Tipping in Italy

When you are out dining at a foreign restaurant, one of the biggest cultural puzzles to solve is whether to give a tip or not. Throughout the world, tipping an individual could simply mean a kind but needless act or something compulsory or customary. This article is about Italy, so we are going to discuss whether tipping in Italy is good or not.

Tipping in Italy
Tipping in Italy *

Both servizio incluso and il coperto can be found written on the menu in any sit-down restaurants because any of these do not offer counter services. Il coperto simply means cover charge and 1,2 or 3 Euros are often charged for this to cover the bread and water served before the real meal. Servizio incluso is the service charge, which is around 10% – 20%. The bill you will be given will contain your total due. You can as well drop a few more euros on the table for a waiter if you feel so flattered about the services you have received.
If information about servizio incluso is not included in the menu, there should be a cover charge on your bill or some automatic tip. Therefore, the fact that you cannot find servizio incluso on the menu does not imply that you have to leave a tip. Also, if servizio non incluso is written on the menu, it does not imply that you are obligated to leave a tip. This is because tipping has to do with how Italian workers are paid when compared to places like the United States.

Italian Waitress
Italian Waitress *

In Italy, a waiter is not underpaid as the case is in other countries like the United States. So, tipping or not tipping a waiter would only add little difference to a waiter’s salary or wage. In addition to the living wage a waiter gets in Italy, he also gets other benefits like a paid vacation and health benefits from the government.
Does it then mean that it is not allowed to tip in Italy? No is the answer.
When you arrive at a place newly and not conversant with the acceptable behavior at the place, it will be best if you can study the locals and learn their behavior by following their lead. This is also applicable to tipping – following the lead of the locals as regard tipping. It is the customary behavior of the Italians to leave a coin, 2 or more on the table while leaving a restaurant, even when they have morning coffee at the bar – some will even tip before any service is received. If a person is tipped even before he serves you, there is every likelihood that you will receive better and more polished service.
10% – 15% is the standard for an ideal tipping. Unlike places like America, Italians do not receive tips that much, they only receive a small token. So, an Italian waiter naturally do not expect that much.

Italian wine
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If you do not feel okay to just leave your table without leaving anything behind, 1, 2 or a few coins will do. If you will be refuting your bill with a credit card, it is not a bad idea to put a tip on the card. If you will be paying cash, you may round up your bill to the next whole number so that the little extra can serve as the tip.
The same rule applied to waiters apply to taxi drivers as well. But note that while tipping is good and serves as an incentive, it is not necessary and expected. So, you do have to feel obligated to tip if you do not want to.

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