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Public Toilets in Venice (2020)

By Durant Imboden


Above: Public toilets in San Polo. INSET BELOW: In bars, you'll occasionally find Turkish-style toilets.

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 summer day.

photoOne 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 residents.

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

Locations of public toilets


ABOVE: Fortunately, the official public toilets are nothing like this old port workers' lavatory near the San Basilio cruise pier.

Venice's public WCs are normally open during the day and early evening; hours vary with the day and season. See the official map, or install one of these apps if you have a smartphone:

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


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