Traveling is already confusing enough without also having to worry about the various tipping etiquette and norms that vary from country to country, such as tipping in Italy. If you hail from the United States, you’re used to leaving generous tips of at least 10-15% for service (even if it was bad service). This isn’t actually the way things are done in most countries, don’t get us wrong you’ll see other countries where tips are also normalized.
However, when looking at tipping in Italy (I mean you clicked this post for a reason right?) The tipping norms can be very convoluted. Some say you have to tip for amazing service, while others say don’t bother because you’ll make your waiter or barista uncomfortable, rules for tipping also change depending on the act of service!
This post is all about the various reason you’ll want to tip or not tip in different scenarios that call for it. We’ll also go over common Italian etiquette and how to not appear as a total newb or worse! Rude!
Why you should know how to tip in Italy before your trip!
If you guys want to know why you should be prepared when it comes to tipping in Italy, then check out this situation that happened to us. It was our first day in Milan, and we were dying for some coffee! We made our way to a local cafe and grabbed ourselves some delicious cappuccinos that were made perfectly! Plus, the barista was super nice, even though we didn’t speak Italian he was very understanding and did his best to work with us and our Spanish translations ?
To thank him for being so understanding and making a great cup of coffee, we slid 2 euros towards him and he immediately got flustered and slid it back, we didn’t understand why so we slid it back to him ? This debacle of sliding the coin back and forth continued for a couple of seconds while we were trying to explain that we were thanking him, he really didn’t want that tip lol. We ended up taking the money back because he told us that we don’t need to tip as we do in the states.
Soooo! If you want to avoid awkward exchanges with the people you come into contact with, continue reading on so you know when it’s acceptable to offer a tip and how much you should tip.
Want to avoid making other common newbie mistakes in Milan? Then read our guide on Travel Tips for Milan, Italy!
Commonly Asked Questions for Tipping in Italy
Is tipping expected in Italy?
Not really, but again this isn’t a black and white question. There are times when a tip would be appreciated such as hotel service, tour guides, and other scenarios we shall list below in further detail.
Is it rude to tip in Rome?
Not at all, tips, especially for amazing service, are welcomed in all areas. Of course, you’ll encounter waiters or baristas who will refuse the tip, but just make sure you thank the profusely for their exceptional service.
How much do you tip Cab drivers in Italy?
For tipping taxi drivers, you can round up a euro or two and tell the taxi driver to keep the change.
What is the standard tip in Italy?
The customer tips in Italy are way lower than it is in the states, expect to tip around 1-2 euros for smaller exchanges, and for bigger events or tours we think 5-10 euros is great. That should work in pretty much every Italian city from Florence Italy, to the Venetian city of Venice.
Why don’t you tip in Italy?
This is a heavily misconstrued rumor that Italian culture does not accept tips, while they are not required or heavily needed when comparing them to underpaid American servers. They still will happily accept a tip for good service. Italians tip for great service when the situation calls for it such as a great fine dining experience, hotel service, private drivers, and other situations that a tip would be appreciated.
What form of a tip should you leave?
Cash is king! We’re not kidding, if you can by all means please leave cash tips for your waiters, tour guides, hotel maids, etc. This form of payment is easier to get directly to your designated service person. if you pay with a card, it’s highly unlikely it will get back to your chosen helper =(. Not only that but a lot of payment machines do not have the option for a card tip, nor do they have a slot for writing in a tip for card payments.
Should you tip even if the service was horrible?
Tipping in Italy is not a rule, and never feel obliged to tip, especially if the service was horrible. If the service provided was awesome, then leave voluntary contributions in cash preferably. The guidelines we have listed below for tipping are completely optional and up to you! There are no set-in-stone rules when it comes to how to tip in Italy and when you should.
Tip if you want to tip and the service was great, and if you dont want to or the service was trash, then dont feel obliged or forced to tip.
Everything you need to know about tipping in Italy: The Essential Guide For Different tipping situations!
Tipping at a restaurant in Italy Guide
First, what is a servicio?
The Servicio is the included service charge or service fee, however, you want to call it, for the dining experience. Many restaurants already include a service charge in the bill so make sure to double-check your bill and see if it was included. If a servicio was not included, then you can tip your waiter as you would like. So instead of worrying about that IP and calculating it, you can watch that stunning sunset view in Venice instead.
Second, What is a coperto?
A Coperto is the cover charge you’ll see listed on the bill and listed on the menu. This charge is for dining experiences amenities such as bread, vinegar, and olive oil. Keep in mind, this is not a tip, the Coperto is usually around 1 euro to 3 euros per person.
Exceptional service and splendid food?
If you just had the most amazing table service experience and your food was amazing! Then you’ll want to leave a small tip of your choosing. Just make sure you don’t tip in small change, euro coins are fine but avoid tipping anything smaller as its impolite.
If you’re looking for a percentage to go off of we recommend for exceptional service to leave a few euros on top of the service charge, and if there is no servicio charge, then you can tip 10-15%.
