Italy by Rail and Ship: Bathrooms

Some observations over the last month regarding bathrooms:

Many are labeled as toilets, or “WC.”  Officially, it is bagno in Italian, but we haven’t really seen this.

Bathrooms are not free.  You must be a paying customer of a restaurant or bar or cafe, or museum or paid attraction to qualify.  Public toilets cost money — typically .50 euros, and as high as 1 euro in Cinque Terre.  Oftentimes the public toilets are manned by a Bathroom Overlord.  He or she will keep the restrooms clean, point you to the stall that is available and enforce the law of payment.  If there is no person to take your money, then you will find a machine that you put your money into and in return you shall receive a token.  This token will allow you through the turnstile to access the toilet.

Line up for the public WC in San Gimignano. Two bathroom stalls. One person leaves, one person can enter the turnstile. Cost: .50 euro, which we paid for.

The fake free toilet:  this happens when you think you’ve scored a free public toilet, only to find that you must have an access code to open it.

Toilet seats are not guaranteed.  Actually, it is about 50/50.  Half the time there will be a toilet seat, the other time there will just be the rim of the toilet base.  We have been fortunate that in all of our hotel stays, there has always been a toilet set.  However, this evening Lisa was horrified to find out that our seat was not bolted down to the rim, and she found out the hard way as it basically fell down and to the side when she tried to sit on it.  Hotel maintenance eventually came to the room to affix the seat.  What is curious though is the fact that the housekeeper actually put one of those paper strips across the seat lid that has “Sanitized” printed on it.  Apparently she did not realize that the seat wobbled and was just sitting there without any bolts or anything.  Then how did she put that paper around it?

Some public toilets don’t even have proper toilets — it’s just a hole in the ground with an outline of where to position your feet.  This is for both men and women.  And this is to complete bathroom process #1 and #2.

Bidets are very common in hotel rooms, but not in public toilet facilities.

For many public bathrooms in a restaurant or museum, there are unisex washrooms.  In other words, you enter through one door that features two or three sinks.  And beyond these will be a door marked for men and one for women, which will lead to the respective gender toilets.

I am too cheap to pay for a public bathroom.  I am just so conditioned as an American to expect free bathrooms for public use.  But yes, I know that I am not in America and it is just something that has been an adjustment.  And that adjustment is this:  whenever I have a “free toilet,” I am going to use it.  I paid $4 for this Coke?  Well for sure I am going to seek out your restroom and use it!

Two points about toilet paper.  #1 – they mostly come in rolls, though there were a few places that the paper dispenser is pre-cut so you only get two sheets at a time.  #2 – you really aren’t supposed to throw toilet tissue in the toilet to flush, as many public waste water facilities can’t really process all of that paper garbage.  That is why there is a waste basket next to the toilet — it is for your paper waste.  This is especially true if there is a bidet — after all, it is there to help wash out your anus so there really shouldn’t be a need for toilet paper!  So, bottom line, throw out your used toilet paper into the available waste basket and do not flush it down the toilet!

Ready, aim, fire! Nice view from the window!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.