Public Toilets in Venice
is often criticized for its shortage of toilet facilities. To some extent, the criticism
is justified--after all, the city welcomes an estimated 12,000,000 tourists a year, yet it
has only a handful of public WCs scattered around the half-dozen sestieri, or
districts, that make up the historic center. It doesn't take a plumber to realize that the
existing facilities are going to be overwhelmed when 100,000 tourists show up
with their water bottles on a typical
Above: Public toilets in San Polo. INSET BELOW:
In bars, you'll occasionally find Turkish-style toilets.
One could argue that building enough toilets for
the masses would require destroying many of the buildings and monuments that
tourists come to see. Large-scale deployment of lavatories would also displace
even more Venetians than the 1,200 who already flee to the cheaper, less crowded
mainland in a typical year (maybe in search of a place to pee).
If it's any consolation, the city has
promised to build more public restrooms as part of a major effort to
improve tourist facilities. The city recently doubled the prices of using public
WCs in what critics have called a "toilet tax" on visitors and
Here's how to make the best of a poor
Know where to go.
See the list and official link on page 2 of this article.
Go when you have the opportunity. Use your
hotel bathroom before you start the day's sightseeing. During a museum visit, look for the
restroom. At better restaurants and cafés, use the loo before you leave.
Carry change for toilets, which often have turnstiles at the
Public WCs of AMAV, the Venice sanitation authority, charge a mind-boggling
unless you have the Venice Connected pass. Larger museums (such as the Doge's Palace) have attended restrooms
with posted fees. In other museums and
galleries, toilets are often free.
Pay attention to spelling. "Signori"
means "men," and "Signore" means "women."
Fortunately, many restroom signs use icons instead of text.
Don't be fazed by unisex facilities. Some museums don't have separate restrooms for men and women. Instead,
an attendant directs you to the next vacant toilet stall, or--in some
cases--banks of men's and women's toilets face a common row of washbasins. This
needn't be cause for embarrassment; unisex restrooms normally don't have urinals, and toilet stalls are
enclosed from floor to ceiling, with solid walls and doors.