Answers from Our Experts (2)
Tipping is a hot debate in Rome. Most Romans will tell you that there is absolutely no need to tip- waiters receive monthly salaries as opposed to minimum wage and coperte (per person cover) are almost always itemized into the bill. If there is a reason to tip - such as great service, waiter is a friend, personal obligation, et al - the tip is token gesture of only a few coins. In fact, big tippers are rare and mostly hold foreign passports. However, last year, Mark Zuckerberg inflamed the debate when he supposedly did not leave a tip at the Ghetto's Nonna Betta restaurant. The speculation is that he lives by the phrase "when in Rome. . . ". The bottom line is that tipping in Rome is all about comfort zone. If you feel you should tip, go right ahead but here are some guidelines:
In restaurants, bars and caffes, first and foremost review the bill to make sure everything is properly included and then assess the experience. Service should always be beyond satisfactory to merit a tip. There is no need to reward poor service and bad attitude ever. Tips should never exceed 10%, and should range between 5 to 8%, more than that is an exaggeration. Always have small change on hand. One euro and two euro coins make the perfect mancia.
On the flip side of the tipping coin, taxi fares should not be "rounded up" or tipped. It is more important to pay attention to the taxometer and fare regulations (which should be prominently displayed on the back of the front seat). Make sure to have smaller bills (fives, tens and twenties) as taxi drivers are not known for enjoying breaking a fifty or hundred euro bill.
In Italy tipping is not mandatory, and you don't you have to feel compelled to tip a waiter or a taxi driver.
While there seems to be a “rule” that suggests to leave 10% of the bill on the table before leaving the restaurant, this is usually already included in the bill and it's precisely devoted to the service. When you receive it, check your receipt, and if it's written 10% has already been charged for the service, don't feel compelled to leave also a tip. If service is not included, then it's good to leave something, but it's entirely up to you.
If you do leave a tip, it really doesn't have to be 10% of the bill, because if the bill is 100 euro, a 10-euro tip is quite high. In general, 1 or 2 euro is what most people leave. Obviously, this only if you are happy with the service and the food in case of a restaurant, because if you were not treated as you would have liked, nobody will judge you if you don't leave a tip.
When it comes to taxi drivers, also here the tip is appreciated but not mandatory. Usually, you can leave the change, when it's not too much. If your change is 20 euro, you can't leave all of it, so also here you can give him 1 euro or 2.
In Rome, and in Italy in general, tipping is really up to the customer and very much a sign of appreciation for the service received.