Rome is a popular travel destination. Millions of people go there every year to take in the city’s breathtaking architecture and learn about its history. People planning a trip might wonder about the safety of the drinking water and if they should stick to bottled water when they’re in Rome.
Ancient Rome had a sophisticated system of aqueducts that transported water into the city, but what about the drinking water today? Is it safe to drink the tap water in Rome?
Is It Safe to Drink the Water in Rome, Italy?
Despite the fact that Roman aqueducts are centuries old, the answer to the question, “Can you drink tap water in Rome?” is—generally—”yes”. The drinking water in Rome is safe to drink most of the time, and not only that, but according to residents and travelers, it also tastes good, too!
What is the History of Drinking Water in Rome?
Ancient Roman civilization was advanced in many ways, but Rome’s aqueducts are rightly celebrated as an engineering marvel. Construction on them started in 312 B.C. and took about 500 years. Some of the aqueducts are still in use today.
Any visit to Rome will be enriched by a tour of the aqueducts, which were built to transport water from lakes and rivers outside the city to Rome’s homes, baths, and drinking fountains. Although other civilizations built aqueducts, the Roman system was unique because of its size, bringing water to Roman citizens from up to 92 km (that’s 57 miles) outside of the city.
Fountains in Rome
Rome is known as The Eternal City and has a reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, especially when it comes to fountains. There are more than 300 architectural fountains in Rome, including fountains designed by artists such as Gianlorenzo Bernini. Bernini sculpted five of Rome’s most beautiful fountains, including:
- The Fountain of the Four Rivers
- The Fountain of the Bees
- Fontana della Barcaccia
- The Fountain of the Moor
- Fontana del Tritone
Any tour of Rome will allow tourists to view dozens of fountains, each with its own unique design. Drinking from Rome’s architectural fountains isn’t a good idea, but there are plenty of places where you can get a taste of Rome’s drinking water.
Where Can You Drink the Water in Rome?
In addition to decorative fountains, there are more than 2,500 drinking fountains known as nasoni. They are located all around the city and they’re a great place to get a taste of Rome’s history and its drinking water at the same time.
While all the water in Rome’s nasoni is safe to drink, there are some special locations that deserve a visit for other reasons.
- The nasone (that’s the singular of nasoni) in the Via delle Tre Cannelle has three dragon heads as drinking spouts.
- Some of the oldest nasoni in the city are located in the Trastevere district.
- You can find nasoni near many of the city’s main tourist attractions, including the Pantheon and the Colosseum.
People traveling with dogs can spot nasoni with drinking basins for dogs below the ones for people.
How to Drink from Rome’s Public Water Fountains
There are two options for those who wish to take advantage of the free drinking water from Rome’s thousands of nasoni:
- To use as a drinking fountain, plug the spout at the bottom with your palm or finger and water will spout from the top.
- To refill water bottles, simply place the bottle beneath the spout to collect the water.
Drinking the Tap Water in Rome
As is the case in most cities, the drinking water in Rome comes from sources all around the city, including groundwater, reservoirs, and wells. Travelers who read about ancient Rome may have read that the original aqueducts were contaminated with lead and worry that the same is true of modern day drinking water.
There is no need to buy bottled water in Rome when it’s possible to carry a reusable bottle and refill it from one of the nasoni.
How is Tap Water in Modern Rome Treated?
In Modern Rome, most of the original aqueducts are not in use. The ones that are still used, including the one that powers the Trevi Fountain, have been extensively repaired and remodeled.
The water in Rome today is treated to make it safe for drinking. While multiple companies do the work, the largest is called the Acea Group. It inspects and tests water that’s delivered to more than nine million Italians over five regions, including Rome.
Stay Hydrated with Rome Tap Water
The city of Rome has thousands of drinking fountains plus decorative fountains with a rich history, such as the famous Trevi Fountain. Drinking water in Rome is generally safe and delicious to drink as long as you follow guidelines, making it easy to get enough water every day while you’re traveling.
How much water should you be drinking in a day? The amount for any person depends on their age, height, weight, and activity level. Drinking enough water ensures that the body has enough fluid to flush toxins, digest food, and complete other important functions. And, since sightseeing can certainly make you dehydrated, make sure to drink up!