Ice skating in the Campo San Polo
Schoolchildren in the Campo San Polo

The number one problem during Carnival

Portable toilets in Venice

ABOVE: Portable toilets in the Campo San Polo. INSET BELOW: The high price of responsible behavior.

Venice porta-potty sign For the convenience of Carnivalgoers, the city of Venice has installed portable toilets at strategic locations around town.

That's the good news.

But there's also bad news for visitors who need to go, and for the spazzini who need to clean up after they've gone:

It can cost a euro to use a biffy, and tipsy revelers are likely to prefer whizzing in the open air (as we've seen them do) to wasting money that could be spent more enjoyably on a beer or spritz.

Bottom line: In Venice at Carnival time, the man who turns his back on you probably doesn't mean to be rude--he's just trying to save the price of a visit to the porta-loo.

Follow-up (Sunday, March 6):

  • We've noticed that the porta-loo fee is charged only on weekends, and only at the busiest locations, presumably because the city can't justify hiring attendants unless it expects to collect a reasonable amount of cash
  • This morning, while walking our dog Maggie, we saw workers pumping out the portable toilets in the Campo San Polo and cleaning the enclosures with a mop and bucket. (The sewage was being pumped to a distant barge via a series of interconnected pipes--a process that isn't easy or cheap, and which obviously helps to justify the one-euro biffy charge.)


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portable toilet guy

I think charging for the use of portable toilets is a good idea; but 1 Euro! OMG!

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