Americans are used to tipping everywhere they go. Italians? Not so much. Therefore, on your grand tour of Rome, never feel obligated to leave a tip for anyone. Period. This is especially the case in Roman restaurants. In fact, the eatery probably already factored a tip into your bill. So don’t sweat it!
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t leave a few extra euros for a waiter who provided exceptional service. A good standard for restaurant tipping is to leave about €1-2 per person for five-star service. Alternatively, you could just round up your bill to show your appreciation to the restaurant staff. Any tip over 10 percent, however, is far too high by Italian standards.
Pricey Pane & Sneaky Servizio
When you receive your restaurant bill, look out for these two words: “pane” and “servizio.” Unlike America’s beloved Olive Garden, bread bowls in Italy aren’t free. Don’t be shocked when you see the Italian word for “bread” (“pane”) listed on your bill with a small fee. Typically, you should see no more than €2 by the pane line. If you don’t want to pay this hidden fee, simply tell your waiter you don’t want bread at the start of your meal.
The other additional fee you might see listed on a restaurant receipt is for “service” (servizio). This extra fee should only appear on your bill if you’re dining with a large party. Good restaurants should only list the servizio fee if your group is more than eight people. Basically, the service charge functions as a tip for your waiter. Don’t bother leaving a tip if your bill has this fee listed.
Who Else Should I Tip in Rome?
Besides waiters, you might be tempted to tip taxi drivers, hotel porters and tour guides on your Roman vacation. While tips are not obligatory in any of these cases, it has become increasingly common for tourists to tip the latter two professions.
LIKE FREE BOOKS? Get a free Paris ebook when you subscribe to my free, monthly email newsletter, EuroExperto. Subscribe here!
Just like with restaurant waiters, your taxi fare already includes a tip. You could round up your final price to thank your taxi driver, but it’s never necessary.
However, with hotel porters and concierges, it’s a good idea to tip for great service. This is especially the case if your sweaty porter just schlepped heavy luggage up to your room. Again, there’s no standard tip for porters, but a €5 note is a nice gesture.
Lastly, if you feel your guide really helped you get the most out of your tour of the Eternal City, then, by all means, give him/her a tip. Just don’t go crazy. Tip a private tour guide 5-10 euros/person and a group tour guide 1-2 euros/person. You shouldn’t feel the need to tip a tour guide more than 10% of what you paid for the tour.
Travel Europe smarter! Download a free copy of "Paris for €10" and receive monthly European travel tips, news and more with our free newsletter, EuroExperto.