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Italy Loves a Good Rainshower (But I would Change One Little Thing)

If you’ve been following me on my Insta-stories on my Spain and Italy vacation, you might have noticed that I am fascinated with bathrooms.

I mean, when you’re travelling, you’re not exactly hanging out in kitchens (unless you’re visiting friends and family) but there’s always a bathroom in the hotel room or a restaurant to see.

However, every single hotel room shower in Spain and Italy had one thing in common.

They had a rain shower head in the bathroom.

And of course there’s nothing wrong with that.

But the hand held shower head was at waist level. Just like this image below.

Image source

And there’s one tiny little problem with that.

What happens when you don’t want to wash your hair? It’s hard to lean back and not get your hair wet when you are underneath a rain shower head.

In North America, the hand held shower head is ALWAYS high enough so you have the option of using either one.

If you don’t want to wash your hair in Europe, you have to hold the shower head in one hand the entire time.

Here’s the bathroom in our hotel room in Capri. The countertop was the marble (on the right, below) the shower was covered in this blue mosaic and the rest of the floors and wall tile was simply an 8″ square white tile.


However, again, the hand held shower head was installed at waist level (above).

If you don’t want to open up the ceiling to install a rain shower head, you can always get a set:

SDG Architects

My Mom joined us halfway through our month long Italy vacation when we had arrived in Positano (Terreeia knows how much I love my Mama and it was her suggestion).

Then we arrived in Capri, one night she decided to wash her smalls and here they are hanging up to dry in the bathroom I’ve just been talking about. Moms are kind of resourceful like that, haha.

Terreeia surprised my Mom with a cooking course in Positano the same afternoon that she arrived! She loved it! There they are on the right paying close attention (below):

We took a water taxi to dinner one night as well.

For those of you that read that I lost my luggage when we arrived in Italy, IT’S STILL MISSING! My Mom had to bring me a new laptop power cord and a few other items when she joined us.

It really is as beautiful as all the photos but it’s so much better to experience in person! I’ll write more in another post, we’ve just arrived in Tuscany for the last few days, we’ll be home on Friday!

Over to you my lovelies, do you have a rain shower? What makes them so great?

Frankly, I did not install one in my bathroom renovation last year and I think they are overrated and certainly an unnecessary feature in hotel rooms where they are also more expensive to install. If I had a steam shower, I would install one, but I’m missing why they should be installed in every bathroom. But that’s just my opinion.

I’m photographing my bathrooms when I return and will reveal them soon, eeek, one year later is slightly delayed I know!

What do you think about rain showerheads? Yay or Nay?

Related posts:

The Single Worst Mistake to Make During Your Bathroom Renovation

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Is your Bath Perfect or Perfectly Nice?





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  • I love my rain shower for hot showers on a cold, wet winter day. And I love my handheld shower head that is on a vertical bar so I can adjust the position – especially for the times when I don’t wash my hair. I always strongly recommend to clients that they have both shower heads in your main shower.
    Really enjoying your gorgeous vacation photos on Instagram.

  • Cathy D. says:

    I LOVE my rain shower head and have installed the Perrin and Rowe traditional set #1 (like in the shower picture before your mom’s smalls ) in 3 bathrooms I’ve renovated. I wash my hair every day but if I don’t want my hair to get wet I tilt my head a little to the side. The water gently washes down – like a soft rain – and I like that. Wouldn’t choose any other way. Your pictures of Italy make me wish I’d travel; Positano would be one of the first places I’d want to visit. Thanks for sharing them. Cathy

  • Michelle says:

    I know what you mean about the rain shower. I’m in the process of doing a complete flat (apartment) refurbishment in Barcelona and the architect wants to install a rain shower in both bathrooms with the handheld at waist hight. I tried to explain that my husband and I do not like the rain shower. We have them now in the flat that we rent and neither of us use it. We always use the hand held. Fortunately the hand held in our current flat is on an adjustable bar that can go up to proper shower height. The architect just did not understand why I do not want to instal a rain shower head, or a waterfall option on the rain shower. OMG. He was not showing me other options. It’s like “there is a rain shower or a rain shower with a hand held, which option would you prefer?”

  • S. Mattes says:

    We have had the same experience as you when in Europe and we too decided we HATED the rain shower. We have recently retrofitted two baths/showers with a sliding bar, large hand-held shower head and LOVE it.
    It was mounted high enough to act as a regular shower (my husband’s preference) and easily slides down to waist level for me, when I do not want to wash my hair.
    It was an inexpensive upgrade that I highly recommend.
    Forget the rain shower-it’s time may have come and be going before you know it…another “trend” that will pass.

