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.)

2.18_nason 5

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

2.18_nason 2


Sometimes water flows out of a nasone all the time.

2.18_nason 3


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

2.18_nason 6

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

2.18_nason 4

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.

2.18_nason 1


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.

That time we accidentally crashed a movie set

We did it!  We finally went on an outing in the car.  After my indecision and the dead car battery kept us from any exotic long weekend plans, we decided to do a day trip on Columbus Day to Tivoli.  Villa D’Est is closed on Mondays, but we could still hit Hadrian’s Villa (Villa Adriana).  Armed with the freshly-recharged car battery, a haphazard picnic, the umbrella stroller, and the lillebaby, we set off around 9:30 am.  Adventure ho!

Have I mentioned our car before?  It’s a 2003 Audi station wagon.  Very low mileage because it used to be the Irish Ambassador’s to the Vatican.  (Or something like that.)  Instead of shipping a car, we bought it here right before we came.  This one is already “lightly Romanized.”  No need to put that many dinks and scratches on our beloved Passat we decided.

Even though it is a station wagon, the car is definitely not huge.  Poor Henry doesn’t have quite the foot room he deserves sitting behind James.  He’s stuck there though because Mac’s rear-facing car seat only has a chance of fitting behind me.

James insisted on purchasing a European GPS before we embarked on any journeys.  He didn’t want our hands in the fate of sketchy data coverage on the Google maps.  Fine by me.  I’m not sure I plan on driving ever so whatever you need to make this happen, Little Mister, is ok with me.

The GPS said it would take us about 30 minutes.  It was about an hour.  Traffic reaffirmed my desire never to drive here ever.  And it wasn’t just the other drivers.  There really aren’t lanes.  It isn’t even a question of whether there are two or three lanes, but also not knowing where the center dividing line is.  Fun!

After navigating the roads out of town and the Autostrade, the GPS tried to lead us astray.  Thankfully, following the Italian road signs actually worked out.  After some maneuvering, we found the parking lot.  We noticed some white tents to the side of the parking lot.  I think I said something like “oh, cool, a market, we’ll have to check that out later.”  (Foreshadowing: not a market.)

Tickets were a little pricey.  11 euro for adults plus 3 more for parking, but at least kids were free.  We made it up what felt like a never ending hill and then there we were.  You could see the wall.  Of course, we did a quick diaper change before heading in.  #placesmysonsjunkhasbeen

10.16_hadrian 1

Apparently Villa Adriana is the OG Versailles.  Warning: liberal paraphrasing ahead.  It seems that Hadrian decided Rome was too stinky and gross so he built his own place outside town and then just posted up there permanently.  And it is quite the place.  400 acres.  We barely scratched the surface, and that is only of what has already been excavated.

It's only a model

It’s only a model

One of the better preserved areas we saw was the Canopus.  Apparently Hadrian put a bunch of copies of things he’d seen on his travels and conquests.



Yup - that's a crocodile statue

Yup – that’s a crocodile statue

I spent a good bit of time just trying to picture what it must have been like back in the day.  Orchards in bloom, people clustered around doing whatever they did, servants scurrying.  I’m pretty bad at picturing, but you could tell it was an impressive place.  I did note that it was pretty much 85 in mid-October.  So everyone I pictured was pretty sweaty.

10.16_hadrian 3 10.16_hadrian 8

We struggled mightily with the how much to push question.  I paid my 25 euros.  I came all the way here.  I wanted to see things, darnit!  Henry, however, wanted to roll his car in the dirt.  And slide down a hill on pine needles.  And the lizards that were EVERYWHERE.  After lugging the stroller up too many stairs and wishing we had more food, we were stick-a-fork-in-it done.  The kids both passed out on the way to the car.  I was looking forward to checking out that market and the picnic in the car.

Spaz included for scale

Spaz included for scale

10.16_hadrian 6

On the long walk back to the car, we noticed that an area was closed off for “cinema” something or other.  There were an awful lot of vehicles over that way.  Then we saw dudes on horses.  In full Roman soldier regalia.  And we heard a director yelling something in English.

10.16_hadrian 10

So that “market” we saw was the makeshift production village.  They had trailers and people with costumes.  People eating in a shaded mess area and generally taunting our stomachs.  Animals such as donkeys and goats; location of PETA representative unknown.  We just sort of wandered through.  Nobody told us to get out.  Or really seemed to notice us at all for that matter.

These people could be famous!

These people could be famous!

Sadly, I can’t tell you what was filming.  I really wish I could.  It’s not because we were sworn to secrecy.  I just don’t know!  I’ve tried my hardest (read: light Googling), but I can’t find anything.  It could be a local Italian TV show or the next summer blockbuster.  I should have spent more time looking for names on trailer doors!  Stay tuned for more adventures by car that are mandatory to keep the battery charged.