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Public Toilets in Venice, Italy

When you need to spend a penny in Venice, prepare to pay a lot more: Most public WCs cost €1,50, and deposits are non-refundable.

Arrows pointing to Venice public toilets.

Arrow. Locations of public toilets

Venice is often criticized for its shortage of toilet facilities. To some extent, the criticism is justified--after all, the city welcomes millions of tourists per 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 lavatories are going to be overwhelmed when 50,000 visitors show up with their water bottles on a typical summer day.

One could argue--unconvincingly--that building enough restrooms for the masses would require destroying many of the buildings and monuments that tourists come to see.

Large-scale deployment of public conveniences might also displace even more Venetians than the 1,200 who already flee to the cheaper, less crowded mainland in a normal year (maybe in search of a place to pee).

If it's any consolation, local authorities have promised to build more restrooms as part of an effort to improve tourist infrastructure. A few years ago, the city doubled the prices of using public WCs in what critics have called a "toilet tax" on visitors and residents.

Venice WC - Diurno public toilet near Piazza San Marco.

ABOVE: A visitor uses a turnstile at the Diurno public lavatory near the Piazza San Marco.

Here's how to make the best of a poor situation:

  • Know where to go. See the list below.

  • 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 entrances. Public WCs of the Venice sanitation authority charge a mind-boggling 1,50. Some larger museums (such as the Doge's Palace) have attended restrooms with posted fees. In other museums and galleries, toilets are often free.

Venice public toilet at San Leonardo: Price and hours.

ABOVE: If you rely on Venice's municipal toilets, plan to do your business during business hours. (And don't take the posted hours too literally, since a WC may be closed for any number of reasons.)

  • 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. Many public WCs, museum toilets, etc. 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 isn't as alarming as it may sound; unisex facilities normally don't have urinals, and toilet stalls are enclosed from floor to ceiling, with solid walls and doors.

Locations of public toilets in the city center:

Venice's municipal lavatories are normally open during the day and early evening; hours vary with the location and season.

For details about facilities, accessibility, operating hours, etc., click the links in the descriptions below. Our descriptions are keyed to the numbers on this map that we photographed on the wall of a WC:

Map of public toilets in Venice, Italy.

Click for larger map (1,200 pixels wide)

1. Tronchetto parking garage

Tronchetto parking garage, Venice.

There are actually two public WCs on Tronchetto: one inside the garage by the office, and another by a souvenir stand in the parking lot for tour buses.

The last time we checked, the Tronchetto WCs were 50 cents cheaper than public toilets in the city.

2. Piazzale Roma

Public toilets at Piazzale Roma, Venice.

The Piazzale Roma is Venice's gateway for buses, trams, taxis, and cars. You'll find a public WC on the tree-lined side of the square, along a path that leads to a footbridge. The modern building is bracketed by souvenir stands.

3. San Leonardo

San Leonardo public toilet in Venice, Italy.

The S. Leonardo WC is conveniently located just off the main pedestrian thoroughfare between Venice's Santa Lucia Railroad Station and the Piazza San Marco. It's next to the Frito-Inn, on a tiny square on the right side of the street as you walk east from the Cannaregio Canal.

4. Accademia

Venice WC - Public toilet at Accademia Bridge.

It's hard to miss this public toilet: It's beneath the Dorsoduro end of the Accademia Bridge, close to the Accademia vaporetto stop and the Gallerie dell'Accademia art museum.

5. Rialto Novo

Rialto Novo public toilet in Venice, Italy.

Rialto Novo WC sign, Venice.The "New Rialto" WC is just off an arcaded passage on the San Polo side of the Rialto Bridge.

Look for a "WC" decal beneath the arches, which points to the toilet's location in the Campo Rialto Novo.

6. San Bartolomeo

San Bartolomeo WC, Venice, Italy.

San Bartolomeo public toilet entrance.This WC may not be the prettiest public lavatory in Venice, but it looks better inside than out.

