tipping in Italy

Feb 15th, 2001, 10:27 AM
Ellen B. Cutler
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tipping in Italy

We are leaving for Rome on 2/26. My Italian teacher (about 70 years old, born in Bari, goes back to Italy about once a year) swears that all Americans should bring a wad of $2 bills and use this to tip waiters, service people, and so on. Each service, I guess, merits a $2 bill. What is your experience with tipping? Is this a good idea? What advice would you offer me? Thanks!
Feb 15th, 2001, 10:35 AM
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I'm not saying that American currency is ever refused, but I personally think it is more polite and sensitive to pay for anything, even gratuities, in the local currency--when in Rome, etc.
My suggestions:
In hotels the service charge of 15-19% is already included in the bill, but that charge goes to management. If you'd like to leave something for the housekeeper, L2000-10,000 per day would be nice, depending on the service you get and the level of the hotel. You can tip a bellman or porter 2000 lire per bag, more if you like. In restaurants, 15% is added to your bill for service, again that goes to management. It will be expected that you tip additionally for good service, anywhere from 5-10%. Don't add that onto your credit card slip, leave it in cash on the table. When you sign the credit card slip, the official service charge has already been included in the total.
In cafes and bars, tip approx 15% of the bill, and the same to taxi drivers.
These are my estimates, people have differing opinions on this sort of thing. Any basic guidebook will also have tipping suggestions.
Feb 15th, 2001, 10:37 AM
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Italians generally don't tip but waiters and others in tourist cities like Rome, Venice and Florence have come to expect tips from Americans. If I am in these cities I will leave a tip if the service is good but I don't feel compelled to leave a 15% minimum as is the case in the US. In non-tourist places, tips are not expected and a tip of even a small amount is appreciated but by no means required.
Feb 15th, 2001, 10:52 AM
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No two dollar bills, please. If you were a waiter in the US what would you do with a 5,000 lire note?

Restaurant tipping, 'round up the bill' if the service was satisfactory and the service charge is included in the bill ... never more than 5%, less as a rule. For example, if the bill comes to 48,000 lire leave 1,000 or 2,000.
NOTE: Not every restaurant includes the service charge. (Usually you'll find a note on the menu saying something like Servizio Incluso). If you're unsure, ask. ("Servizio e' incluso?")

Cabs, about 10%, or more if justified.

Maids, 2,000/day if you like. Concierges as appropriate to your requests of them. Bags 1-2,000 per bag.

Feb 15th, 2001, 11:50 AM
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Where are you going to get all those $2 bills? I haven't seen one in years.
Feb 15th, 2001, 01:40 PM
Brian in Atlanta
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Ask at your local bank. Most tellers are more than pleased to get those things out of their drawers (I'm a former bank teller).
Feb 15th, 2001, 01:55 PM
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I've always thought that giving tips in, or trying to pay for goods with, American dollars in Europe is a good excuse for the locals to get on our case about cultural imperialism. And pity the poor waiter who has to go stand in line at his bank and wait who knows how long to get the lousy $2.00 changed into lire!
Feb 15th, 2001, 07:50 PM
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Hi, everyone. Do you tip for a water taxi ride in Venice? If so, how much? If you are going between the airport and your hotel, are these prices set or should you try to negotiate? If you negotiate the price, should you negotiate to include the tip?

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