Can You Drink Tap Water in Italy? An Easy Guide

Drinking tap water in Italy is safe all over the country. Across the different Italian regions, tap water comes from local springs and wells, and depending on the area, it can be more or less hard or sweet.

Apart from being good and safe, refilling your own reusable bottle with local tap water is one of the best ways to save quite a lot of money, especially if your trip is more than a 2-day city break.

If you are planning 2 weeks in Italy, you will soon realize home much you will save every day by using the free tap water instead of buying mineral water every time.

Read on as we map out the cities where to find the best tap water in Italy.

Not as much time? Check out our 10-day itinerary ideas!

Image: Spring for tap water in Italy.

When and where can you drink tap water in Italy?

You can safely drink tap water pretty much always and everywhere in Italy. Restaurants, bars, hotels, private homes, and many public fountains dispense free and clean water every day 24/7.

Italians are among the European residents who consume more bottled water. But this is more of a cultural habit than a real safety concern. In fact, the best water in Italy runs from the tap and it happens to be one of the best in Europe. All across the regions of Italy, tap water is constantly subject to chemical and bacteriological checks to make sure it’s safe and drinkable.

If you refill your own reusable bottle before setting off for your daily sightseeing, you don’t just save money, you will also make more sustainable and environmental-friendly choices.

In some places in Italy, especially in the countryside, you might find from time to time a sign reading “acqua non potabile” and meaning non-drinkable water. This can be because it’s water taken from a local well and only for working purposes, cleaning animals or places on farms.

Image: Drinking from spring in Italy.

Cities with the best tap water in Italy

Some of the cities with the best tap water in Italy are Caserta, Aosta, Perugia, and Ancona. In southern Italy, the best tap water is found in Campobasso in Molise and Palermo in Sicily. Amongst the northern Italian regions, you can find great tap water in Trento, Udine, Pavia, Alessandria, Livorno, Parma, and Pavia.

In Sardinia, you can find fantastic spring water in San Leonardo, a sanctuary near Santu Lussurgiu in the Oristano province, and in the Mount of Seneghe, also in the province of Oristano.

Northern Sardinia, on the other hand, is famous for the Smeraldina water, the spring of which is in Tempio Pausania in the Gallura area, and that is sold bottled. As a matter of fact, Smeraldina has been recognized as the best water in Italy for two years in a row and has been named one of the best on the planet and the Best Tasting Water in the World at the 29th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Competition.

Tap water in Rome is also very good, although very calcareous, hence considered hard even though good in taste. In Rome, you can find small cast-iron fountains pouring drinkable water 24/7 so if you have a reusable travel bottle, you won’t even need to buy bottled mineral water.

Can you drink tap water in Italy hotels?

Absolutely. All the tap water running across Italy, being hotels, bars, and private houses, is safe to drink, meets all the necessary quality standards, and even tastes good.

In many hotel rooms in Italy, you will find a minibar with a stock of drinks, including half-liter bottles of water. But since tap water in Italy is perfectly safe, you don’t need to spend money, also because those little bottles will be much overpriced.

Use the tap water of hotels to fill up your reusable bottle or to fill the kettle to make tea or the coffee machine.

As it’s safe for drinking, you are just fine also brushing your teeth anywhere in Italy using tap water. Unlike India, for example. There, tap water is highly contaminated and one of the main reasons why you would get sick in India.

Is it rude to ask for tap water in Italy?

Some restaurants might not appreciate you asking for tap water because it’s free, so they prefer to bring a bottle of mineral water to the table. But if you want the water from the tap, you can ask them and they will give it to you.

When you are at a bar, in most places in Italy they will give you mineral water when you order a glass or to accompany your coffee. In Rome bars, however, what bartenders give customers ordering a coffee is a glass of tap water.

Image: Drinking bottled water in Italy.

Italian mineral water brands

Even though tap water in Italy is perfectly safe, most Italians buy mineral water for their homes. This, however, is more for cultural reasons, so that when they have guests, they can offer bottled water, and for wrong health concerns.

In many places, Italian tap water is more or less calcareous, which led many to believe it can cause kidney stones. Several studies showed that this is not the case, but many still continue to prefer mineral rather than tap water in Italy.

If you want to buy mineral water in Italy, here are some of the more popular brands:

  • Sant’Anna
  • Levissima
  • Vitasnella
  • Acqua Panna
  • Ferrarella
  • Uliveto (sparkling water)
  • Levico (in glass bottle, especially found in Trentino-Alto Adige)
  • Egeria (mainly found in Rome)
  • Smeraldina (great water from Sardinia)
  • Sangemini
  • San Benedetto
  • Acqua Lete
  • S.Pellegrino
  • Acqua Fabia

Italian words for drinking water in Italy

  • Tap water >> Acqua del rubinetto
  • Still water >> Acqua liscia
  • Sparkling water >> Acqua frizzante
  • Lightly sparkling water >> Acqua leggermente frizzante. Sometimes, they might refer to it by only saying “leggermente
  • A glass of water >> Un bicchiere d’acqua
  • A bottle of water >> Una bottiglia d’acqua
  • Drinkable water >> Acqua potabile
  • Non-drinkable water >> Acqua non potabile

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