Proper Tipping in Italy? - Rick Steves Travel Forum (2022)

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Posted byjtaliano2000on

I just wanted to see what the going rate is for tipping at restaurants in Italy these days? I know 10% is appropriate in some areas of Europe but I've heard that some countries get offended if you tip because they are professionals and it is insulting to tip. I don't want to be cheap, nor do I want to offend anyone. I have also booked a private driver for a tour and it is suggested to tip the driver. Would that be a 10% tip as well?

Thanks for any help you can give !

Posted byRoberto da Firenze

San Francisco Bay Area (USA)

13096 posts

Tips are not a common practice at all in Italy and is not expected.
Restaurant staff is also prohibited to ask for one.
Restaurants: 0% (or at most, if paying cash, you might leave the change). The credit card slip will not have the blank line for gratuity, so if you pay by credit card, you can't add the tip to it. I leave none.
Taxi: 0%. Since taxi drivers in Italy are entrepreneurs (licenses can only be granted to individuals) owners of license and cars (they are not employees of a taxi company), they make quite a bit of money. They are a powerful lobby, and Italy is one place where they managed to have the government ban Uber and Lyft. I leave none and often complain regardless. They are the most likely to cheat on the fares too.
Porters/Bell Boy: 1 euro per piece of luggage
Private car guide/driver. If it's a long tour of many hours, 2 euro per hour would more than do it in my book. That is easily more than 20% of their net hourly salary.

Posted byjtaliano2000OP

5 posts

The private driver/ tour I was talking about is going to be about 6 hours along the Amalfi coast. It will cost 270 euro for 2 people. So does a 15 euro tip seem fair?

Posted bystan

The Heartland USA

(Video) Italy: Travel Skills – Rick Steves Travel Talks

6819 posts

Its not about offending people. Its that they are paid a decent living wage with benefits, and handing free money to people for doing the job they are paid to due is not normal practice. When in Rome .....................

In the US, servers are paid $2-2.5 / hour and expect to earn their living from tips. Thats not true over there. They get a living wage, free health care, education and 4-5 weeks paid vacation.

Posted byLaurel

Forest Grove, OR

10130 posts

Italy is one place where they managed to have the government ban Uber and Lyft

Roberto, we have Uber in Rome. I do not know about Lyft. I am pretty sure Uber is in Milano, too.

yes they do get a reasonable wage but free healthcare.................. no that is paid for through taxes /deductions from wages ,if may be free at source but it is paid for.
Tipping is not a big thing in Europe rounding things up is the best way to go but tipping at 15-20% is just wrong.

Posted byDario

Italy

(Video) Italy Travel Skills

2890 posts

I don not tip neither the porter guy nor the limo driver. And I do not know any Italian that does/would do it.

They get a monthly wage like everybody else, why should I tip them and not the plumber or the lawyer?

Uber's drivers in Rome are all licensed limos (aka NCC in Italy), I think it is called Uber Black in US. Uber pop was actually banned in some European contries like Italy and France thanks to cab drivers lobbying.

Posted byDouglas

Oak Park, Illinois

4535 posts

It is important to understand WHY we tip servers in the US. It is because they are not paid a regular wage - their wage is low and depends significantly on tips. Good service should result in a better tip, but they are necessary for earning a living wage.

In most of Europe, server wages are regular wages. There is no need to tip because they are paid appropriately. If you did get really nice service, leaving the loose change or a euro is a nice gesture of appreciation, but any more than that is often seen as flaunting one's wealth or just another American sucker giving away their money (some servers know this and push Americans to leave something).

Posted byNancy

Beaverton, Oregon

672 posts

Every Italian RS guide we've traveled with has confirmed the no tipping, or just rounding up, practice in Italy. It's so nice not to have to deal with this obnoxious US practice.

Posted bykatieflinn

Houston, TX

(Video) Rick Steves’ European Travel Tips and Tricks

35 posts

What about tips for tour guides? Does it depend on the length of the tour and/or whether they're with a company vs. independent?

Posted byRoberto da Firenze

San Francisco Bay Area (USA)

13096 posts

No Laurel.

In Rome, Milan, and Florence what you have is Uber Black, which is a professional black luxury limo service operated by professional limo drivers who possess an NCC (Noleggio Con Conducente) license, which is a restricted professional license more difficult to obtain than a taxi license. Not surprisingly, their service often costs more than a regular taxi, which in Italy is already comparatively expensive on a per mile basis.

The familiar Uber Pop, where you have the average Joe Doe driving his own car, was banned in Italy in 2015 by a Court decision.

