Can you drink tap water in Rome? All you need to know about drinking water in Rome

by marta
Rome fountain 'fontana dei libri'

All you need to know about drinking water in Rome. Essential info about Rome tap water safety and Rome drinking fountains

Can you drink tap water in Rome? And what about all the water flowing from Rome’s fountains: is that safe to drink?

These are two of the most common questions asked by Rome visitors and with good reason.

Rome is famous for its aqueducts, its ancient thermal baths and its fountains but none of this comes in handy if you are staring at the tap in your Rome apartment wondering if it is a safe source of drinking water.

However, I have good news:

Rome tap water is safe to drink. Actually, water from the tap in Rome is safe and it has also often been praised for being of exceptionally high quality.

In this guide, you will find all you need to know about it! I will answer the following questions:

  • Can you drink tap water in Rome?
  • Who guarantees tap water quality in Rome?
  • Can you drink water from Rome fountains?
  • Is there a map of drinking fountains in Rome?
  • Where can you get bottled water in Rome?

I hope you find it handy when exploring Rome!

Can you drink tap water in Rome? Is Rome tap water safe?

Rome tap water is safe to drink.

Water access, safety and water quality in Rome are under the responsibility of ACEA and quality checks are carried out daily to make sure the water flowing from the tap in Rome houses and drinking fountains meets all the necessary standards.

If you are technically oriented and in the mood, the test results are available on the Acea official site here

97% of tap water in Rome is spring water and comes to the city via the aqueduct Peschiera-Capore: the water it transports is not only clean but also has a pleasant, smooth taste.

Rich in minerals, Rome water is great straight form the tap or chilled in the fridge – a great, cheap and thirst quenching drink for the summer!

Can you drink water from Rome fountains?

Rome has many fountains but not all deliver drinking water.

The small water fountains in Rome called ‘nasoni’ are drinking fountains and the drinking water that flows from their ‘noses’ is fresh, safe and delicious.

Rome drinking fountain (nasone) with the Palatine Hill in the background

The fountains are managed by Acea and they were built to provide free access to drinking water in Rome to everyone regardless of class and wealth, and still very much do the job.

The water they provide tastes wonderful and it is always free, which is why in all my Rome packing lists I recommend to bring a reusable water bottle!

It is a great way to have access to clean, cool water for free (it is also as easy way to make your trip to Rome more sustainable!)

You can fin a Rome drinking water fountains map here

It is usually not safe to drink from monumental fountains in Rome.

While the water running through them usually comes from good quality sources, most fountains have systems to re-circulate water, which makes it potentially unsafe.

Good to know! In Italian, drinking water is ‘acqua potabile’. Non drinking water is ‘acqua non potabile’.

How to drink from Rome ‘nasoni’

Drinking water from Rome small fountains, the so called nasoni is easy, if you know how to do it!

This is the drinking water technique: the spout of the fountain has two holes, a big one that lets the water flow out and a smaller one, on the top of the curved metal nose.

Use one hand to fully close the large hole to stop the flow of water (you can use your palm or your fingers): this will force the water to spill out from the smaller hole – this will quickly form a delicate arch of drinking water you can drink from!

Drinking water distributors in Rome

Recently, drinking water distributors managed by Acea have made they appearance in Rome. The are called ‘case dell’acqua’ (homes of water) and they are effectively high-tech drinking fountains.

They are easy to recognize as they look a little bit like a Tardis!

They offer clean, drinking water for free both flat and sparkly for free!

At present, drinking  water distributors are  in the following locations (according to the Acea website itself):

  • Metro Stop Colosseum – outside, just in front of the Colosseum itself
  • Metro Stop Ottaviano – near the Vatican
  • Metro Stop Cipro – near the Vatican
  • Stazione San Pietro (train station)
  • Piazzale Ostiense – convenient to visiting Rome Pyramid and Ostia antica
  • Roma Auditorium (Piazzade de Coubertin)
  • Largo Borghi
  • Mercato Laurentino
  • Mercato Magliana
  • Mercato Serpentara
  • Parco Bergamini
  • Parco Massimina
  • Piazza Annibaliano
  • Piazza Capecelatro
  • Piazza Ormea
  • Universita’ Roma 3
  • Via Tenuta di Torrenova
  • Via Benedetto Croce
  • Villa Lazzaroni
  • Mercato Tufello

Tap water in Rome restaurants

In Rome, restaurants will default to offering bottled water, usually asking ‘liscia’ (flat), frizzante or gassata (sparkly) or ‘leggermente frizzante’ (lightly sparkly, very popular in Rome).

Upon request they might agree to serve tap water although this request if often met with some resistance.

Micro filtered water is more and more common in Rome restaurants too and this is often offered as an alternative, when tap water is requested.

Tap water in Rome bars

Bars (cafes) all have safe drinking water from the tap and often will serve you a glass of tap water upon request or with your coffee.

Tap water in Rome is free and cafes do not charge for it, so if you ask for a glass of water in addition to your drink of coffee, that is usually not a problem.

If you only ask for a glass of water, you will most likely asked to specify what type you prefer and the default would be bottles water.

Buying bottled water in Rome

Despite tap water in Rome being perfectly safe, Romans and Italian in general love bottled water and buying bottled water in Rome is very easy

Supermarkets are the place to go to buy bottles water in bulk. In the drinks aisle, you will find many types and you can choose between individual bottles or full packs of 6 and more.

Popular Italian bottled water brands you find in Rome are Uliveto, Rocchetta, Panna, Ferrarelle, San Benedetto, Sangemini, Sant’Anna

Other places where to get bottled water in Rome are pizzerie al taglio/ rosticcerie  (take away pizza places), cafes (usually they have a fridge with small water bottles and sodas), snack and drink carts in tourist locations.

I hope you found this overview of drinking water in Rome useful. Safe travels!

Photos of 2 fountains in Rome with text: can you drink Rome water - all you need to now about drinking water in Rome from the tap and Rome fountains

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