Safely Drinking the Tap Water in Rome

hand turning on sink for tap water

The tap water in Rome is safe to drink. In fact, Rome has been known for the quality of its drinking water for more than 2,000 years, when the Ancient Romans built the aqueducts which you can still find standing around the city and the surrounding countryside. 

Here is what you need to know about drinking tap water in Rome from your hotel sink or from any of the 2,500 free water fountains you will see around the city.

Drinking from Rome Water Fountains

You will see Romans and visitors alike stopping at the free-flowing water fountains around the city when they need a cool drink. These fountains, with their large curved spouts, are known as nasoni – or “big noses.”

It is safe to drink from these Rome water fountains and it is also totally free. Put your water bottle under the spout or wash your hands under the flowing water then use your finger to block the spout. The water will be redirected through a small hole on the top of the pipe which creates a natural fountain of water to drink from.

Note: it is literally illegal to put your mouth directly on the pipe. This is one of the ways the city works to ensure the drinking fountains stay clean and hygienic.

If you are worried about being able to find the “nasoni” when you are out exploring Rome, there is actually an app that can help with that. The Water Finder in Rome app has mapped out all 2,500 water fountains so you can get a drink or refill your bottle anywhere in the city.

At some locations, including in front of the Colosseo metro stop, where lots of people pass by in need of drinking water, ACEA even provides special machines with purified water, all available for free. 

Checking Tap Water Safety in Rome

You don’t have to take my word that Rome tap water is safe you drink. If you prefer, or if you want to geek out, you can check the latest water safety reports from ACEA – the water company/authority in Rome. 

Simply go to their website and enter your address (e.g. your hotel) and then click on the dot on the map. It will popup a small icon which reads “Per maggiori informazioni: Clicca qui” – for more information: click here.

acea rome water website screenshot of dot on map

Clicking on the hyperlink will start an automatic download of the latest water quality report for that exact area of the city. It will include information on levels of sodium, arsenic, calcium, magnesium etc.

If there is a particular concern that you have with drinking tap water, you can be sure the water meets those technical specifications. If you are just wondering about Rome water in general, this should provide peace of mind that everything is being monitored.

water quality report in a table in italian

The only time you should not drink tap water in Rome is if you see a sign that says “ACQUA NON POTABILE”. This means that the water is not safe to drink, however, this is very rare. You will likely see it in the bathrooms on trains, where the water is only meant for handwashing or (very very rarely) while out in Rome.

Buying Bottled Water in Rome

It is perfectly safe to drink the tap water in Rome but you will often see local Italians as well as visitors buying bottled water.

If you are still worried about the quality of water in Rome or are traveling with young babies who need purified water for formula, you can find plenty of bottled water options as well.

Depending on the brand, 1.5-liter bottles of water cost between 40 and 70 cents in most supermarkets. If you buy these large bottles in mini-markets near major attractions, you will probably pay closer to €2.

Smaller bottles of water are widely available at these corner stores as well and are usually €1. In local supermarkets, you can purchase these half-liter (500 ml) bottles for closer to 30 cents. 

All of the tap water in Rome is still water. If you are buying water, check the label to see if it is acqua naturale (still water), acqua minerale (still spring water with natural minerals), or acqua frizzante (fizzy water/ water with gas).

Mineral water is very popular in Italy. If you need purified water that is appropriate for young babies, be sure to check for a literal picture of a baby on the label. 

If you can’t avoid single-use plastic, please be sure to recycle. 

A final note on water in restaurants. It is very rare to be served tap water in Rome, even if the tap water is safe to drink. You should expect to pay around €2 when you order a large bottle of water for your table. The bottle is usually glass and you leave it behind when you finish your meal. It is simply a part of the cost of eating out in Rome.

So go ahead and drink the tap water in Rome. Staying hydrated is one of the essential steps to surviving Rome in summer high season.

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