Posted byDario

Italy

2890 posts

What about tips for tour guides? Does it depend on the length of the tour and/or whether they're with a company vs. independent

Ketie it's very easy: you don't have to tip anybody in Italy and Italians do not tip anybody.

Posted bymgop18

San Francisco

(Video) Florentine Delights and Tuscan Side-Trips

3 posts

I just came back from a trip to Italy a month ago and based on the advice from a few people here I didn't leave any tip...with one exception. When I went to the Blue Grotto, the guy on the row boat going into the cave kept mentioning that he's providing a special service such as turning around twice inside the cave and taking pictures of us. I knew what he wanted and Rick even warned about it in his book. When we're outside I thought okay, maybe I would give him a 5 Euro tip, but then he said straight to my face "That would be 20 Euros sir!"

I didn't know what to think or say, and was so stunned that I offered no resistance. My wife later said that the people on the boat next to us were also asked the same amount. After I gave him the money, he helped us disembark and said some nice things such as how wonderful he thought our family is etc. Now when I think back about this incident, I wonder what he would have said if I refused to give him the money. Maybe some not very nice things that would have ruined the day for us, in which case I think the money was somewhat well spent.

Posted byMichael

Seattle, WA, USA

7737 posts

This gets argued and reargued here every couple of months. (Example: Tips?)

By tipping, some Americans in Italy create a culture of expectation for tips at the heavily touristed sites. Last year I took a taxi from the Assisi train station up into the town. The price is already an extremely high 15 euros for at most a ten minute ride, but when I handed the driver a 20 euro note, he actually said "Devo il resto?" to me, meaning "Do I have to give you the change?" Not being able to quickly translate "Heck, yeah, dude. I am not giving you a 33% tip on a ten minute cab ride!" I just responded "Si'" and held out my hand for my five.

Believe the Italians on this site - they don't tip in Italy. Here's another person in Italy weighing in. http://katieparla.com/tips-for-tipping-in-italy/

Posted byAussie

Australia

1075 posts

We spent a couple of months in Venice, taking breakfast at the same bar most days - the Ai Artisti in Campo San Barnaba. Breakfast, due cappucine e due brioche came to 4.60 euro. We always put the 40 cents in the tip jar.

After a week or two, they would make our two cappucinos as soon as we walked in, without asking. I don't know if it was the small tip that made us memorable, or just the fact that two Aussies spending so long in Venice was unusual, but we certainly enjoyed the small connection with the bar staff. 40 cents a day was a small price to pay for a bit of a relationship.

FAQs

Is it rude to not tip in Italy? ›

There is no strict rule about tipping in Italy. Leaving a tip is a courteous gesture that shows the person who provided a service to you, that you appreciated their help. As such, leaving a tip is entirely up to you and, in many cases, it will not be expected, albeit appreciated.

How much do you tip hotel staff in Italy? ›

Housekeeping Staff

A general guideline is €1/day. It's best to leave it daily (to ensure good service during your stay), but you can also leave the total in your room at the end of your stay.

How much do you tip a private driver in Italy? ›

It's better to leave nothing. Tipping a private driver in Italy depends on the quality of the service and the amount of time involved. If it's a short drive to the hotel, than tip like you would a taxi. If it's a full day's tour where you driver is also a guide, then 10% is good.

Do you tip private transfer drivers in Italy? ›

When it comes to tipping taxi drivers in Italy, it's pretty simple! Most locals simply round up, so if your fare comes to 18 euro, and you leave your taxi driver with 20 euro – that gesture would be very much appreciated!

What is considered rude in Italy? ›

And please, do not burp or fart in public, it is considered extremely rude. Also, loud swearing and drinking alcohol from a bottle while walking the street, is frowned upon. Most Italians like some alcohol, but usually avoid to get drunk. Public scenes of drunkenness are much less tolerated than in other countries.

Do you tip hotel staff in Italy? ›

At full-service hotels, staff should be tipped as follows: Porter: €1 per bag. Housekeeper: €1 a day. Valet and concierge: €1 to €2.

Is it customary to tip cab drivers in Italy? ›

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.

Do you tip at Michelin star restaurants in Italy? ›

If service is NOT included I would tip. But for the most part you don't tip in Italy.

Why does Italy not have toilet seats? ›

We asked Italian friends about the frequent absence of toilet seats, and they helped to fill in the blanks. Apparently, the toilet seats are there originally but, then, they break. The seats break because people stand on them. People stand on them because they are not kept clean enough to sit on.

