pee for free

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Lorenzo Lotto, Venus and Cupid, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1540

Alright, time to get real. David, sunsets over the Arno, your brand new leather boots, museum overdosing, and palazzo hopping – what good is any of it with a full bladder? Whether you’re in Florence for a day, a month, a year, or forever (jealous), we don’t think you should waste more than a minute tracking down a toilet. Moreover, true to our shallow pockets and firm stance on the basic human right to “do our business,” we don’t believe in this euro-phenomenon of paying to pee. So save those cents for gelato and coffee and follow us to the free bagni of Firenze.

Near Piazza della Signoria

While basking in the most beautiful Piazza in the world, of course guided by the FFF Piazza della Signoria parts 1 & 2, there is a chance that your cappuccino from the Gucci Cafe will catch up with you. Sure, you could go back into Gucci and ask for a bathroom. But you’re kind of sweaty, feeling super touristy, and just can’t face asking the supermodel-turned-barista for the nearest toilet. Instead, shoot up Via Calzaiuoli (towards the Duomo). One block up you will come to the department store Coin to your right. Follow signs to the bathroom on the top floor in the lingerie department. While you’re at it enjoy that blast of AC!

Near Piazza della Repubblica

Speaking of department stores, when nature calls near Piazza della Repubblica, sneak into the slightly more upscale Rinascente. Take a moment and pretend to peruse, then discreetly follow signs directing you to your refuge.

Near the Mercato Centrale

If you find that a full bladder is holding back your bargaining skills while cruising for leather in the San Lorenzo Market, you can find quick relief in the indoor Mercto Centrale. A frantic dash to the public stalls will go unnoticed in the crowded, noisy, mercato. With your business complete, relax and indulge in the tantalizing samples. Fuel up, then back to bargaining!

Near Piazza San Marco

As you head north from the Duomo, tourists thin out and restrooms are even harder to come by. Time to use those American street smarts and find the nearest McDonalds. The McDonalds on Via Cavour offers the best free bathroom in the San Marco neighborhood. (PS if you cave to the powers of a Mac-attack on the way out, you’ll get no judgement from us).

Near the Santa Maria Novella Train Station

I would say some of my most panicked toilet tantrums came in or around the Santa Maria Novella Train station. I personally find taking care of business on a train both physically complicated (think airplane bathrooms) and nerve-racking. Therefore, when I pull into good ol’ SMN I gotta go! And where do I find my refuge but in those yellow arches of hope. Don’t dash into the McDonald’s in the train station, however. Head out the north exit of the station and you’ll immediately spot the large McDonald’s across the street. Find the restrooms in the lower level. Phew!

Near San Miniato al Monte

Well, I guess you probably will never just be “near” San Miniato, unless you’re actually there. Regardless, don’t let your carb-loaded lunch spoil this picture-perfect moment. Free public restrooms are located to the left of the cemetery entrance.

General Advice

Ok, so technically, restaurants and cafes DO allow rogue tourists to use their facilities without purchasing something. Due to my perpetual anxiety about being THAT American tourist, this route, while a viable option, isn’t for me.

As an alternative, it should be noted that Florence offers fantastic, tucked away, practically private alleys. Not that I’m promoting public urination, but seriously Florence, you should have known what building a city full of fountains would do to people.

Finally, I would be remiss to tell you that your every bathroom experience in Florence will be hassle-free. In a city teeming with tourists who have been hydrating all day, public restrooms can have trouble keeping up. So excited to finally make it to a restroom, it’s not uncommon to take care of business before checking the toilet paper sitch. Save yourself the hassle of picking the least needed receipt in your purse or wallet, and keep some kleenex on hand when you’re out and about – just in case!

Relief free of charge. Now that’s what we call a Florence for Free win! And with that taken care of, time to get back to doing what we all do best – loving Firenze!

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12 comments

  1. Guilty of the receipt grab in Coin!

  2. The air conditioning in Rinascente is SUCH a big bonus in the summer, too!

  3. Reblogged this on Escaping Our Comfort Zone and commented:
    Perfect timing for our trip this fall. I had forgotten about how different these little things can be in Europe compared to the U.S. Always choose to see it has simply a difference, not something that is better or worse. Having an accepting outlook means we will never be disappointed.

  4. […] walk might raise some eyebrows, but we figured if you’re still with us after last week’s post, then you must love us for who we really are. Yet we understand the obvious question: don’t art […]

  5. Going to make a note of these as will have my two kids in tow this Oct! Can I ask – how busy does Florence get in mid Oct? Hoping it’s a bit more chilled out on the tourist front while we’re there!

    1. Yes, I can imagine that quick access to bathrooms is even more important with little ones! And October will be beautiful! I think you chose a perfect month. Weather will be great, crowds will have dwindled and rainy season will not have kicked in yet. Crowds are inevitable in a tourist city like Florence, but they will be significantly less in October. Still make reservations if you plan to do things like the Uffizi, otherwise I think you will be great! Have fun!

      1. Thanks for the tip Hannah. Can I ask are there still lots of mosquitoes around at this time of year?

      2. I think you should not be too bothered by mosquitoes as long as you aren’t hanging out down by the arno (up on the bridges are fine, we mean literally down next to the Arno). For perspective, Meg and I just returned from an early september trip to Italy and I came home with one bite. And October should be even better than that! Have a ball! We are jealous already!

  6. […] we got down to business and answered the question everyone really wants to know – how to pee for free in […]

  7. […] Not only does the Uffizi have some of the best bathrooms in the city, but you will be hard-pressed to find a free WC after you leave. It would behoove you to take advantage of a final pee for free. […]

  8. […] But odds are by now that cappuccino is catching up with you, and guess where some of the only free bathrooms in all of Florence are? Oh, yeah, you’re […]

  9. You girls are the best!

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