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Tipping in Italy: a guide to Italian tipping culture

Tipping in Italy isn’t as common as in other countries. While locals sometimes leave a small tip, there are a few situations when you should absolutely leave a tip in Italy — find out more here.

5 min read

Traveling to Rome, Sicily, or Venice? Wherever you’re headed in Italy, there are some basic customs that might be different from what you’re used to. Tipping in Italy isn't as common as in other countries, like the United States, for example. While locals may sometimes leave a small tip, a gratuity — “una mancia” — is seen as an optional gesture to reward exceptional service.

This guide covers whether you should tip in Italy, and if so, when and how much. Spoiler alert: Always remember to tip your tour guide! Keep reading to learn about other situations when you should absolutely leave a tip in Italy.

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Tipping rules for tourists in Italy

The short answer is: There are no set rules for tipping in Italy. As a tourist, leaving a tip is a courteous gesture to reward the person who is serving you. It shows that you’re satisfied with their help. Tipping is entirely up to you, and it isn't expected in many cases — but there are some exceptions.

Sometimes, not leaving a tip can be an indication that you were unhappy with the service provided. When in doubt, it's always better to leave a tip! Tipping is never rude, but not tipping, on the other hand, might be. So, make sure you keep some coins on hand — it's unusual to leave tips if you’re paying with a card, and the machine might not offer the option to add a gratuity.

Read our guide to tipping in Europe for more about common expectations in each country.

Tipping in Italy: who to tip

Attitudes towards gratuities in Italy have evolved in recent years. The influx of mass tourism, particularly from countries like the U.S. where tipping is customary, has influenced Italian tipping culture. While Italians occasionally leave tips, the amounts are usually much smaller, and it’s still considered optional.

Before instinctively reaching for your wallet to tip at a restaurant or in a taxi, it’s essential to understand when, how, and how much to tip (or not to tip) in Italy. Here are a few common situations and how to navigate them:

Tipping in restaurants and cafés

A common practice to reward good service is to leave approximately €1 per diner in sit-down restaurants. You can also opt to round up the check by a few euros as a gesture of appreciation. If you're not happy with the service, don't tip.

If you're following the locals and having your cappuccino and cornetto at the counter of a coffee bar, leave behind any extra change as a tip. Small change — think 10 or 20 cents — is enough to show your appreciation. Use the tip jar if one is available or leave the change at the counter with your receipt.

Tipping in hotels

If you're traveling on a budget, there's no need to tip for short stays, especially if you're staying in B&Bs, guesthouses, or hostels. Fancier hotels and longer stays, however, might be rewarded with a tip. 

If the porter helped you with heavy bags or a particular waiter really looked after you during your stay, it's common to tip them €1-2 per day. And if you're a messy guest, extend that gratitude and courtesy to the housekeeper who has to clean up after you!

Tipping taxis in Italy

Tipping taxi drivers in Italy is gradually gaining popularity, particularly when drivers go above and beyond to help their passengers. That said, it's still unusual, so giving a tip to your driver might leave them (pleasantly) surprised.

If you encounter a driver who is exceptionally helpful with your luggage, ensures your comfort throughout the journey, or takes extra measures to reach your destination quickly and avoid traffic, tipping is appreciated. The most common method of tipping a taxi driver in Italy is by allowing them to keep the change. You can also round it up to the nearest euro to show extra appreciation for your ride.

Tipping tour guides and other tourist services

In Italy, there’s one notable exception to the general practice of not tipping: tour guides. It’s customary to tip tour guides, regardless of whether the tour is free or paid, because gratuities are a significant part of their income. The amount to tip depends on the size and duration of the tour.

  • For large group tours: A tip of €5 per person for a half-day tour or €10 per person for a full-day tour is appropriate.
  • For small group or individual guided tours: The suggested tip is 10 percent of the total cost of the tour.

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Non-tipping situations in Italy

Tipping can be controversial. There are some situations where tipping isn't expected and might actually be unusual, such as:

  • Self-service restaurants: In self-service restaurants where you order and collect your food at a counter, tipping isn't customary, and there’s no need to leave an extra gratuity.
  • Retail stores and boutiques: Tipping isn’t needed in retail stores or boutiques. The price of the item includes any service you might receive from the staff.
  • Service charges included: In some tourist areas or upscale establishments, different service charges — “servizio” or “coperto” in Italian — may be automatically included in the bill. In these cases, you don’t need to leave an additional tip.
  • Spa treatments, haircuts, or beauty salon services: In Italy, it's not mandatory to tip for personal care services. As usual, if the service is extraordinary, feel free to add a cash tip up to 10 percent of the service price.

It's important to remember that while tipping isn't mandatory in these situations, if you receive exceptional service or wish to show appreciation, leaving a small gratuity is always appreciated!

One final tip for tipping in Italy: Be generous, but not too much. It's not necessary to leave a tip that is more than 10 percent of your total check. 

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Is there a service fee in Italy?

Some touristy areas might charge a standard service fee or cover charge. You’ll see it listed as “servizio incluso” or “coperto” on your restaurant bill. If that's the case, this fee already covers the service provided, so it's not necessary to leave a tip

Is tipping expected in Italy?

Tipping isn’t generally expected in Italy, especially when a service charge is already included. However, there are certain instances where tipping is customary, such as with tour guides.

Is tipping common in Italy?

Tipping is becoming more common in Italy, particularly in touristy areas with lots of international visitors. However, it’s still not as prevalent as in other countries, and the practice varies depending on the region and establishment.

Is tipping rude in Italy?

No, tipping isn’t considered rude in Italy. While not expected, a small tip shows appreciation for exceptional service and is generally well-received. Just remember that overtipping might be seen as unusual or unnecessary.

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