Top 5 tips to Survive Public Restrooms in Italy

Traveling in Italy is one of the most amazing experiences in life, BUT make your trip better with these travel tips beforehand:
1-   Bathroom Doors in Italy are almost always shut, often with a rickety door latch.  First try by pulling or pushing really hard on the door handle.  If you think its locked, Knock loudly on the door.  If you hear, “occupato!” then someone is in there. I can’t tell you how many times I have waited outside of an empty bathroom only to realize the door handle was stuck.
2-   Door Signs on Bathrooms in Italy
Multi-Sex Bathroom – Bagno or Toilette or WC (Water Closet) or Gabinetto
Men’s bathroom- Uomo or Signori
Women’s bathroom- Donna or Signore
***Pay attention to the “I” or the “E”!!! I have gone into the men’s bagno more than 100 times by mistake of not reading the sign correctly! ~oops!
3-   Carry a pack of tissues in your pocket going to the bathroom. Usually there will be NO toilet paper… AND almost never have hand soap or paper towels.  They might have a hand dryer from 1970 that will take you an hour to dry your hands.
4-   Pay Per Pee – Keep an EURO or small change in your pocket bc most public restrooms have a bathroom attendant who demands that you leave change for the use of the bagno, especially in rest stops.  You may have to insert money into a machine before entering.  But these are usually the cleanest best bathrooms!
5-   Flushing the toilet in Italy -There is a different mechanism in almost every toilet in Italy.  Sometimes you will push a pedal on the floor, PREMERE or push a plastic round button on the wall, Pull a handle from the ceiling, pull up a little knob on the back of the toilet, or push a large rectangular button made of stainless steel in the wall… be prepared to be confused as to how to rid of your waste.  BEWARE of the “SQUAT” or La Turka!!!
*** Most bathrooms in Italy are not very well marked with directional signs and usually you have to ask, “Dove’ il Bagno?”   Where is the restroom?
9 times out of ten, “Il Bagno” {the bathroom} is “In fondo a destra” {in the back in the right}.  If its not on the right, check  “a sinistra” {the left}.
***  Forget everything you know about public bathroom cleanliness!

 

Primo di Maggio translates as Labor Day in Italy

Red Velvet Voyage Giro Arrosto in Tuscany

Primo di Maggio in Italy is the 1st of May, translated as Labor Day in Italy when Italians go on picnics or attend festivals or concerts.  For Primo di Maggio I attended a picnic organized by my husbands best friend since he was 12 years old.  The location, an old family-built stone Tuscan Farm House that has since been abandoned, but serves as a party/picnic spot.  Families came out with babies & picnic blankets, in total about 60 people were in attendance.  He hired two men, one an uncle of another childhood friend, to bring out the meat and work the open rotiiserie pit – sausage, chicken, pork, liver, bead and lots of sage salt and olive oil.  Simple Tomato Spaghetti was served per i bimbi, the kids.  The really good wine was hidden in the pantry inside & I got to drink the fancy juice! Mothers brought home-made dolci. Everyone brought money to donate to the food and wine cause.  After lunch everyone played and laughed & continued to get even sillier.  Tuscan slang was tossed back and forth, me understanding about 50% of all of the jokes.  Everyone had a fantastic time and enjoyed la giornata in camagna!