Italy dining: coperto, servizio?

Jun 5th, 2005, 04:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Italy dining: coperto, servizio?

Are both of these items the same, and are either of them optional? When I was in Rome two years ago I told one of the waiters 'no coperto' and I got a look that told me I shouldn't do that any more.

Now we're going back for two weeks and I'm starting to wonder about tipping, service, bread.

Any tips / dialog?
mdtravel is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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coperto = cover; servizio = service. Not technically the same thing, and if you ask directly if service is included, many will say no, no, no. Wink wink nudge nudge. Some menus state outright what the per person coperto is or will state the percentage for service (10-12%), which is helpful. A lot won't, but most advice-givers tell you service is ALWAYS included. We gave ceremonial tips from time to time -- some overly generous I suspect, and once a single Euro-cent for a waiter who kept by-passing us, often pointedly, to serve table of probable regulars.

Once we waved away the bread, thinking ourselves savvy travelers unwilling to pay for it, only to have the server say, "are you sure? It's free."
Jun 5th, 2005, 05:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,617
Coperto is not a charge for bread, it's a charge per person for sitting at the table, a 'cover charge' as we say in English.
Take the bread, don't take the bread, bread is free or not free, the coperto still applies.

Here is fodors advice on tipping:
elaine is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 06:35 AM
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Hi md,

They put the bread on the table, whether you want it or not, and charge you for it.

I can't recall what they called the charge for bread, but it is no longer permitted, so they charge a "coperto", cover charge.

"Servizio", service charge (abt 15%), pays the hired help. It is always

Tip, what you give the waiter for particularly good service. Usually the change, or a euro or 2.

15% (as we do in the US) is a very, very generous tip.

ira is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Thank you folks. So take the bread, enjoy the view, have a glass of wine, and tip nominally (few euro) unless the service is great then tip more...that will be my rule of thumb and I won't get worked up over the coperto.
mdtravel is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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Sometimes it's "coperto e pane" -- cover and bread. Look at the bottom of the menu, particularly the part not in English!

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