How to drink water like a Roman

In restaurants, frizzante or gassate.  (If you want to skip the bubbles, order acqua naturale.)

On the streets, from fountains.  No joke.  Unless otherwise labeled, the fountains here all contain potable water.  Same water that runs into your taps at home.  James still talks about the time he saw a little old lady set down her market bags and walk straight into the fountain in front of the Spanish steps to take a few sips of water.  It’s a thing.  Drink up.

If you don’t have a fountain close by (the horror), look for a nasone.  The nasoni are the drinking fountains of Rome.  (Read a little more here if you want back story.)

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The water here is safe and delicious.  We use a Brita at home to try to remove some of the calcium, but the water certainly won’t damage you on a visit.  The kiddos get supplemented with fluorated water, as well as fluoride drops.

Water flows out of the nasoni in perfect fashion to fill up your trusty water bottle.  If you want to use it like a water fountain, no need to crawl underneath.  See that hole on the top of the faucet?  If you cover up the end, the water will shoot out the hole.  #instantRomanstreetcred

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Sometimes water flows out of a nasone all the time.

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Sometimes the nasone doesn’t have enough pressure and nothing comes out.  Womp womp.

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Sometimes the nasone has a knob so YOU can control your own water destiny.

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I can’t say whether nasoni are all over Italy, but I have seen them outside of Rome.  The nasone above was spotted at our trip to Hadrian’s Villa.  The one below–also the fanciest nasone I’ve encountered–we found in Tuscany outside San Gimignano.

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So before you come over, particularly if it is a hot weather trip–aka March – November, do yourself a favor and download a nasoni finder app or iMap.  That cold, refreshing water will be the perfect addition to your water bottle.

And if you are feeling really crazy, slurp up some H2O at your nearest fancy fountain.  The other tourists may think you are nuts, but Romans will give you a knowing nod.  (OK, that would be very un-Roman, but they are TOTALLY thinking how cool you are.  Don’t be surprised when they come up to ask for directions because they think you are one of them.)

Just try not to fall in.

2 thoughts on “How to drink water like a Roman

  1. Brian says:

    Oh my god, I’d completely forgotten about these! We’d drink out of them all the time. I remember the water having a lot of calcium in it, the glass in our shower would get all white and chalky, we’d have to clean them with vinegar. Very enjoyable post!

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