  • K D says:

    My husband and I both hate rain shower heads. They don’t have enough water pressure so the water just dribbles straight down. You can’t adjust where the spray goes and they are usually installed too close to the wall so you have to huddle by the wall to get wet. They don’t provide a LARGE enough “spray” of water (a traditional shower head puts water out in a cone shape, the rain shower in a tube). Is it just the rain showers we have used?

    I am grateful for the travel tip I learned from one of your followers: pack half of your stuff in each person’s suitcase so if one is lost you each at least have some stuff. We will be doing this on our next trip!

  • dcb says:

    another rainshower hater. i get regular blowouts and i want them to last! and i tend to shower quickly, so i get impatient with how slowly the water comes out!

  • I think rain showers are overrated and waste a ton of water, EVen Hansgrohe is no longer going to make their popular HUGE rain shower head due to the water use. Another thing is I don’t like how most of your body is out of the water area.

  • Amy says:

    We have one which my husband wanted. We never use it. We have an open shower and it spreads water everywhere when it hits his bald head. 🙂 While I almost always wash my hair when I take a shower, it is rare that I wash my face in the shower bc I don’t like to use hot water on my face. I prefer to just keep my face out of the water.

  • Brandy McKinnon says:

    My husband is 6′ – 3″ and he has never lived in a house with a shower head that he hasn’t had to duck for. I am 5′-0″ tall and I am always blasting the hot water because the water is too cold by the time it reaches me. We just renovated our new house and we installed 3 shower heads. A rain shower head for my husband (he always washes his hair), a regular shower head at a slightly lower than average height, and a handheld one, mostly for shaving my legs, hosing down the kids, and washing dogs.

  • Carol says:

    Looks like a wonderful trip, Maria.

    When we remodeled our bath several years ago, my husband had to have a rain shower; I had to have a handheld high enough on the wall to use for my hair. It’s adjustable up and down (and occasionally our small dogs get a shower with the handheld). I can’t get the shampoo rinsed out of my hair with a rain shower and DESPISE receiving a wet head by accident!

  • Vivien says:

    Love the rain head for a relaxing shower. Took our tub out and made a double shower with body jets, a sliding wand and a traditional shower head. Use the wand mainly for rinsing the shower after cleaning.

  • Sharon Erickson says:

    Love, Love, Love, your picture of your mom’s undies drying in the bathroom. This picture made me smile for it’s real-ness! Yup a mom thing for sure as we are practical and resourceful! Have sure enjoyed your trip so far! And talking about resourceful – you sure have had to be with lost luggage! Good for you to make lemonade out of the situation.

  • Cynthia says:

    I love rain shower heads as well as a handheld that glides on a bar so you can have it at whatever height you want. We have both installed, including two massage jets. Everything is controlled by a diverter valve so you can use just one water outlet or two simultaneously. My husband tends to use the rain shower head and I like the handheld placed up high when I super-charged water pressure to wash my hair and placed low when I want to shower without getting my hair wet. I also like to be able to remove the hand-held from it’s holder to rinse off the shower when I clean it. We installed a similar set up in our outdoor shower at the beach.

  • Lucy says:

    I have never had a rain shower so I really can’t comment but my husband would love it!! I see them installed in almost all of the new homes. Definitely you would need a hand held shower head!

    Loving your Instagram photos! I almost feel like I am traveling with you! I look forward to following you each day. You have been blessed! Hope your luggage catches up with you at least when you get home. So sorry that happened ?

  • mrsben says:

    In three bathroom renovations I did; I included both. A rain shower head as well as a hand-held-bar one, the first which my husband questioned the installation of however he is the one who uses it ALL the time and loves it, whereas my preference is the hand-held one. So go figure! -Brenda-
    P.S.: Sincerely sorry to hear your luggage is still lost BUT am glad at least they didn’t loose your Mother in transit …. ☺. Have fun ladies basking in the Tuscany sun and enjoy the rest of your holiday.

  • Cassie says:

    I agree with you on the rain showers. While they are a fun feature, I find that they usually don’t have enough pressure to rinse shampoo and soap off.

  • Jennifer says:

    When I bought my home it was occupied by an elderly couple and the hand held shower was at waist high. I thought about it and remembered my mother also having one installed at waist high when she got older and needed a shower seat.

  • I am also in the yes! To rainhead showers IF you install the handheld as well. I find a good old fashioned shower cap is needed for either shower method if I want to keep my hair completely dry. What a wonderful vacation btw!

  • Candi Blinn says:

    One of the problems with rain shower heads is that you still have the same amount of water going through the pipes as you do with a smaller head only it’s spread out over a larger surface making the water pressure considerably lower – especially if in a hotel which has installed a flow regulator. If water pressure is important to you or if you have long or thick hair to wash, it is a problem.

