Make sure tips go to who you want to reward

  • Whenever you pay by bank or credit card make sure that you pay the tips in coins or notes. Sometimes if you put the tips on a card payment the extra money goes to the business instead of the individual members of staff. 
  • When you specifically want to tip a certain member of staff make sure to put a cash tip in their hands, as it is the only way you can make them get their bonus for providing a quality service. 

Important Tip

In most parts of Italy staff will only bring you the bill when you ask for it unless you are in Rome or possibly Venice or MilanThere is very little consistency in whether you should tip of not, some people say you have to, and others say do not have to. So if in doubt leave a small tip of a couple of euros because nobody is going to turn extra cash. 

Make sure you follow each step of this guide when Tipping in Italy. I promise you’ll enjoy your trip much more!