Monthly Archives: May 2021

Tipping in Italy. Or not.

May 25, 2021

I come from New York. A place where if you forget to tip a waiter or a taxi driver you might well fear for your life – or in any event be subject to an unpleasant berating.  So, what a pleasure to live in a country where tipping is still more or less up to you, the customer.

Don’t get me wrong. Tipping is of course appreciated; it is rare to find someone in Italy who will actually refuse a tip, especially after a year of Covid. But if you don’t feel like giving one, or don’t have the right amount of money, no problem. And this makes life easier. Less stress.


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At the “bar”: Il caffé -The many forms (and tastes) of coffee in Italy

May 11, 2021

Prendiamo un caffè? Shall we have a coffee?

Coffee in Italy serves many purposes. Some folks, like people everywhere, need it to wake up. For others it is simply a habit. For some it is almost a drug and people who are hooked on caffeine, myself included, seem to need several a day to keep going. But in Italy coffee also preforms an important social function, that of an icebreaker, of a thank you token when someone who has helped you out won’t accept anything more, or simply as a way of touching base with friends and neighbors.


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Il barista italiano: a national resource

May 11, 2021

This was the title of a story I wrote a few years back for the Rome daily, Il Messaggero, and from the feedback I had I am inclined to believe that every barista in Rome thought I was writing about him (yes, there are women bariste but they are still a minority).

This is the kind of place you want to avoid

If you are – like me – someone used to having her first coffee of the day outside the house, the barista’s attitude can have a significant impact on the rest of your day and therefore anyone sulking or in a bad mood is definitely to be avoided.


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