  • Meli says:

    Don’t love them for all the same reasons. It wasn’t like that approx 15 years ago when I travelled consistently to Italy. So it’s an unfortunate trend. I love their older style of hand held on adjustable pole so that is what we chose for our master bath remodel. I think they buckled to the American trend and I do wish they hadn’t. Alas, I am now officially a My site.

  • Jessica says:

    I think the handheld is installed at waist height is for washing your neither regions after a bowel movement. Europeans wash off that region a lot more often than Americans do. I don’t know enough about Canada to say definitly but think its a strong possability that its not common there either, so that would be a reason why it seems strange to you too.

  • Brooke says:

    I agree. Too difficult to not to get your head wet. We went with a standard shower head on the adjustable bar for our new build.

  • Susan Riddle Ansley says:

    I have a rain showerhead along with a “regular” shower head and I have only used the rain showerhead once in the 8 years we’ve lived in this home. My husband uses it regularly and I think you are spot on about the “hair dilemma” which is probably why men like the rain shower and we women can live without them.

  • Ellen Shook says:

    Loving your vacation photos! Looks like you ladies are having fun. Cooking classes are something I would love to do if I go back.

    About that rain shower: my husband put one in my shower and I love it! I either just adjust the position or put on a shower cap when I don’t want my hair wet. I don’t have a hand-held.

    Sorry about your luggage — I do hope you get it back! I had my handbag snatched in Naples and was blind as a bat the rest of our trip. They got no money or important papers, except for my American driver’s license, but there was also a ton of new makeup in the bag. I think that made me the maddest! I did go into a duty free shop when we boarded the cruise ship and bought some more, but it was a rather traumatic experience. I hope the rest of your trip has been trauma free!

  • Mid America Mom says:

    Sorry to hear of the luggage but I noticed on instagram your mom supplied a 1 piece (cute) black bathing suit from home (so sweet!).

    I do like the blue bathroom.

    Rain shower looks cool but would not work. I have swimmers ear and have devised a way of washing hair and avoiding get an earful. I love hot showers but my face especially does not like it. In the future if I need to replace – adjustable is the way to go.

    And for those out there wanting to keep hair dry.. Yes you can still buy a shower cap!

    Enjoy the end of your trip.

  • Linda says:

    Just came back from a trip during which we met with a series of vendors that will be involved in the construction of our new house. Both the flooring rep and the plumbing rep advised against the rain shower head. In their experience, most men loved them. But most women hated them, because – they found it difficult to take a shower without getting their hair wet!

  • sandyc says:

    I don’t have and wouldn’t want one. I don’t wash my hair every day but I do color my hair and I prefer to do both in the guest bath tub where I can control the water. In my master bath shower only, I replaced the original and very old shower head with a handheld shower that had come with a lightweight, foldable shower bench I’d bought when my late husband was in need . Never had to use it but figured it was fine for my regular needs. The best thing about the bench/hand-held shower combo was that the bench had a wonderful little piece attached to the side so that the seated showerer could set the hand-held shower in the slot while soaping up or washing off and then retrieve the shower to rinse off without being flooded with water from overhead. I thought it was a brilliant idea for a seated showerer or for an assistant helping out and it didn’t change the functionality of the bathroom for later resale. It’s too bad there aren’t more flexible bathroom adjustments that work in ordinary homes.

  • Kay says:

    I love my rain shower head. I use a shower cap when not washing my hair, although I do have a hand-held shower installed high enough to use.

    Having just spent a month in England, I discovered some peculiarities of their shower systems. We stayed in four places: a pub/hotel in London, a cottage in Cornwall, a cottage in the Cotswolds, and an Airbnb in Pimlico, London. There were difficulties with every shower (all shower over bath, except in Pimlico). The hotel had a rain shower head that worked well, except for the difficulty in tempering the water. You had to fiddle quite a bit to get it right. The first of the two cottages was quite old, and it was even more difficult to temper the flow—the slightest turn of the faucet took it from boiling hot to cold, and the temperature would suddenly change, necessitating constant adjustments. The second cottage, which was luxuriously renovated, had the same problem in both bathrooms, with the additional problem in the master bath of water flow that on certain days reduced to a chilly trickle that resisted any adjustment and made hair washing impossible. Finally, in the Pimlico flat, the shower in the shower room had a unique faucet—one handle controlled water flow and the other controlled temperature. The water flow handle would turn around endlessly, with the water coming and going, making the off position wherever the water stopped flowing.

