Can You Drink Tap Water in Italy?

Can You Drink Tap Water in Italy?

An essential question that travelers often forget to ponder about is whether they can drink tap water at their destination.

Of course, it might sound unnecessary or silly, but water, as they say, is life, so it is good to know if you can consume tap water both for hygiene and financial issues.

After all, tap water is one way to save money while traveling. 

So, if you are traveling to Italy any time soon, keep reading to find everything you need to know if Italy’s tap water is drinkable. 

Can You Drink Tap Water in Italy?
Drinking tap water in Italy is ok in most situations – Photo from Canva

Can you drink tap water in Italy?

Generally, tap water in Italy is drinkable and safe, especially in major tourist places.

In fact, cities like Rome have thousands of old-style drinking fountains where you can fill your water and consume fresh water.

However, some very rural areas have contaminated water due to agricultural activities or other industries, so it is advised to avoid tap water.

Usually, when a water fountain has the sign reading “acqua non potabile,” it means the water is unsafe to be ingested. So, be sure to mind any signs near the fountain or well.

In which parts of Italy can you drink tap water?

As already indicated, tap water all across Italy is safe to drink.

But for your reassurance, let’s see specifically at different popular Italian destinations if tap water is safe and where you might be able to find public water fountains.

2 gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice.
There’s no issue with drinking the tap water in Venice – Photo from Canva

Can you drink tap water in Venice?

Most travelers wonder whether Venice’s tap water is drinkable. And the answer is yes.

The city’s tap water is safe to drink.

The water supply for any water source in Venice is, in fact, from the mainland and not the canals, which is constantly monitored to check the quality. 

So, unless indicated previously, you should not fear drinking tap water in Venice.

In fact, it is recommended to go for tap water rather than bottled water because Venice tends to overcharge it. 

Can you drink tap water in Milan?

Milan’s tap water is generally safe to drink.

Just like in most parts of Italy, the water goes through several checks before it is determined safe, both for citizens and tourists.

However, you might find the tap water’s taste different and strange due to the protective chemicals.

Also, Milan‘s tap water was found to have E.coli, which does not affect the locals since they are accustomed to it, but it might affect tourists.

So, you might prefer avoiding water sourced from a well.   

Trevi Fountain with blue waters.
I wouldn’t recommend drinking from the Trevi Fountain but it’s definitely an Instagrammable spot in Rome.

Can you drink tap water in Rome?

Rome is Italy’s capital, as well as the former capital of the glorious Roman empire. Therefore, it is a city often referred to as eternal.

Similarly, one could describe Rome’s water supply as eternal too. After all, Rome has provided drinkable water for more than 2000 years to citizens and travelers. 

Rome’s tap water is safe. And interestingly, Rome is a city packed with numerous old-style fountains providing drinkable water. 

Can you drink tap water in Verona?

Verona is another popular destination in Italy, meaning tap water is regularly monitored and checked to align with the European Union’s standards for drinkable water. 

Like most cities in Italy, Verona has many beautiful water fountains you can fill your water bottle with, and tap water is available at most establishments. 

Can you drink tap water in Florence?

Florence is a beautiful city showcasing Italy’s colorful historical and cultural heritage. That’s why it is the most popular city within the Tuscany region.

So, as one of the top-visited cities in Italy, it undoubtedly has excellent tap water quality. 

Similarly to other cities, Florence has many water fountains and wells with drinkable tap water. 

Aerial view over Naples and the bay.
Consider bringing a filtered water bottle to Naples – Photo from Canva

Can you drink tap water in Naples?

Naples is a gritty city in the Southern part of Italy with many beautiful spots to visit.

While exploring the city, you will find many water fountains with good quality tap water to consume.

However, some might worry about metal impurities, so the best option is to purchase a water bottle with a filter. But be sure water filters do not change the water’s taste. 

Can you drink tap water in Pisa?

Pisa is known for its infamous leaning tower that thousands of people visit yearly to take a photo.

So, if you are one of those trying to capture the perfect picture in Pisa’s summer heat, you might want to know that Pisa’s tap water is perfectly safe. 