How to leave a tip for a waiter or barista in Italy?
Waiter: If you’re tipping a waiter then you can tip them the polite way by leaving the money on the table, or by paying at the cashier and telling the cashier you would like to leave a tip. Whatever you do, don’t just shove money in the waiter’s hand or try to stuff it in their clothing, this is rude and embarrassing.
Barista: If you’re tipping baristas at coffee shops, then you can simply leave the tip in the receipt tray or on the counter at the bar. Keep in mind, that tipping a barista is usually a small tip, we recommend just simply round up the total, and leaving the spare change with them. Avoid Leaving large tips, as it’s not necessary since baristas and waiters are paid fairly compared to America.
How to tip Your Driver in Italy and why you should
How much to tip a personal driver, taxi driver, and ride share will vary depending on the service received and trip length. Generally, you won’t tip more than 5-10 euros for a trip/ day trip with a personal driver at drop-off. For rideshare and taxi, you can round up a few euros or even just one euro if it was a small trip. We’ll list a short summary per trip style below ?
Personal driver/ Private driver: Lindsey at Skyscanner offers some guidance for tipping taxi drivers, Likely this ride will be comfier and nicer, the driver will also be more attentive and usually is with you for the whole day.
- Private driver for full day: 10 euros will suffice, you can leave the money with the driver at the end of the service.
- Private driver one trip: A small trip like this usually doesn’t need more than 5 euros, you can leave money with the driver at drop-off.
Rideshare or Taxi Drivers: For these trips, you can just round-up up a few euros: 1-2 typically, and hand it to the driver with the original lump sum and ask the taxi drivers or rideshare drivers to keep the change. If they help you with your luggage we would also suggest tipping a euro or two in addition.
How to tip your Hotel Workers and why you should
Like the US and many other countries, tipping hotel service workers is the norm and you should always leave a few euros for your hotel cleaning staff. You’ll also want to tip the hotel concierge for taking care of you, especially if they gave you travel advice. As well as taking care of your bellhop person who carried your heavy luggage for you from the car to the hotel room.
Despite these services, hotel staff are heavily undervalued and offer tremendous help in all areas for confused tourists, so we like to tip hotel staff accordingly. We’ll list the common tips down below ?
Hotel Staff Tipping in Italy:
Bellhop or Hotel Porters: These hotel staffs are the people who help you with your luggage from the car to your hotel room, so tipping them 2-5 euros for carrying multiple bags is pretty normal for us.
Concierge: The hotel concierge at the front desk is your go-to person for booking events, getting last-minute tickets, restaurant recommendations, and travel advice, they open the door for you and make your trip and hotel stay so much better. We recommend tipping 5-10 euros at the end of the trip.
Hotel Cleaning Staff: Hotel cleaning staff or maids are the individuals who clean out your rooms during stays to make sure you have fresh towles, full hotel toiletries, and clean and tucked bedding.
Due to this daily job, we recommend tipping every day 1 euro or more if you really appreciate their work (Towels that are folded to look like animals? Better tip!). You can leave this tip on the nightstand next to your bed each morning before you head out. Or you can gather the total amount and leave it on the nightstand. We also like to leave a thank you note for all their hard work.
Hotel Room Service: These individuals are the ones who bring you that late-night pasta you’re craving and also bring champagne when the event calls for it. We recommend tipping hotel room service staff with cash or euro coins, a euro or 2 should work just perfectly.
Doorman: The doorman, is as you guessed the person who mans the front entrance and will hail a taxi for you and open the door for you. We recommend leaving a euro with the doorman if he managed to grab you a taxi in the bustling city.
How to tip your tour guide and why it’s important
Tour guides are wonderful people who offer a vast amount of knowledge about your designated travel destination. These individuals will spend days, weeks, half days, and other time variances with you depending on your trip type. Thus, tipping tour guides is important! Although the normals for tipping a tour guide will vary depending if it’s a paid tour or free tour and how long it is.
Paid Tour: If you’re doing a longer trip session with the same tour guide we recommend tipping at the end of the trip a small percentage of 2%-5% of the total tour cost of the paid tour per person. If it’s a smaller trip like a day or two, we recommend tipping $5 euros per day per person.
Keep in mind, even with paid tours only a very small portion of that fee goes towards your tour guide, which is why we recommend tipping if you can.
Free Tours: As you guessed, tipping a free tour guide may not be a rule, it might as well be. While these individuals are running tours for free and do not expect a payment, it’s common courtesy to offer a tip so they can continue to offer free tours. Your tip will help offset their personal expenses such as food during the tour, walking shoes, etc.
We recommend tipping the tour guide, 5-10 euros per person, and please offer a cash tip. As you can imagine being on the go means you’re less likely to find a card machine, and if your tour guide is not expecting payments it is highly unlikely they accept electronic payment.
That wraps up our post on tipping in Italy! We hope you enjoyed it! If you’re traveling to Italy make sure to read some of our Italy posts!