13 Rules on Tipping in Italy (When & How Much)

Nadia Nadia

Written by Nadia

Italy Misc

Traveling to a new country can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know what the customs are. When it comes to tipping in Italy, it is not as common as in North America, but still there are a few things to keep in mind. Do you tip in Rome and what is the Italian tipping culture in general? Read this complete guide on when and how much to tip in Italy.

Let’s begin with first important thing to know—you do not have to tip in Italy, and it’s all about common sense.

To me, this is one of the many satisfying things about this country. You can choose whether to leave some extra gratuity or not, and it’s very relieving. It also gives you some kind of security and control over the situation—it’s up to you to express your gratitude (otherwise, it shouldn’t be called a “tip” but a “service tax” because the gratitude couldn’t be prepaid, in my opinion).

There are a few things to keep in mind though—you can still face some awkward situations with tips while being a reasonable person. Therefore, follow this detailed guide on when and how much you should tip in Italy.

How much and where to tip in Italy

Here is the short 13-rule summary on tipping in Italy:

WhenHow much
Bar, Cafe, Coffee shop€0,1-0,50
Lunch€0-2
Diningincluded in the bill, leave some € if you want
Taxi€0-2
Housekeeper / Room service€1 per day
Hotel porter€1-3
Tour guide€10-15
Spa / Massage service / Barber shop0-5%
Delivery service€0-2
Car rentals€0
Сostumed characters / Cosplay people€1-3 (if you take a picture)
Night clubs€0
Gas station€0-2

Tipping at restaurants in Italy

Tipping at restaurants in Italy

The first important thing is that the tip is not expected at restaurants in Italy. Most of them add a service charge to the bill (servizio), but you can leave a small tip if the service was good.

You might also see a coperto—a kind of cover charge for the little things such as bread and silverware. You will also see it on the menu, around €1-4.

If you want to leave a tip for wait staff, I would not recommend putting the tip directly on a table and leaving the restaurant. You should pay the wait staff directly or go up to the cash register in the restaurant and pay there. If there is a tip jar, you can put it there. Otherwise, I would go right up to the wait staff and just give it to them at that moment. They’ll appreciate it.

Italian word for the "tip" is una mancha or la mancha.

To leave a tip with the card, ask the wait-staff about it before they bring the bill. It’s not always possible to tip with a card in Italy, so if the restaurant doesn’t accept tipping by card and you don’t have some extra cash, just let it go. Nobody will be offended.

Read also: Best Michelin star restaurants in Milan.

Useful vocabulary:

  • Tip — Mancha
    ['mahn-chah]
  • Can I have the bill, please? — Posso avere il conto per favore?
    [poh-soh avereh eehl kohn-toh, pehr favore]
  • One beer please — Una birra, per favore
    ['oonah birrah, pehr favore]
  • A coffee please — Un caffè per favore
    [oon ca'feyh, pehr favore]
  • Can I pay with a credit card? — Posso pagare con carta di credito?
    [ˈpoh-soh paˈɣaɾeh kõn kartah dee credito]

Tipping at bars and cafes in Italy

Tipping at bars and cafes in Italy

It’s important to note that not every region in Italy has the custom of leaving a tip for the barista, and when it has, it could be as little as 10 cents (I’m not kidding). It can also be 20 cents or 50 cents.

It makes sense to give the barista a tip because they tend to give you water with your coffee, and they do that because they want you to drink the water before tasting only the coffee in your mouth. So your tip does pay for that glass of water, more or less.

Tipping taxi drivers in Italy

Tipping taxi drivers in Italy

The concept is the same as with the restaurants. Leaving a tip is not expected in an Italian taxi. But you can give a taxi driver €1-2 (or whatever you want to give), and only if you’re satisfied with the service.

Being satisfied with the taxi service to me means a couple of different things:

  • if I have luggage, do they help me (although most of them usually do)
  • are they nice
  • do they choose a convenient route

Want to pay less for a taxi in Italy? Try these mobile apps:

Useful Italian vocabulary for a taxi ride:

  • Can I pay with a credit card? — Posso pagare con carta di credito?
    [ˈpoh-soh paˈɣaɾeh kõn kartah dee credito]

Tipping in barbershops in Italy

Another place where you could consider giving a tip is the barbershop. Granted, if you’re here on vacation, I don’t know if you will have a haircut here in Italy. But if you do, remember—tip if you want, but it’s not expected.

Tipping at gas station

This is a situation that you may not encounter. But if you happen to be driving in Italy and need to stop for gas, consider tipping the guy who’s pumping your gas. It’s very often that these guys are non-Italian, and I have the impression that they really depend and live off the tips. At that point, I’m usually happy to give them €1-2.

Tipping in hotels in Italy

Tipping in hotels in Italy

In a hotel, you are usually taken care of 24/7, with various services to make your stay comfortable and pleasant. Probably, it is the only place where commonly accepted rules of tipping apply. Therefore, leaving a tip in the hotel is welcome. 

How much to leave? It depends on the star rating of the hotel as well as the service. For a 3-4 star hotel you can follow these practices: 

  • Porters, ~€1 per bag
  • Room service / Housekeeper, €1-2 per day (leave in the room)
  • Concierge, €5-10 (only for exceptional service)
  • Doorman, €1-2 (if they help you with luggage)

Tipping at Spa centers in Italy

Spa-center is the place where you are expected to get a relaxed and pleasant stay, surrounded with care and attention. Therefore, you may leave some extra 5-10%, but again, it’s only up to you.

Tipping tour guides in Italy

Tour guides provide an important service, giving travelers a glimpse into the history and culture of a new place. In Italy, tour guides are generally not tipped, as their pay is included in the tour price. However, if you feel that your tour guide went above and beyond or provided an extra value, it is considered to leave a tip of €10-15. For example, if your tour guide took you to an insider’s spot that was not on the original excursion itinerary, leaving a tip is fair enough.

If you go with the group, consider talking to group members before expressing your gratitude—there might be other people to join you, so you can tip as a group.

Tipping at nightclubs in Italy

First, it is not customary to tip the staff members who work at the club, such as the bartenders or door staff. Second, if you plan to spend time in a VIP area, it is common to tip the host or hostess to take care of you. Finally, it is always appreciated if you leave a small tip for the DJ at the night’s end.

Tipping at other places in Italy

You’re probably asking yourself if there are any other places where you can give tips. You’re probably thinking, “What about the bartender? What about the guys at the airport?” etc.

The answer is no. The places mentioned in this article are where tips are more commonly given, and these are also places where I give tips.

Frequent questions about tipping rules in Italy

Can I tip in US dollars in Italy?

No, tipping with the American dollar is very annoying and impolite. Don’t do that, please. This rule also applies to all European countries.

Tipping in Rome, Milan, and Venice. Is there any difference?

No, absolutely not. The tipping culture is the same across Italy, even in Sardinia Island.

Tipping for other services in Italy, what are the rules?

Tipping etiquette in Italy is very simple — extra gratuity is never required, so don’t feel pressured by any means.

What is “coperto” in Italy?

In Italy, coperto is a small charge that restaurants add to your bill for the cost of bread and cover. Therefore, it is not a tip. It’s usually just a couple of euros, but it can be up to 10 euros in some popular places. And don’t be surprised if you see it listed as “coperti” on your bill, which means “covers.”

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