    In every shower, you had to turn the faucets a lot to get any water, and if you kept turning after a certain (inadequate) point had been reached, the water flow reduced instead of increasing. It was incredibly frustrating. I didn’t have one really good shower for the whole month.

  • Linda says:

    Wear a shower cap.?

  • karen says:

    Hi Maria,

    I read this post and had to laugh: why is it so difficult to get it all right when planning a bathroom??!!

    I have to tell you my fav story about my Junior Year Abroad stay in Spain circa 1978-79. My friend Sharon and I traveled from Barcelona to Sevilla for la Semana Santa aka Holy Week and we managed to book a room at a flea bag hotel and were happy to get it. Our “room” was a small garden shed erected on the roof and our bathroom was in a corner of the room. The tiled section of floor sloped into the drain. Since I didn’t want to be naked to the world I locked the door to our room and took my shower. All was fine until I slipped on the sloping floor, tried to save myself from the fall by catching myself on the wall AND HIT AN ACTIVE ELECTRICAL LINE which was only painted over and not grounded. According to my friend Sharon I screamed my head off as I was falling and passing out and her pounding on the door for over half an hour finally woke me!

    After that I only took sponge baths! Enjoy the rest of your trip and beware of cheap hotels!!!


  • Nancy Malling says:

    We have done a Master bath renovation recently. We have a rain shower and a handheld shower head. We use only one at a time. The trick is to have a diverter valve installed inside the wall when all the plumbing is installed. The diverter valve handle switches the water flow from the rain shower head to the hand held. I rarely use the rain shower but my husband loves it. I love the hand held for all the reasons all the other comments have already explained.
    We also installed a rain shower/hand held combo in an existing bath. The trick was a simple shower arm with diverter that is attached to the shower pipe extension leading to the rain shower head. By adjusting it up or down the water flows to the rain shower head or to the hand held.
    Works for us and everybody is happy.

  • Cherie says:

    When we renovated our bathroom a few years ago, the designer said, “Don’t get a rain showerhead. You won’t need it.” So we didn’t and I’m glad. We don’t miss it in the least.

  • Michi says:

    Shower caps… you can get eight in a bag at Dollarama, or a more substantial one at Winners or a bath and beauty store. The low hand held is for the nether regions. It sounds like you are having an amazing vacation! So happy for all of you.

  • L.V. says:

    I hate rain showers! I have frizzy dry hair and don’t wash my hair daily so I can make a good blow dry last! I have been to so many hotels where I HAD to wash my hair because of that darn thing! There was no other option and even wearing a shower cap got my hair wet. So I say -if you have to have a rain shower put in another option- like a hand held with a holder.

  • Paige says:

    The only rain shower I want is outside :D. So happy you, T, and mom are having a wonderful holiday!

  • Dianne says:

    Agreed!!! Overrated!! I do not want to wash my hair every day. Therefore, I hardly ever used the rain shower head in our renovated Atlanta bathroom. I do not have one in our Columbus condo, nor our Naples home and we do not miss them at all one.

  • JB says:

    Loved following your journey! So sorry the airlines failed so epicly!!!
    I personally detest rain showers! I’d prefer the handheld be at the height for us average to tall people. (I dont really like the handhld either but could be useful and ok as long as at a good height)

  • Antonia says:

    I have a rain head and hand held on an adjustable bar. You can have either one working by itself or both on at same time. It’s really nice.

  • Arlene says:

    I have an amazing rain shower we purchased at Costco which has different settings. It is very therapeutic particularly the setting that pulsates on my back and neck. I can adjust it so my hair doesn’t get wet. I love it and would not want to be without it.

  • K D says:

    My husband and I both hate rain showers, big waste of money (and I’m sure a high margin item … which is probably why they tell you to put one in, LOL). Not enough pressure and the water comes down straight in a tube instead of a cone.

    I loved the travel tip from one of your followers: Pack half of each person’s stuff in each suitcase. So if one suitcase is lost, at least you have 1/2 your stuff and trip isn’t ruined.

  • Deborah says:

    I 100% agree regarding rainshowers. In addition to making it impossible to keep your hair dry, they don’t work well for all the nooks and crannies of the body.

    One of the baths in our house had a rainshower installed at such a height that only a small child could use it. Really. It was one of the first things we changed.

  • Gerley says:

    I am in Germany and the owner of our apartment has this set up and I hate it with a passion!!!!!!!!
    What on earth are you supposed to do with the thing at hip level? Shower your feet? It makes zero sense! Ours won’t even tilt- so you have to hold it. Aside from the hair dilemma how are you supposed to apply soap? Why is that thing even there?
    And with the rainshower, Even if you DO wash your hair, what if you apply conditioner? You turn the whole thing off and wait in the cold ? It just makes zero sense unless you are a man with very short hair. My husband doesn’t mind it.
    Can someone enlighten me?

