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drinking water

Ohio
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drinking water

Hi Everyone, We are looking forward to our first trip to the Amalfi coast at the end of this month. Is it considered safe to drink the tap water in this area? We will be staying in Positano and doing day trips. Thanks for any information you can give!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: drinking water

Tap water is safe throughout Italy. What do you think the Italians drink?

Australia
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2. Re: drinking water

Wine!!!!! lol ;)

Montreal
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3. Re: drinking water

While it's safe to drink the tap water, in restaurants you will always be offered bottled water, flat or bubbly. If you ask for tap water, chances are you will be given it, but it's generally considered a request only made by uninformed and/or cheapskate tourists.

Norwich, United...
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4. Re: drinking water

You would almost certainly come to no harm drinking the mains water in Italy, as what comes through the pipes here is - I'm quite sure - just as clean and healthy as anywhere else, and if that was the extent of your concern then you needn't worry.

However, perhaps I can usefully qualify that statement?

In 2007 National Geographic published a short table showing Italy as having the highest average annual consumption of bottled water, at 203 litres - twice as much as Americans.

Much of the reason for the size of that figure (four times the adult wine consumption by the way), and why a significantly poorer population will spend so money on what may appear an indulgence stems not fashion choices or restaurant ripoffs, but from practical causes.

After London, where all year round our kitchen tap provided a constant supply of water that was fresh, cool and immensely drinkable, what we found here was rather a surprise. At first, in March, we drank the tap water, which seemed OK, if a bit different - but as the year progressed we realised that what came out of the shallowly-buried pipes was getting warmer and warmer - and less and less pleasant - until eventually we joined everyone else and began lugging home great quantities of bottled water.

And that's not all. Here, and I'd guess in many smaller towns and villages (at least outside of their larger hotels and some official buildings), the plumbing is arranged so that when there's a shortage of mains pressure, which happens usually when the demand's at its greatest (think summer, think showers, think tourists, etc), water to feed the household taps will be drawn instead from the serbatoio (the building's own storage tank, in the garden, underground, indoors or even on the roof) mostly without it being apparent that the secondary pump has kicked in.

When you realise the tap you'd come to trust might at any time deliver ages-old luke warm water, it doesn't just put you off drinking from it - you're even reluctant to use it to clean your teeth!

That's why the stuff we pour down our throats most times will come out of a bottle - and the reason you might want to consider doing the same while you're here!

Peter

Naples, Italy
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5. Re: drinking water

Bravo Peter! Exactly.

RogOhio, if you are in Amalfi on one of your day trips, go and taste the freezing cold water coming out of the Sant Andrea fountain in the main piazza. It is delicious and it is not a strange sight at all to see a local filling up their empty plastic bottles from the fountain (with strategically placed nozzle you will discover!) and carting it back up to their apartment.

But I don't drink any tap water from anyone's house or restaurant - not becasue of the water quality but of the quality of the plumbing and pipings which carry the water to the font. You may argue if the Sant Andrea fountain has been running continously for more than 100 years, then what of its pipings? But as far as I know, the fountain is regularly maintained and the pipings numero uno so my plumbing sources have informed me...

Ciao, Amalfigirl (with ripped forearms from carrying aforementioned 6-packs of water from shop to house)

Chester, United...
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6. Re: drinking water

We tend always to drink bottled water when away as it is easier to get cold bottles, and to have bottles with us at all times to avoid dehydration.

I have been told (this info may be completely out of date now) that though water will be safe, sometimes the mineral content is different and cause upset or just taste different.

I rather like reading the labels from the bottles to see where they come from...

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: drinking water

Are there certain brands that are more trustworthy than others? I think we've all heard stories(from everywhere in the world)of fraudulent labeling slapped on bottles of tap water.

What about the seals? Should we expect that the waiter will either leave it to us to open the bottle, or pointedly demonstrate that he is breaking the seal?

Thanks!

UK
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8. Re: drinking water

Having travelled to Italy for many years, since the late 1940s as a child, I can assure you that the tap water in one part of Naples is the purest of the pure... from the 'Serino ' Spring in the mountains behind Naples.... When we stayed in the building in that part of Naples with the Serino spring, the water came to the top flat in pipes up the outside of the building. So we had boiling hot water first (excellent for the washing up or personal washing) and then, eventually, it came out freezing cold -wonderful to drink. I always noticed on return to London how the water in Naples was light and quenched your thirst, but, the water in London felt 'heavy' to drink, you soon felt 'full up' and it took ages to quench your thirst.

If you move elsewhere within Naples, or outside it... it's not the same. I only once drank tap water on the coast nearby, which resulted in tummy upset, and from then on wherever I went in Italy it was always bottled water for me. Believe me, it only takes one drink of 'bad' tap water, or just tap water that doesn't agree with you, and the holiday is ruined, so don't risk it. Stick to the 'quality' brands of bottled water, they have the correct quantity of minerals in them too - that is also important.

Montreal
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9. Re: drinking water

There is no "better brand". They're all about the same, and they're all equally safe. My personal favorite is Ferrarelle, which is only lightly fizzy, but I would not and do not expect every restaurant to carry it.

The refilled-with-tap-water-with-fraudulent-labels-bottle is really not an issue in Italy. In Mexico maybe or third-world countries, but Italy is not a third-world country.

UK
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10. Re: drinking water

Oh... yes, do make sure you are given an unopened bottle of mineral water... a good restaurant will open the bottle in front of you. Don't settle for less... a refilled bottle will simply be tap water and if the bottle is of green glass, you won't even be sure it's clean ! At least if it's served in a clear glass carafe you'll be able to observe it carefully for 'foreign bodies' !

Acqua effervescente naturale, such as San Pellegrino - is naturally fizzy water, and less likely to be a 'refill', although you used to be able to get 'papers' in Italy (cartine ?) with effervescing salts in them to make your tap water fizz in a bottle, many years ago. I don't know if they are still available.

Buy your own bottles of drinking water from the supermarket and keep it in the minifridge at the hotel - I never trust tap water from the bathroom -not even in the UK. As said by someone before - how will you know if it comes from a stagnant tank in the roof, or from the mains ?

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