Where is the Restroom?
If you’re like me you always know where the restroom is when you are on your trip to Italy. From having kids to spilling on your clothes or just really needing to go restroom are an invaluable part of travel. Driving along a US highway you see a rest stop so you – stop. You always know that the mall will have several restrooms and parks usually have a few. Well, you’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. Italy is very different. I will never forget my first trip to Italy and my first experience with a public restroom. I walked in and stopped. I must have had a very puzzled look on my face because an old Italian lady next to me began laughing, said, “American?” and pointed. I looked and looked again. My new best friend began laughing and pantomimed what I was supped to do. I looked at her then at the two small foot prints on either side of a small hole in the ground and then at her again. She smiled and nodded. I shook my head and slowly backed out of the restroom. Welcome to your trip to Italy!
Yes, sometimes there are no toilets just a small hole in the ground similar to a mini outhouse without the seat. Other times you will find public toilets but make sure you have coin to use them. Keep in mind that Italy is not America. Some stores, restaurants and bars do have toilets but they are for paying customers. Show some cultural awareness and be polite. If you do need to use the restroom buy a pack of gum, a glass of wine or something from the store that holds the answer to your prayer. McDonalds is always a good place to stop – not for the food, please, you’re in Italy. How about a coke with the use of the restroom? Rule of thumb – go when you can and don’t wait until you have to go.
One more thing to think about: toilet paper. Toilet paper can range from sandpaper to paper so light and thin that a puff of wind will shred it. The answer is to carry toilet wipes with you. If you see someone handing out toilet paper – don’t quibble about it. Pay the coin because if it’s being sold then it’s not in the stall. My sister traveled throughout Europe one summer and made a toilet paper collection book. It was amazing how many different kinds of toilet paper she encountered throughout her travels. The moral of this story is to be prepared and remember that traveling is always an adventure so make the most of it on your own trip to Italy!0