An Essential Guide to Tipping in Italy

Basic tipping etiquette in Italia should be as easy to grasp as learning to love vino, da Vinci, and Vespas.

An Essential Guide to Tipping in Italy

How much should you leave for that vino, cappuccino, or cab ride to the aeroporto?

Photo by Kate Townsend/Unsplash

If you ask locals “do you tip in Italy?”, they’ll explain that while they sometimes leave a small tip, it’s generally not necessary. In Italy, a tip (or una mancia, pronounced oo-nah MAN-chah)—whether given to restaurant servers or hotel employees—is considered a bonus for exceptional service. (One firm exception: always tip your tour guide.) Unlike the United States, it’s not a quid pro quo requirement or a way to avoid looking like a cheapskate.

There are cases where leaving a gratuity is absolutely appropriate, expected, and appreciated. Whether for dinner at a trattoria, the services of a hotel concierge, or a taxi ride from the airport, this guide covers how much and when to tip in Italy.

Tipping at restaurants and cafés depends on the service

When it comes to tipping at restaurants, Italians will tell you they only tip on truly exceptional service or when dining in the finest restaurants. Even then, they usually only tip an extra 10 to 15 percent, or often just the change left over from the bill. Unlike the United States, waiters in Italy are paid a living wage, and tips do not make up the majority of their income. Go ahead and follow their custom or, if you think the service was great and you want to leave more, feel free to do so.

When you get table service at a café, leave the change from the bill, up to a couple of euros, as a tip. But if you do as so many locals do and drink your espresso while standing at the counter, no tip is expected.

Check for servizio incluso (tip included)

Read the check before deciding whether to tip. Many restaurants—especially those in touristy areas—will include the phrase servizio incluso on the bill. This means a service charge has already been factored into the total and you can pay the amount on the check, with no need to leave more. (The word coperto on the bill is a separate cover charge for services including bread, olives, and other extras that are automatically brought to the table.)

Carry cash for tipping

If you want to tip but plan to pay with a credit card, carry a little cash. Italian credit card slips don’t have a line on which to add a tip, so bring some euros in your wallet to leave una mancia.

At bars, skip the tip—unless you received table service

You do not have to tip bartenders in Italy—it’s not a thing. When and if Italians tip for their Negroni or vino, they usually just round the tab up to the nearest euro—this makes drinking in Italian bars more affordable than in the United States.

If, however, you have received table service or ordered food at the bar, leaving two or three euros is recommended.

At hotels, a small tip is usually appreciated

While you don’t need to tip for most services at Italian hotels, there are a couple of circumstances where leaving a euro or two is considered polite.

Housekeeping: one euro per night

Tipping the housekeeping staff one euro per night is the custom in Italy. Leaving a tip every day ensures the gratuity gets to the person responsible for making the bed and getting clean towels that day. If you prefer to wait until the end of your stay, leave the equivalent of a euro per day, either in your room or in an envelope at the front desk with a request that it be shared among the cleaning staff.

If you can tip housekeeping extra, please do: These hard-working people are often the least well paid on staff.

Concierge: five to 10 euros, depending on service

The hotel concierge, who can secure restaurant reservations and share insider tips for exploring the best of a city, is a good friend to make. If you take advantage of the services, tip the concierge five to 10 euros. The amount depends on the type of service—how personal or difficult was your request? Leave less if it was answered without research or included information readily available to anyone with a map or guidebook. Leave more if it was hunting down tickets to a sold-out opera or a hard-to-get table at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Room service waiters: not necessary, but a few coins won’t offend

Tipping for room service, while not necessary, will not offend the person who ferried that delicious espresso up to your room. Leave some coins on the tray and make their giorno.

Porters and bellhops: one euro per bag

If a porter or bellhop assists with getting your luggage to the room, give that person a tip of one euro per bag. If he or she needs to carry several suitcases, tip a max of five euros.

Doorman: one euro

When the hotel doorman hails you a cab, press a euro tip into his hand and murmur grazie in your best Mastroianni impersonation.

You don’t need to tip taxi drivers

Cab drivers in Italy never expect a tip, so if you give one to them, they may be surprised. If you’re using a car service like Uber or Free Now (formerly myTaxi), tipping is also not required. But if any driver goes out of his or her way to assist you, it’s OK to give a small tip.

But definitely tip your tour guide

There is one firm exception to the general no-tips-necessary-in-Italy practice: your tour guide. You should tip guides because that money is their main source of income. How much you give them will depend on the size of the tour and its length. If you’re part of a large group tour, then a tip of five euros for a half day or 10 euros for a full day, per person, is recommended. If you’ve hired the guide for a small group or individual tour, then the tip should be 10 percent of the tour’s total cost.

Tips are not necessary for spas, massages, barbers, or hairdressers

Tipping is not expected for personal services like spa treatments, haircuts, or beauty salon services in Italy. As always, if the service is extraordinary, then leave a cash tip in the amount of 10 percent of the total cost.

With additional reporting by Jessie Beck. This story was originally published in March 2019; it has been updated with new information.

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Italy

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