Dining in Italy is AMAZING. We had no bad meals…not even close.
There are two kinds of eating experiences. Standup Counters are available for lunch where meals are cheaper and service is faster. Or you can sit at a table and be waited on. This is slower and more expensive….but sooooooo enjoyable. Almost every restaurant has tables outside where you can people-watch at your leisure.
If you sit at a table, they will not hound you to see if you need anything. Actually its the opposite of here in America. If you want something, you have to catch their attention and ask. They are leaving you alone to enjoy your company and the experience. They won’t even bring the check until you ask. So, if you don’t, you will sit there until closing. We enjoyed long, casual 2 hour dinners every evening!
Regarding shopping – in America, the proprietor is expected to reach out to us to make our experience a pleasure in their store. They initiate contact when we walk into the store. But in Italy, we are guests of the business owner and WE are expected to initiate the salutations. It is our job to catch their attention and say “hi”….else we are viewed as snobby Americans (smile).
Regarding Tips – Many restaurants and businesses include the gratuity as a “Service Charge.” Pay attention to your receipt to decide if they did or not. If they did, you are not required to leave any additional tip, although we usually left a little something to say thanks. If they don’t show a “Service Charge”, then 10% is a customary amount.