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Cinque Terre - worst public washrooms ever?

So we returned to CT after visiting in 2008...partly because we loved it then, and we thought even our little visit would help contribute after the floods. Well, some of the charm has worn off. I think a big part was we were there on a weekend...not realizing it would be so full of tourists...I know, I know, we're tourists too...but last time we must have been there thru the week as it was so quiet and not busy, unlike this time. But, can we somehow start a petition for Monterosso to get some toilets that don't seem like they are from the 3rd world? (Sorry, there are probably many places in the 3rd world with much better facilities). I remember from my 1st visit in 2008 that the toilets at the train stn were little more then a porcelain surrounded hole in the ground (good luck if you need to do more then #1!). So I skipped the washrooms, but unfortunately for my hubby, he had to go...no toilet paper at all in any of the stalls...in the ladies someone had taken a #2 and didn't even flush....disgusting. Not to mention when I had to use the toilet in Manarola just off the trail - no TP again! How hard is it, since you are paying to use these trails (and by extension, I am assuming, rightly or wrongly, that they operate the washrooms at the tourist bureaus/trails), to keep these facilities stocked? That said, I hate to say but CT lost a lot of charm for me (Vernazza and harbour still lovely, as well as Corniglia, where we stayed again). I loved it soo much in 08...after CT we did south of France (Nice/Villefranche) and it was amazing...

Posted by
9363 posts

Three words: Charmin-to-Go. Never, ever travel without it. It came in extremely handy in China, where we were told that many times, the toilet paper was stolen from public restrooms. I'm guessing that could be a problem in lots of places.

Posted by
3941 posts

Actually, I usually have a few kleenex on me...but after we went back to our room, I took a half full roll of tp with me everywhere, but didn't need it anywhere else :) lol Tom - it was close! At least the walls were clean

Posted by
1568 posts

After we have packed for our trips....we stuff every vacant space with packets of tissue. Then when we arrive it always stays in our day backpacks. Never forget having to pay at the bus station in Czesky Krumlov, CR., for 3 sections of toilet tissue. BTW, the sections were smaller than they are here.

Posted by
118 posts

These very just complaints are good and must be made known to all, so that merchants, restaurateurs and local tourism authorities do something to improve, because without tourism the Cinque Terre has no future. As Italian, these things make me ashamed!

Posted by
32245 posts

Nicole, The "porcelain footprint" style of toilets are found in many other parts of Europe (and the rest of the world) as well, so these are not unique to the Cinque Terre. I've also found those in other parts of Italy, such as Lago di Como, and have seen washrooms with "substandard" levels of cleanliness even on the French Riviera so that situation can occur anywhere. Should you require use of the "facilities" at the station in Monterosso in future, an alternative would be to buy a Coffee (or whatever) at the small Bar in the station. The washroom there isn't always "spotless" but at least it provides a standard toilet. You could also buy something at one of the local restaurants and use their washrooms. If you've been to Greece, I'm sure you're aware that in addition to the style of toilets in some places, they have some different "practices" there with regard to the paper. You may find it interesting to read THIS article on the topic, where the author found the same type of facilties in Verona. One comment regarding the crowded conditions you described. I spent about a week in the Cinque Terre in September, and noticed an increase in large day-tripping tour groups this year, complete with umbrella-toting guides. Some of these were from Cruise Ships (I know as I asked them) and some appeared to be groups from the Orient. When six (or more) groups of 60-80 people descend on the area, the trails and all other facilities become overwhelmed very quickly. The day I visited Vernazza, the trains were a nightmare! Hopefully you'll make another visit to the Cinque Terre.

Posted by
46 posts

Ken you are so right. We made our last trip to Cinque Terre. It was our third trip. The huge tour boat crowds led by the umbrella guides were a nightmare. One lady was pushed off the trail by this herd and had to be airlifted to the nearest ambulance.
We refer to those toilets as Turkish toilets. Wonder why, because you find them every where. They are so awkward for us older ladies, wearing long pants. They say the hole is just the right size for an American passport.

Posted by
3941 posts

I imagine sometime way in the future, we'll return, but make sure it isn't on a weekend...maybe we passed you there in Sept Ken...we were there Sept 22-24...we stayed in Corniglia...at least that was a quiet oasis :) We didn't evencreally attempt the trains - just the simple one...we had intentions to do one of the others, but our time didn't work out for us...but we did enjoy visiting Monterosso without our luggage in tow this time (minus the washrooms)

Posted by
32245 posts

Nicole, I might have been there at the same time? I'll have to check my Itinerary. I stayed in Monterosso again this year, as it's my favorite! I feel quite "at home" there. I left a day or two prior to the slides on the Via dell'Amore, which seriously injured four Australian tourists. My visits to Vernazza were an unpleasant ordeal both last year and this year, due to the horrendous crowds. Upon arrival in Vernazza, it took about 15 minutes to even get off the station platform and down the stairs onto the main street (I'm NOT exaggerating!). I can't really complain as I realize they're in that area for the same reason I am and just want to see the unique beauty (even if they don't have much time to enjoy it). That doesn't mean I'm any less annoyed though! If I decide to visit there again in 2013, I'll use a different strategy to minimize that sort of problem. If visiting Vernazza, I'll either go in the morning before the tour groups arrive or take the boat from Monterosso so I don't have to deal with crowds on the trains. Cheers!