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What is a P-stop? Before answering that, we will need to talk about the… city tax.
Yes, it’s annoying, and yes, it bites into your holiday budget.
However, also yes: cities that charge tourists that particular amount also provide services in exchange for it, which are entirely funded with city tax money.
One example would be the ubiquitous, free maps you can find at most airports, or the advertisements to promote tourism in those cities that do charge a tourist tax. Some places set up traditional feasts with that money, others use it for concerts or festivals, others still use it to print it city passes and tickets.
Guests coming to Rome up to now could not really tell where their city tax money ended up, and we can’t really blame them – with a myriad tourist activities being constantly set up, it is difficult even for us locals to know who is funding what. That is about to change, however, in a very visible way!
When you read on and discover what these kiosks are for, you will find this is somewhat of an unfortunate name – never let it be said that Rome’s administrator lack a sense of (bad) humour!
These glass boots have started popping up in crucial areas of the city center (like by Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, Trastevere, the National Roman Museum at Roma Termini… the full list is here), and specifically, in those places that are too far away from a public toilet.
Because it’s indeed what P-stops are – while tourists will be able to find information on exhibitions and landmarks there, every P-Stop kiosk will have a toilet (with access for people with disabilities, too, and available changing mats for those traveling with newborns or toddlers).
While this far only 7 P-stops are operational, their introduction actually solves one of the main issues lamented by those who visit Rome: the lack of a widespread network of public toilets.
A staggering amount of tourists need to use those in cafes and other such establishments – or have to wait until visiting a museum to relieve themselves.
Public toilets do exist, mind you, but they are insufficient for the amount of people passing by them (we’re looking at you, Largo di Porta Cavalleggeri toilets!): so the introduction of the P-stop is very good news in this respect, and hopefully the administration will increase their number in the coming months.
P-stops will be open everyday from 1o AM to 6 PM and will be free of charge to Roma Pass holders – one extra service that tries to make it up for the exit of the Borghese Gallery from the popular tourist deal!
All other visitors will be asked a fee of 1 EUR per person, per visit, consistent with rates applied by other public toilets run by the city or the major bus/train station throughout Rome.