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Tipping in Italy

Brisbane
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Tipping in Italy

Could I find out before I go what are the expectations regarding tipping.I imagine it is common at hotels but what type of eating places expect tips?

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Rome, Italy
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1. Re: Tipping in Italy

Tipping is not required in any restaurant. However, if your service was good it is quite common for people to leave a few extra euro as a tip. Not more than 5, unless your meal was elaborate and/or expensive.

United States
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2. Re: Tipping in Italy

I agree with WheninRome: I always leave a euro or 2, max 5.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Tipping in Italy

Tipping is not required for anything in Italy. It is customary to round up taxi fares or restaurant bills to a convenient amount. If you feel you received really excellent service, a tip is fine but never more than 10%.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Tipping in Italy

I have to say I never do quite get this "never more than 10%" statement you make each time this question comes up. Is there some rule I don't know about? I tip what I feel like tipping, and if I want to give more 10%, I do. And, yes, I've read the story about the purportedly embarrassed server who received a very big tip - in my more than 20 years of traveling to Italy, I've yet to have anyone seem anything more than gracious and pleased with what I have left for a tip.

This is a huge topic on this board - you can search the forum for "tipping" and a world of threads will spill out with varying opinions.

Yes, it is true, there is not cultural norm of tipping in Italy - however, people can, if they so wish, tip what and when they would like to do so.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Tipping in Italy

It's a rule of thumb, MomCat. And I have seen servers greatly embarrassed by too-large tips. Maybe you have never left a 25% tip.

Montreal
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6. Re: Tipping in Italy

Oh please! This "I'll tip 20% or 25% if I want to" is so old and so un-Italian and oh so American.

If the server is not embarrassed (it takes a lot to embarrass a Roman server), chances are he is gracious to your face, particularly if you're a repeat customer, and laughing at you behind your back.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Tipping in Italy

No, I do not tip that high. I just find this "never more than 10%" "rule" to be pretty arbitrary - maybe some people do laugh behind the backs of the very large tippers; don't know, I've never seen it personally happen.

Obviously, I can only speak of my personal experience - though I highly doubt there was much laughing behind my back as I don't leave such large tips. But, if there was laughing: so what? It's my money. And, I'm betting that even while they may be laughing, they are not returning it either but enjoying it.

I know there is the cultural difference because Italian servers are "earning a living wage" - given what I know about that average "living wage" - I would find that debatable, if I was up for a debate, which I'm not.

I do believe, however, that people who wish to tip are not going to be swayed by those who say it is unnecessary regardless of how many times it is repeated.

The bottom line is that no, a tip is not necessary or expected and it is fine to not leave one, but, it is also fine to leave a tip if one wishes to do so. How much one tips is up to that individual.

I haven't seen anyone here saying they are tipping 20-25% - but, perhaps I've just missed those comments on the forum.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Tipping in Italy

Momcat I think it will always remain an American/non-American divide, with each not understanding the other.

My first trip to America I thought the food was very inexpensive compared with Australia and Europe, and it generally is. But then when we add the tax and the tip it comes out around the same for the same sort of place and food. So to me it is just a different apportioning of the same amount of money. In America I pay the waiter directly and the owner gives a little bit, In Europe or Oz the owner pays the waiter, and I give the waiter a little bit.

It was I who posted the thing about the waiter being embarrassed, and he was, and after the customer left they all had a laugh and were really amazed (they were fairly young). It is simply, truly, not part of the culture to tip large amounts and most Italians wouldn't even tip 10%. Just as I would be rude to ignore the large tipping culture in USA, it is rude to ignore the smaller tipping culture of Italy. Things are just arranged differently.

If you tipped in Japan, for instance, you would actually cause grave, and I mean grave, offence. It is demeaning someone to offer a tip in that culture and it approaches that in Italy, not quite offensive but somewhat master/servant instead of equals.

So it is always polite to follow the customs and culture of the host country where possible and not impose our own culture on it.

Cheers

Lynn

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Tipping in Italy

I have rarely tipped more than 10% - when I have it has been in circumstances where I have been particularly grateful for service that went above and beyond or because I simply didn't have the lesser coins on hand. I am not saying people should consider tipping more or even suggesting they tip anything at all.

I think the cat is out of the bag and it may be the US tourists who are the culprit, but I see non-Americans also leaving tips. I've been paying extra attention to this a few times just because of how heated this topic becomes here.

You and Nick say the person gets embarrassed; Zerlina says they laugh at you behind your back. I haven't seen either manifestation.

And thanks for the lecture about not imposing my own cultural norms elsewhere - I think I can handle myself after the countless trips I've made to Italy over the decades. Going again month, perhaps a bit more condescending advice is due?

Montreal
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10. Re: Tipping in Italy

Of course other nationals tip, even Italians tip; no one has denied it. But in my experience only Americans grossly overtip. Mega-rich Arabs are also said to grossly overtip, but I don't frequent the same places they do.

If they're laughing at people behind their backs (e.g., in the kitchen or after they've left), neither you nor the people involved are likely to see them doing so.