Can you tip with US dollars in Italy? ›

Tipping does not need to be in the local currency; US dollars and euro are widely accepted and appreciated. If you wish to tip, make sure you do so in cash, even when paying by credit card.

What is standard tipping in Italy? ›

You are not expected to tip restaurants in Italy. A service charge is sometimes added to the bill, ranging from 1 to 3 Euros, or 10% - 15%. This charge must be indicated on the menu. Some may also add an extra charge for the diner ware and extras (tablecloth, silverware, plates, bread, etc.), this is normal.

How do you not embarrass yourself in Italy? ›

Embarrassing Mistakes to Avoid in Italy – 60+ Travel Tips
  1. Don't Overdo your Italy Itinerary.
  2. Don't Forget that Most of Italy is Seasonal.
  3. Don't Travel to Italy in High Season.
  4. Don't Forget that Italy is Very Distinct Regionally.
  5. Make Sure you Know your Neighborhoods Before Booking Accommodations.
Nov 3, 2021

How do you ask for the bill in Italy? ›

Il conto per favore.” That's how you ask for the bill in Italian.

Can you drink the tap water in Italy? ›

The short answer is yes. Drinking water from the tap in Italy is considered safe. Tap water in the major cities and towns around Italy is safe for consumption, and there are thousands of old-style water fountains dotted around cities, like Rome, where you can fill up water bottles.

Do you tip in Rome restaurants? ›

Home » Food and drink » Do I need to tip in Rome? Tips are not expected in restaurants in Italy. Let us repeat that to let it sink in: tips are not expected in restaurants. However, a service charge is sometimes added, in a way that can often cause confusion for visitors.

Do you ask for the check in Italy? ›

In Italy, you typically have to ask for the check; the waiter does not simply drop off the check in advance, as in most American restaurants. Use the above phrase when you're ready to pay.

Do you tip taxi drivers in Rome? ›

In general, tipping taxi drivers in Rome is not necessary however, it is becoming more and more common to round up your bill, especially if it makes change easier. What is this? This is entirely discretional, not expected and usually only done if the driver was especially helpful or pleasant.

How do you ask a tour guide as a tip? ›

3 ways to ask for Tips as a Tour Guide or Tour Manager - YouTube

Where is tipping rude? ›

2) China. Like Japan, it can be considered rude to give the wait staff a tip except for Hong Kong and Macao, which are becoming more westernized.

Should you tip when gratuity is included? ›

If an amount is included as a "Gratuity" or "Service Charge," tipping is not required. Unlike in most of the rest of the world, the total cost of table service almost always is NOT included in the bill, necessitating the need for tips.

Do they use toilet paper in Italy? ›

France, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Argentina, Venezuela, and Spain: Instead of toilet paper, people from these countries (most of them from Europe) usually have a bidet in their washrooms. A bidet like a toilet, but also includes a spout that streams water like a water fountain to rinse you clean.

Do you need to bring toilet paper to Italy? ›

A few pieces of tissue… that can double as toilet paper: You don't really need to bring this from home, of course — Italy does have toilet paper! — but it's a smart thing for ladies, particularly, to throw in their purses before leaving the hotel in the morning.

Where can I pee in Italy? ›

Your best bet is to pass for guest and bee line for the bathroom that they always have on the ground floor. However, if you can't easily spot it, casually ask where their hotel bar is, like you just need a cappuccino or a glass of wine. The bathroom will either be back at the bar, or you can ask the barman.

How much do you tip tour guides? ›

The average tip amount for an outdoor or backcountry guide is between 10% and 20% of the tour cost per person. For example, if the tour price was $1,000 per person, then the acceptable tip should be between $100 and $200 per person depending on the level of service provided by the guide.

Is it rude to flag down a waiter in Italy? ›

Even here in Italy this is a very rude behaviour, no matter what! What is this? Under regular circumstances you will have to flag down a waiter and ask for the bill.

Do you tip in Italy for taxi? ›

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.

Should you tip in Rome? ›

Home » Food and drink » Do I need to tip in Rome? Tips are not expected in restaurants in Italy. Let us repeat that to let it sink in: tips are not expected in restaurants. However, a service charge is sometimes added, in a way that can often cause confusion for visitors.

Is it rude to tip in Europe? ›

When dining in a restaurant in Europe you should expect to tip a bit more modestly than you would in America. If a service charge is included in your bill then leaving a tip is optional. If it isn't you can often leave a 5-10 percent tip without insulting your waiter or waitress.

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