La Bella Vita: Tickets to visit Venice and Italy’s unwritten rules on tipping

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
La Bella Vita: Tickets to visit Venice and Italy’s unwritten rules on tipping
Tourists walk across St Mark's Square in Venice. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

From mastering Italian-style tipping etiquette to understanding Venice's new ticketing system, our weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.


As you might have seen in the news recently, tickets for Venice are now officially on sale after the city launched its new online platform allowing for payment of its ‘tourist tax’.

Day-trippers will need to pay five euros to enter the city centre on 29 key dates this year: during the first peak tourism period of the year, from April 25th to May 5th, and then on all weekends in May and June as well as the first two weekends of July.

The long-planned scheme is being trialled this year in a move intended to thin the crowds and lessen the impact of mass tourism in Venice’s centro storico.

But the website isn't just for day-trippers. Whether you're a Venice resident, second-home owner, or regular visitor, you'll probably need to get to grips with the new system.
Some readers who have already used the portal reported finding it confusing or having technical issues, so we tried it out ourselves. We broke down who exactly has to pay the charge, how the website works, and how to claim an exemption:

How to use Venice’s new ‘tourist tax’ website

Another perennial source of confusion among visitors to Italy is tipping culture - which is understandable, considering that you may be told different things about this depending on who you ask.

As regular visitors know, tipping is not required or expected in Italy. But despite this, one reader recently wrote in to say waiters at restaurants she visits in Italy regularly hint that "service is not included." Are they telling the truth, she asks, or is she right to be wary? Should 'servizio' be listed on the bill? And if you want to tip Italian-style, how much is normal?

We answer these questions and more about tipping at Italy's restaurants in the article below:

When and how much should I tip in Italy?

Restaurant, Rome

Visitors to Italy are often unsure whether, or how much, to tip - and some unscrupulous restaurants may take advantage. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP


Moving to a sleepy Italian village and opening a B&B is the dream for many retirees - but not only. This week, we spoke to one British-Italian couple who did it in their forties.

Moving from London to a Tuscan village of just 400 inhabitants, they swapped grey skies for sunshine and the 9-5 grind for the seasonal lifestyle that comes with running a small hospitality business.

If you've ever dreamed of doing something similar, here's what they told us about finding their new home, running the business, and the challenges and rewards along the way:

'How we left the UK to open a B&B in a Tuscan village'

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Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you'd like to see us write more about? Please email me at [email protected].


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