The toilet is close to the Campo San Bartolomeo in the San Marco district, near the Rialto Bridge.

7. Diurno San Marco

Diurno San Marco public toilet in Venice, Italy.

Albergo Diurno WC sign near Piazza San Marco, Venice.This former public bathhouse is one of two restrooms by the Piazza San Marco. (It's also the largest WC in the city.) You can enter by either of two entrances. Once inside, you'll go upstairs to the facilities.

Signs on nearby buildings and on paving stones west of the piazza, just past the tourist office, make the Diurno San Marco WC easy to find.

8. Giardini Reali San Marco

Giardini Reali (Royal Gardens) public toilet near Piazza San Marco.

Sign for Royal Gardens WC in San Marco, Venice.One of Venice' s most modern WCs is at the former Giardini Reali (Royal Gardens), close to the San Marco Giardinetti waterbus stop. It's easier to find than many of Venices public toilets are, thanks to plenty of signs along the waterfront and on bridges.

9. SS. Filippo e Giacomo

SS Fillipo e Giacomo public toilet in Venice, Italy.

Handwritten WC directional sign in Venice, Italy.The Santi Filippo e Giacomo public toilet is one of the city's newest. It's tucked into a narrow street just off the Riva degli Schiavoni, which is a busy stretch of Venice waterfront to the east of the Doge's Palace. Look for "WC" decals and signs in neighboring streets and follow the arrows to the servizi igienici.

10. Bragora

Bragora public toilet in Venice, Italy.

This is another WC that can be tricky to locate, especially if you're approaching it from a rabbit warren of inland streets. Your best bet is to come from the waterfront promenade of Riva degli Schiavoni.

Calle del Cagnoleto off Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, Italy.As you face the buildings along the Riva, look for the Calle del Cagnoleto just to the west of the Hotel Gabrielli. Follow the gently curving street inland until you're forced to turn right. (The street name will change to Calle Morosina along the way.) The Bragora WC, which once housed public showers, is a few meters beyond the turn.

11. Giardini Napoleonici di Castello

Giardini Napoleonici di Castello WC sign in Venice, Italy.

You'll find this WC handy during the Biennale art exposition. It's located in the Giardini Publicci (Public Gardens), which are 15 or 20 minutes east of the Piazza San Marco and the Doge's Palace as you walk along the waterfront.

WCs on islands of the Lagoon:

Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta

Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta public toilet (WC), Venice, Italy.

The Lido di Venezia, Venice's beach resort, has a modern and well-equipped WC right next to the Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta (Lido S.M.E.) vaporetto and bus station, which is at the foot of the Lido's busiest shopping street.

Smaller islands

Look for city toilets on Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

Other WCs:

Venezia Santa Lucia Railroad Station

Venezia Santa Lucia railroad station in Venice, Italy.

Venice's main railroad station (the modern building in the photo above) has restrooms next to Track 1.

The last time we used the station's WCs, the fee was one euro (50 cents less in Venice's city toilets) and the turnstiles accepted cash or credit cards.

Note: When this article was updated in spring of 2024, the station's public toilets were undergoing renovation. (Toilets in bars and restaurants were still open for customers.)

Other places to go

  • Toilets are available in museums, restaurants, and bars in central Venice and in the mainland district of Mestre. (The cemetery island of San Michele also has a free toilet.)

  • A few department stores and shopping centers, such as the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, have restrooms for customers.

  • If you want to know more about the Venice public-toilet scene, read the enlightening and entertaining "Natural Functions" post at Erla Zwingle's I Am Not Making This Up blog.

Official city toilets Web site:

Toilet and sink in Lido SME public WC.

ABOVE: In this public WC on the Lido di Venezia, each toilet stall has its own sink.
The City of Venice and Veritas offer an interactive toilet map and a tool that lets you search for the restroom closest to you.

The site's WC descriptions include scheduled hours of operation (which aren't always observed), the number of stalls and urinals, whether disabled toilets and "nurseries" or diaper-changing facilities are available, etc.

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

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