  • Heather Laing says:

    Traveling is educational. 🙂 There are so many things that are done differently in different countries. As an example, in North America it is uncommon for the clothes washing machine to be located in the kitchen. Not so elsewhere.

    As for the shower head you are finding at waist height, that is called a shower douche or a bidet shower. [e.g. As someone said earlier in the comments, it is for cleaning one’s nether region.

    As to a rain shower, I personally do not like them. I have a shower head that can be raised along a bar to standing height and lowered to use for other things, sitting, cleaning the tub, etc.

  • Fiona says:

    One of the things I love about travel is finding out about all the different bathrooms. In my opinion, there is no ‘right’ way – just what you grew up with and what you therefore think is conventional!
    I’ve never had a hand held and will never ever want one. I’ve just returned from Croatia, where they were all hand helds at a variety of heights, and it was fine. Not my preferred way of washing, but my four year old loved them! So much so that when we renovate the bathroom that he mainly uses, I will consider installing one.
    I’ve always had rainshowers – as that seems the most common in Australia. As for getting wet hair – it’s pretty easy to bend your neck, I find. Keeps your hair out of the water, and your body in. Simple!

  • Mary Austin says:

    Totally agree with you re rain shower heads. Hopeless if you aren’t wanting to wash your hair. You have to stand half in and half out of the shower. I hate them. My friend and I decided it was a man who came up with this idea!

  • Mariela says:

    For a minute I thought you would say they had a Bidet!

    • Maria Killam says:

      They certainly all do and one of the first nights I sat on the bidet instead of the toilet and managed to turn the faucet on at the same time to freezing old water on my butt, haha. Maria.

  • Elaine Babiy says:

    I agree, rain shower heads are totally overrated. I guess if you have fine or thin hair you can get your hair wet while standing under one of those, but I have thick, wiry hair and it takes forever for the water coming out of one of those gentle shower heads to get my hair wet. Im all for a good strong spray. Something that has some force.

  • Fran W. says:

    When we did our master bath renovation a few years ago, we didn’t install a rain shower, but we did add a handheld, which I love. Hope you have fun in Tuscany. How wonderful to have your mom along on the rest of your trip!

  • Connie says:

    Not a fan. Ran into the same problem in Paris.n

  • mary says:

    The rain shower head was probably invented by a bald man and caught on because it’s one of those items that looks great in pictures and appears high end whether or not it offers usefulness to everyone. I don’t like them because I feel there is not enough water pressure to wash the suds out of my hair.

  • Sonja Bermingham says:

    Hi Marie & fam,
    We installed the whole meal deal in our master bath: rain shower, handheld wand plus jets – – easy to toggle back and forth, depending on needs. No regrets; I feel pampered each time I step into our luxurious spa!☀️
    Safe travels…
    Cheers! Sonja

  • Nay, for the very reasons you describe. I’m a kitchen and bath designer and my experience is that it’s generally men that want them. They always wet their hair! If I put one in, I always put in a handheld on a bar.

  • Interesting about the bidet showers. Never knew that but I’m not surprised now that you mention it. But who wants to think about showers when Maria has more days of heavenly pictures coming our way. It’s so wonderful “traveling” with you. Enjoy!! Ps as bad as it is without your luggage, Maria, the trip simply is incredible! Thank you for sharing. xo jan

  • Jill Jones says:

    Hi Maria. Beautiful pics and what a lovely trip! I can hardly wait to see your remodeled bathrooms!!! I have been waiting to remodel my own bathroom until I see yours because you have impeccable taste. Travel safely. Jill

  • Brenda says:

    I agree, Maria, and my husband actually pointed out the disadvantage of a rain shower to me when we considered one for our future remodel. I feel the same about the body “car wash” systems. I think a beautiful shower with a well-working head and handheld (or just a high handheld) is nice, but the rain showers and extra sprayers just seem like a waste of water and money for what you need to get clean and be comfortable.

  • Brenda says:

    On a similar topic, Maria will you, or anyone else, comment on just a handheld sprayer used as the shower head (mounted above your head) vs a fixed head with an additional hand-held? Is having just the removable sprayer a disadvantage in any way? I realize it’s less expensive.

    • Maria Killam says:

      The adjustable hand-held positioned above your head makes it easier to wash someone, or wash the tub too, however, there are millions of bathrooms out there without it so if you’re on a budget, I would make it fixed and spend more money on decorating which is always more fun than upgraded fixed elements if you don’t need to have them! Hope that helps, Maria

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