Did you know...? Bidets are a legal requirement in Italian homes

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Did you know...? Bidets are a legal requirement in Italian homes
The 'first bidet in Italy', in the bedroom of Maria Carolina of Austria, Queen of Naples, at the Royal Palace of Caserta. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

You're very unlikely to find an Italian home without a bidet, but this isn't simply down to a national obsession with hygiene.


One of the many things that Italy's foreign visitors and new residents often find bemusing is the proliferation of bidets. Meanwhile, few Italians could (or would want to) imagine a bathroom without one.

All Italian homes feature a bidet: a low, oval basin usually found next to the toilet. Many of Italy's international residents ignore their bidet for months or years; eyeing it suspiciously, perhaps washing their feet in it occasionally, before eventually adapting to the Italian way of life and figuring out how to use it for its intended purpose. Or perhaps removing it.

READ ALSO: Bureaucracy to bidets: the most perplexing things about life in Italy

If you ever wonder why bidets are so ubiquitous in Italy, you might put their seemingly enormous popularity down to the fact that so many Italians famously take cleanliness, including personal hygiene, very seriously.

But it's not just a cultural norm. The people in charge of Italy's building regulations also apparently see bidets as non-negotiable; since 1975 every Italian home has been legally required to have one.

Regulations state that “in each house, at least one bathroom must have the following fixtures: a toilet, a bidet, a bathtub or shower, and a sink”.

This means that builders of new homes in Italy cannot have the property signed off as safe to occupy until and unless these features are installed. Owners of homes that don't have all of these facilities may run into problems when trying to sell.


Italian law also specifies that there should be a minimum distance between the bidet and other bathroom fixtures: the bidet should be at least 20 centimetres away from both the toilet and the bathtub, and at least 10 centimetres away from the sink.

While these rules, like all others in Italy, might not always be followed to the letter, there is a reason why almost any Italian home you buy, rent, or visit will have at least one bidet.


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Angela Holohan 2024/02/07 17:09
I have seen many apartment owners removing bidets to facilitate installation of washing machine etc - especially for holiday lets - unaware that this may affect it's resale value

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