While tipping in Italy is not required, it is often practiced, but this is mostly by tourists. If you have enjoyed your experience or the service you have received, you can definitely tip your waiter, driver or hotelier as a sign of your appreciation. However, if you don’t, they will not be annoyed and certainly will not be offended.
In Europe, servers in restaurants, bars, hotels and in other service industries, are generally paid quite well, and they do not rely on tips to supplement their income. Some service staff may, in fact, refuse your offer of a tip at first, but they are usually just being polite. If you wish to tip someone for their excellent services you can insist on tipping, and most of the time it will be appreciated.
Be aware that the bill won’t come to you…
European customs are very slightly different from the US–for example, your bill will not be brought to your table if you have not asked for it. You must always ask for the bill if you are ready to leave because in Italy (and the rest of Europe for that matter) it is considered rude to bring the bill when you are still eating.
Tipping in Italy Restaurants
Italy is well known for its beautiful restaurants that are home to famous, fabulous food. From the exquisite pasta dishes of Rome, to the high-end haute cuisine of Milan, Italy has something for every food-loving tourist. You will no doubt enjoy several trips to your local Italian restaurant or try the latest in Italian fare most evenings in Italy, either way it’s good to know whether or not you should be tipping in Italian restaurants.
While it isn’t required to tip, most tourists will tip around 10% of the bill if they are happy with the service, and sometimes more if they have really enjoyed their experience. Most Italians and locals, however, do not tip at all–they will usually only tip if they have had exceptional service. And even then, many locals will simply round-up the bill instead of tipping, leaving a few coins for the waiters/waitresses and nothing close to 10-20%.
Be aware that a lot of restaurants in Italy will include a service charge (or servizio) or cover charge (coperto), or sometimes both, on the bill already–if you see either of these on your bill you do not need to tip. This is a supplement for the waiter/waitress and has already been included in your bill. A lot of fixed-price menus, usually aimed at tourists, will also include service already in the advertised price, so you don’t need to tip.
Tipping in Italy Hotels
If you are staying in a hotel with a porter, and he/she carries your bag to your room, it is a nice sign of appreciation to give them around a one euro tip for their help. It is also nice to leave a small tip for the housekeeper should you wish, around the same amount (one euro) for every day of your stay is an acceptable amount, although it is not expected.
Tipping in Italy Bars and Pubs
Tipping in bars and pubs, particularly if you are sat at the bar and ordering your drinks and food there, is not required, nor is it expected. Some patrons may offer to buy their server a drink for their service, but staff will sometimes turn down this offer. Do not be offended. Some staff will simply not have time to accept your kind offer, or may not want a drink while working. Tips are at your discretion–a 5-10% tip for a good, efficient and nice server is kind, but not necessary.
Tipping in Italy Taxis
It is not common to tip taxi drivers in Italy, but if you wish to tip your extra nice driver he/she really won’t mind. For a great service it is easy to round up the taxi fee to the nearest 10 or 5, and offer a small tip for your taxi service. If you haven’t received a good service or feel you have been ripped off, you do not have to tip. Really.
Tipping Italy Tour Guides
On your trip to Florence, Rome, Lake Como and parts of Tuscany, you may wish to take a tour through the region’s most incredible historic sites. Tours offer a fantastic insight into local life in Italy and are well worth the money–however, most guides will not expect a tip on top of the tour fee. You may find that some guides stop to talk and expect further money from you, but you do not have to tip in this instance, particularly if you have already paid for your tour. If you have taken part on a free tour and you are impressed with the knowledge and ability of the guide, then it is nice to tip at the end of the tour.
Tipping in Italy’s Hair Salons
If you decide to get your hair cut while you are in Italy, the usual custom varies throughout Europe and most people do not tip their hairdresser, although the French and the British usually do. If you are happy with your haircut and want to show it, the hairdresser will be happy with a small token (around 5-10% of the cost) to show your gratitude.
Italy Vacations Made Easy with Auto Europe
Now that you have a better gauge of the tipping customs in Italy, it’s time to get out there and start exploring! In an effort to provide travelers with the most comprehensive travel tips and information, including tipping customs, Auto Europe makes it easy to enjoy your next vacation abroad, and mesh with the many unique cultures found at your destination. To get started on your travel plans, give Auto Europe a call, at 1-888-223-5555, and speak to one of our reservations agents about reserving a car rental in Italy, France, or anywhere else you could imagine.