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rome & menstruation

July 26, 2023

When in Rome....

How to manage your menstruation in The Eternal City.

As promised, we are starting to spotlight travel destinations to give you the information you need for managing your menstruation.

Getting your period on holiday is a shi* time regardless, but we want to make it easier, so we’re giving you the down low on what to expect so you can prepare and let go of those pre-holiday anxieties.

Public Bathrooms

First of all, please be warned that Rome is seriously lacking in public bathrooms, so plan your excursions accordingly. Train stations and airports have bathrooms, but you may need to pay a €0.50 entry fee. Luckily, if you get caught out, there are plenty of cafes or “bars” as they’re called in Italy that sell espresso (un café) for just €1 so using the facilities won’t be expensive.

You just may end up in the perpetual Catch 22 of needing the bathroom, so having a coffee, and then needing the loo again.

The bathrooms

The bathroom situation is less than ideal in this beautiful romantic city in fact most bathrooms won’t have toilet seats – they expect you to squat over the loo.

Often there is no soap or loo roll, and definitely no period products. Finding the flusher and the water in the sink can also be difficult. If the flush isn’t immediately noticeable it could be a small button at the top of the toilet – look up. Also, don’t be alarmed if the water doesn’t go immediately, some toilets require one press to fill, and one press to flush.

The water too can be tricky to find, as some older bathrooms still rely on foot pedals – when in doubt, look down.

In society

Italians are incredibly body aware – they can tell you where on their body the liver is without thinking, and menstruation is just another part of how the body functions. There’s still certainly an underlying stigma, but you will easily find people willing to give you a hand if you get caught out, and products on the shelves of all corner shops and supermarkets.

The bidet

One good thing about managing menstruation in Italy is the bidet! If you want a clean-up, the bidet offers a lovely refreshing and easy way to do just that. Social convention advises that you can use the bidet in any bathroom that is private for you to use, no communal bathrooms.

How to prepare

If you’re out and about day tripping, we recommend making sure you pack a few extra supplies with you. It wouldn’t hurt to have a packet of tissues, perhaps a small disposal bag and some hand sanitiser along with your products. Make sure you have some cash for those emergency espressos and train station loos.

It may seem like overkill but at least then you’ll know what to expect and that you’ve circumnavigated any potential problems on your trip – giving you peace of mind.

Why not leave a few reviews on the App while you’re there? That way we can improve the situation for next time.

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