Therefore, while exploring Pisa, be assured that you can simply drink tap water from any water fountain unless otherwise indicated on a sign.

Can you drink tap water at the hotels in Italy?

Generally, hotels always provide all the rooms with bottled water.

However, like every household and other building in Italy, hotels have excellent quality tap water everyone can consume.

So, while staying in Italy for a vacation, you can fearlessly drink tap water. 

But still, check the area’s tap water quality beforehand to be sure it is drinkable, and always check the water’s color before consuming it.

In case you prefer to be more assured of the water’s quality, and especially if you have a sensitive stomach, it might be better to have an on-the-go filter system.

A glass of tap water in a hotel in Italy.
The tap water in hotels is drinkable, but generally you’ll be provided with bottled water – Photo from Canva

Do restaurants in Italy give tap water?

Despite the excellent quality of Italy’s tap water, restaurants rarely offer it to the guests.

In fact, usually, the waiter starts the conversation by asking whether you prefer still or sparkling water.

So, restaurants deliberately sell bottled water unless you ask for tap water. 

How clean is the tap water in Italy?

Italy has modern water treatment facilities which comply with the European Union’s regulations set by the Water Framework Directive.

Therefore, Italy’s tap water is constantly monitored, checked, and treated. 

Due to the treatment, tap water has a minimum requirement of 0.2 mg per liter of chlorine.

However, depending on the season and each region’s amount of chlorine usage, tap water may taste differently from region to region. 

Where does tap water in Italy come from?

The primary source of Italy’s tap water are springs and rivers, but groundwater also contributes significantly to the water supply. 

For instance, 97% of Rome’s water supply is mainly spring water which comes to the city through the aqueduct Peschiera-Capore.

Thus, the water is clean, rich in minerals, and with a pleasant and smooth taste.

Collecting spring water
Photo from Canva

Do you need a water filter in Italy?

As indicated earlier, in certain regions of Italy, reports have shown water contamination. For example, in the past, in Lazio, unsafe levels of arsenic and fluoride have been detected in tap water. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean tap water is undrinkable.

But tourists may be accustomed to Italy’s tap water’s minerals or chloride levels, so to keep yourself safe, it might be better to use a filtered water bottle. 

Also, if you like having a cup of tea in your daily routine, you might prefer filtered water since tap water may alter the tea’s taste.

However, this is about your taste preference rather than tap water being unsafe. 

Which is better: tap water or bottled water?

Rather than one being better than the other, it is about preference.

Bottled water always has excellent quality, and you can know where it came from and was processed. Also, even if it is an unfamiliar brand, it still tastes familiar. 

On the other hand, tap water might taste weird in the beginning until you get accustomed to the region’s water composition.

But there are more reasons why people might prefer tap water. 

For many travelers, tap water feels cleaner and is undoubtedly cheaper. After all, tap water is a free natural resource to use, meaning it helps travelers save money and stay healthy. 

Why do Italians drink bottled water?

While in Italy, you might notice that most locals drink bottled water rather than tap water.

Primarily, Italians preferred bottled water due to fear of water contamination which today can be described as a historical phobia.

Also, many marketing campaigns, even today, promote the health benefits of bottled water.

Furthermore, because of this fear and excessive marketing, drinking bottled water became a habit and a convenience, especially since bottled water is relatively cheap in Italy. 

Last but not least, for many Italians, bottled water tastes better than tap water. 

A woman drinking from bottled water.
Photo from Canva

Environmental effect of bottled water

Bottled water is clean, rich in minerals, and healthy, but has many environmental effects. 

First, bottled water needs resources to be manufactured and transported, and the bottling process releases more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

Additionally, water bottles play a massive role in the environment’s pollution.

Specifically, disposable water bottles affect the oceans greatly since they can kill more than a million sea creatures per year. 

How much does bottled water cost in Italy?

Usually, bottled water is quite cheap in Italy.

But the cost can depend on various factors, including where you bought it from, the brand, and if you are in a tourist area or a rural region.

So, let’s see two examples of bottled water costs, first, its cost in a supermarket and second in a restaurant. 

