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Public Toilets in Venice

When you need to spend a penny in Venice, prepare to pay a lot more: €1,50 at the city's official toilets, or €1,-- for WCs at the railroad station and the Tronchetto parking garage.

Arrows pointing to Venice 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 facilities are going to be overwhelmed when 100,000 tourists show up with their water bottles on a typical summer day.

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, local authorities have promised to build more public restrooms as part of an effort to improve tourist facilities. 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 - Public toilet at Accademia Bridge

ABOVE: This WC is at the foot of the Accademia Bridge in Dorsoduro, near the Accademia vaporetto station.


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.

  • 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 restrooms normally don't have urinals, and toilet stalls are enclosed from floor to ceiling, with solid walls and doors.

Locations of public toilets

Venice's public WCs are normally open during the day and early evening; hours vary with the day and season. See the official map, search for the restroom closest to you, or install one of these apps on your smartphone:

Official WC descriptions include information such as the number of stalls and urinals, whether disabled toilets and "nurseries" (diaper-changing facilities) are available, etc.


WC public toilet at Venice Lido SME with attendant

ABOVE: An attendant collects fees for the spotlessly clean WC on the Lido di Venezia, next to the Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta vaporetto station.


Toilet and sink in Lido SMI public WC

ABOVE: In the Lido WC, each toilet stall has its own sink.


Here are some of the most popular toilets in the city:

  • Calle Large dell' Ascensione, which is just beyond the narrow end of the Piazza San Marco. Go through the archway from the square, turn right, and look for the WCs (which are down a short alley off the left side of the pedestrian street.)

  • Giardini ex reali San Marco. This lavatory is on the waterfront, not far from the San Marco Giardinetti vaporetto and airport-boat stop.

  • Accademia, at the foot of the Accademia Bridge on the Dorsuduro side of the Grand Canal (near the Accademia vaporetto stop).

  • Santa Lucia Railroad Station. See the toilets page of our station article for directions and a photo. (Biffy bargain alert: When we last checked, the station was charging one euro to use its clean and accessible WCs, compared to 1,50 at the city's public toilets.)

  • Piazzale Roma, where airport buses and municipal buses arrive in Venice.

  • The Tronchetto parking island, if you're arriving or departing by car or tour bus. Public toilets were 50 cents cheaper than in the city center the last time we checked.

  • The Lido di Venezia, which is Venice's beach resort. The attended WCs (shown above) are in a modern building next to the Santa Maria Elisabetta ACTV station.


Public toilet (WC) with souvenir stands at Piazzale Roma

ABOVE: To reach the public WC in Piazzale Roma, look for a row of souvenir stands at the tree-lined end of the square.


Tip:

  • Venice, Mestre, and Murano have a few department stores and shopping centers with public toilets for customers. (Sadly, Venice's Coin department store--a convenient spot for a quick WC visit--is no more.)

  • If you're in Dorsoduro, head for Ca' Rezzonico near the Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop and use the impeccably maintained toilets in the lobby. The restrooms are free, even if you don't visit the museum upstairs, and they're located next to the gift shop and the cloakroom on the ground floor. (While you're at it, buy a ticket to enjoy this museum of 17th Century Venice in a restored palazzo.)