Monday, November 2, 2015

Flushing Around Florence

There are things we take for granted. We in this case refers to Americans. We enter a bathroom and do not think about the toilet or flushing mechanism. Occasionally an unusual method presents itself, and we spend a few seconds surveying the space and figuring out what to do. Clean facilities should be a given but unfortunately standards vary widely everywhere. It is an extremely important issue to men and women,  involving factors affecting health and education, but as far as I know neither Republican or Democratic Presidential candidates have discussed the subject, most likely because there are no easy answers.

During my trip to Italy I experienced  a variety of toilets, flushing mechanisms, and degrees of cleanliness. Sometimes a picture illustrates a point better than a thousand or more words ever could. Below are some of the places our group of four women got the chance to sit down for a few minutes and rest our weary bones while answering nature's call.

This looks like a normal display wall in a grocery store. It is, and it is not...

Open the wall - actually a well-hidden door disguised as a wall - and voila!
A bathroom awaits use by a few selective, in-the-know customers.

Many places offer facilities for customers only, concealed and unmarked behind doors not immediately obvious. 
The restaurant in our hotel in Venice offered well-appointed WCs (water closets) behind the bar's paneled wall. The casual observer would not notice the entrance, and seekers of a place to relieve themselves must look carefully to find the entrance. 

Along with toilets come cleansing facilities. Not all the time, but usually. We know how to turn on a faucet, but occasionally encounter an unusual system, such as the floor pump pictured here.

Fancier floor pumps - red for hot water and blue for cold.

Sometimes you get what you pay for. And sometimes you pay for the privilege of using clean, modern facilities.
The cost to use this one: 1.5 euros (about $1.65 US dollars).

Need instructions? 
Here they are in pictures, Italian, and English. The 'sanitizing vapour' is strong!

Below is a picture of the sinks in a restaurant WC. The mirror illustrates what is on the opposite side of the room - 
a glass door leading to an enclosed outdoor patio wth a fountain, viewed in the second photo.

Since the name of this post is Flushing Around Florence, I included a picture of the most common flushing mechanism found in Italy.


  1. I think I would be too confused to go!!

  2. They look very clean indeed. I'm not sure I would be happy to pay 1.5 euros to take a quick whizz, though! :-)