Is tipping customary in Italy?

Tipping isn’t the norm in Italy like it may be in North America and some other countries in Europe, but it is still appreciated. Feel free to leave a small amount if the service has been particularly good. In taxis, tipping is not expected, but if rounding up the charge makes life easier, go for it.

There are a couple of service charges to keep an eye out for in Italy which are often already included in your bill.

A coperto is a small per head cover charge (around USD 1–3) that is included in some restaurants for servings of bread, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper at the beginning of the meal. If this charge isn’t mentioned and you still are served bread, expect to see an item for ‘pane’ (Italian for bread) on your bill.

Some restaurants will add a servizio or a service charge to your bill. This is often added to the account for groups of around eight people or more. If this is already on your bill, there is no need to tip again.

If you are after a coffee on your travels, you may notice a considerable difference in the price for bar service (standing) and table service (sitting). Seating space is in high demand in Italy and comes at a cost, so if you’re just after a quick coffee, standing is probably your best bet.

Participate in a tipping kitty

On the first day of your trip your local leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, which everybody contributes an equal amount to at the start of the tour. Your leader then uses this to tip drivers, local guides and hotel staff on your behalf. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent, which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassle of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty is optional, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.

Tipping your local leader in Italy

You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however the equivalent of USD 2–4 per person, per day, is a commonly used guideline. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

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