💵 Cost of bottled water in supermarkets

As already mentioned, bottled water in Italy is relatively cheap. For instance, in most supermarkets, you can easily find a 1.5-liter bottle for less than €1.

💰Cost of bottled water in restaurants

As you may know, Italy is an extremely popular destination, so restaurants, especially in top destinations, might be a bit expensive.

Still, bottled water’s cost usually depends on the fanciness of the restaurant, the water’s brand, the bottle’s material, and its size. 

If you dine at a touristy or fancy restaurant, a water bottle of 0.75 or 1 liter can be as expensive as €4.00.

However, if you go to a local eatery, like a pizzeria, trattoria, or osteria, the cost is relatively lower.

For instance, for a half liter, you might be charged €1.00, and for a liter, €2.00.

Close-up of a woman drinking from a water fountain.
There are plenty of water fountains to be found in Italy! – Photo from Canva

Types of Drinking Water in Italy

Regarding types of bottled water, we already mentioned still and sparkling water. But many Italians also drink water with little gas, also known as effervescente.

One of the most famous brands for effervescente is Ferrarelle.

Keep in mind that prices are not according to the water type but according to the brand.

How can I drink free water in Italy?

💧Public water fountains (fontanelle) in Italy

The easiest way to get free tap water is from the thousands of drinking fountains, called fontanelle, across Italy’s major cities and towns.

So, when you visit Italy, make sure to bring a reusable water bottle to fill with fresh tap water wherever you are. 

👍🏼 Is it safe to drink from fountains in Italy?

All drinking fountains are supplied water through a spring, river, or well, which are constantly monitored and checked for their water quality.

So, it is definitely safe to drink.

Unless you notice the reading sign “acqua non potabile”, which translates to water not drinkable. 

☕️ Order a glass of tap water in coffee shops

If you want to have free tap water while dining out, it is necessary to ask the waiting staff from the beginning because restaurants rarely serve tap water.

However, cafes often serve tap water for free.

And, in the unlikely event you need to pay, it usually only costs €0.50 per glass.

Close-up of a dining table at a restaurant with glasses and bottles of water and several plates with food.
It’s not common to order tap water in a restaurant; order bottled water instead – Photo from Canva

Safety Tips for Drinking Water in Italy

First and foremost, before arriving at your destination in Italy, check a water quality report on the area to feel assured that you can freely drink tap water.

Otherwise, ask the hotel’s staff once you arrive. 

If the tap water is indeed drinkable and safe, but you still feel it has an unusual taste or scent, you can boil it.

However, if it has an unusual color, it is best to avoid it at all costs. 

FAQs about drinking tap water in Italy

Is it rude to ask for tap water in Italy?

Unlike in other countries, it is unusual for someone to order tap water at a restaurant in Italy. So, it is advised to avoid ordering tap water since you might be considered cheap or rude. In fact, the waiter may point out that water comes only in bottles, and prices are on the menu.

Can I brush my teeth with Italian tap water?

Since tap water is completely safe to drink, it is also safe for other usages. So, whether you are staying at a hotel, an Airbnb, or at a friend’s house, feel reassured that you can easily brush your teeth with tap water.

Is European tap water safe to drink?

Although you can safely drink tap water in Italy, it doesn’t mean every European country has clean and drinkable tap water. Of course, generally speaking, most European countries, especially the EU’s members, need to comply with certain regulations that monitor, check and treat the water supply. 

But still, many countries and areas have outdated water treatment plants. Therefore, always ask about the country’s tap water, or if you prefer, either go for bottled water or purchase a filtered water bottle that allows you to safely drink the tap water.

Conclusion: Can you drink tap water in Italy?

Tap water in Italy is safe, clean, and drinkable. So, you won’t have any issues during your trip, especially if you plan to visit major cities. Also, considering Italy’s cities have plenty of drinking fountains, you will surely never go thirsty while exploring this beautiful country. 

Nevertheless, it is always good to be advised whether the tap water is drinkable by locals and other travelers’ reports and reviews to avoid any health issues. Otherwise, use a filtered water bottle which can always keep your water clean.