Is tipping in Italy expected or considered rude in their culture? For example from what I know, tipping in Japan is considered an insult. So weird right? If I give Japanese waiter tips, it ends up as an insult in their culture.
So what about tipping in Italy? Well, it is complicated and I wish to highlight the different charges which people may misunderstand as tips. They are
- Coperto or Cover Charge - This is common but actually, coperto isn't considered tipping. It is meant to cover the charge of the food you are using like bread, oil or salt. The rate is also per person and around 1-3 euros per person.
- Pane or Bread Charge: Pane means bread and you are expected to pay 1 to 1.50 per person for bread. You can reject the bread if you really don’t want to pay this?
So if the above coperto and pane aren't tips, what is tips exactly?
Tips are called Servizio and usually when you go to a restaurant in a group of 8 or more people. So if you see servizio, it is perfectly fine not to tip extra. What about cases where there is no servizio charge?
What is Standard tipping in Italy
Tipping in Italy is not compulsory but is necessary to appreciate a job well done either in kind or in cash. Be aware that in Italy, tipping is referred to as a bonus, so the amount always reflects the level of service render. There is no standard rule guiding tipping in Italy. You are solely responsible for what you want to give out per time in relation to the level of service offered to you.
If you are traveling on a budget, you can just reciprocate by giving a bright smile and thanking the person. If not, below are some guidelines on the tip amount I recommend in the different areas you need to tip in Italy.
Areas To Tip in ItalyThere are several areas you can tip. Here are some of the areas and my personal recommendations:
- Cafe Waiter/Waitress
- Restaurant Waiter/Waitress
- Taxis Drivers or Airport Transfer
- House Maintenance
- Tour Guide
Cafe Waiter/WaitressIf you enjoy your awesome cappuccino or beverages, it is advisable to tip the nearest euro on the total bill. In other words, you leave some fraction of the euro for the service provider.
Restaurant Waiter/WaitressRemember to check if Servizio / tips are already included. If not, I recommend tipping between 5 to 20 percent of your total expenditure (5% if it was only average). Even if services were bad, try to round your tip to the next available Euro.
Taxis Drivers or Airport Transfer
It is easy to forget tipping the taxi driver or airport transfer. As you know a tip is not often expected, but it is well appreciated. It shows how grateful you are for services offered.
For example, helping to unload/load your heavy pieces of luggage and offering some local tips. When you enter a taxi or a cab or airport transfer, round the total fare to the nearest Euro to the driver and he will feel very grateful to you. It is the right and normal thing to do when you are satisfied.
DoormanWhen a doorman in your hotel hails you, you can respond with just 1 euro tip. Just to let him you appreciate his job and greetings. Most of the time, they help to take your luggage to your choice of room or taxi.
Depending on how well the cleaner maintains and clean your home. If he or she has done exceptionally well, you can appreciate their job by given tips. The tip does not have to be big, with 1 Euro too, they will be very happy that their job is acknowledged.
I recommend not tipping tour guide or local guide since they probably understand. They usually don't expect it and will be perfectly fine to provide excellent services without the tip.
Remember that different countries have different cultures. Tipping in Italy is optional. A tip in Italy is not expected, but it is well appreciated in recognition of service render.
Tipping in Italy is just a form of thank you for a job well done by the person. Tipping everyone else if you can afford is a great way to stay awesome while enjoying your trip. Like your porter who helps you to carry your luggage, from the hotel to the cab and down to the airport. A tip should be within your means and can be a token amount like rounding up to nearest Euros.
The above list is my personal opinions of the amount you might want to tip in Italy. If you have any tipping experience (good or bad), please share with us your experiences in the comments below.