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Water, where to get some to drink in Italy

Can anyone give me some information about the costs of getting a bottle of water in Italy.
We're going with my brother in law and sister-in law, in late September. My sister in law heard that a bottle of water costs $ 10.00, so I need some real time answers.

Posted by
486 posts

Unless specifically stated otherwise, you can drink water out of any of the public fountains. Free! I have never spent that much on a bottle of water in Italy.

Posted by
333 posts

No, it is not $10. It's about the same price as anywhere else. Your best bet is to bring a water bottle and fill it wherever you can. I would buy one bottle in each new location and just fill it whenever I went to the bathroom someplace (kept it in my purse).

So no worries about water! Italy is wonderful (I HIGHLY recommend the limoncello- YUM) and I wish you a great time! If you're budget conscious, when you dine out and ask for water, be sure to specifically ask for tap water or you will be brought bottled water- which you pay for, of course (and if there's a language barrier they'll bring the bottle anyway). Have fun!

Lisa

Posted by
1234 posts

Complete meals sometimes include both wine and bottled water as well as coffee (maybe even an aperitivo). If you're not having the full shebang, for whatever reason, but want to splurge on a fancy glass bottled water (still or gassy), that bottle will be around 2 euros. Carafe of tap water is free -- although there might be a place-setting charge or some version of a cubierto that covers the water, bread, placemat, napkin... (Touristy places sometimes have a not-really 'hidden' charge of this type.)

Posted by
3286 posts

Google "cost of living in Italy." One of the results should be from Numbeo. Updated this month are typical prices in € for things in restaurants and markets. You can choose the city from a drop-down box.

Today at restaurants in Rome a .33 liter bottle of water is 0.94€. In a market a 1.5 liter bottle is 0.41€.

In restaurants we usually buy frizzante in the largest size we can get. Prices may vary by brand, but I don't think we have ever paid more than 5€ for a big bottle and frizzante can cost more than still.

Posted by
11977 posts

If you go to any supermarket in Italy, you can buy a pack of 6 bottles of mineral water, 1.5 liter each, for less than 2 euro.

$10 will also buy you about 3 or 4 bottles of inexpensive wine.

I think your sister in law was confusing water with gasoline, which is indeed more expensive in Italy (about $7 per gallon).

I don't recommend you drink gasoline.

Posted by
7735 posts

You might try to find out where your sister-in-law heard such a ridiculous thing, because this bit of nonsense is probably not the only nonsense that she's going to pass along to you with the best of intentions.

Posted by
20686 posts

I sometimes think that a little common sense is in short supply when listening to a friend of friend who knows someone who heard from his cousin that the uncle's wife brother bought a bottle of water for 10 euro. Really??? Now that is possible at the Ritz Carlton in South Beach. We have bought big bottles of water for a single euro.

Posted by
31029 posts

lois,

I suppose it's possible that an unscrupulous posh restaurant charged $10 (€9.15) a bottle for water and that's where the story originated. However that's certainly not something I've ever seen. Visitors who ask for water when dining in restaurants are typically provided with bottled water (either naturale or gassata), as that seems to be the custom. I don't have a problem paying a few Euro for a bottle of chilled Acqua Naturale as that's not really a big deal.

I've always found that tap water in Italy has been just fine. I normally buy a bottle of water at the start of the trip and then keep refilling it as necessary, and that's what I pack around while touring. In larger cities like Rome, there are public fountains which have excellent water. The only thing to look for is the words "Acqua Non Potabile" which means the water is NOT for drinking.

Posted by
16781 posts

I think that I saw a $10 price for water [or maybe it was Coke Light] on a menu at a very touristy Venice restaurant last year, one of those along the "Bancogiro stretch." It was way out of line with other prices on the menu (and in Italy in general). You couldn't say they didn't warn you, but people who want bottled water in a restaurant usually need not fear such prices. I also stick to free water during my sightseeing.

Posted by
24 posts

I've never paid more than a euro or two for a bottle of water in Italy. And I was surprised at how inexpensive large bottles of water were as conpared to the U.S. But then again I've not bought water at any fancy restaurants or hotels. Just be sure you know what you are getting - gas or no gas and I don't mean gasoline. As recommended, you can fill your water bottle for free around at the public fountains.

Posted by
2297 posts

The thing to watch out for is not bottled water but ordering soda/pop like cola in a restaurant. That can come with a rather shocking price - and no ice ....

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you to everyone who has replied to my question. They were all very helpful, and a great relief.😊

Posted by
715 posts

Where on earth do these rumors come from?

If you have a smart phone, or a tablet you can get an app that will direct you to all the Nasoni (drinking fountains) in Rome, and there are many.

An earlier poster stated that the water in the public fountains was drinkable, they were referring to the Nasoni, not the fountains like Trevi, or those of Bernini in Piazza Navona.

Posted by
8 posts

i know, when my sister in law said that the water costs $10. a bottle, I had my doubts.
but it's good to know that I can keep water with me at all times, and it won't cost much at all, if anything!
Thank you for taking the time to respond,

Lois

Posted by
463 posts

At any ordinary supermarket in areas where actual people live, a 1.5 or 2 liters bottle of water will be something from 0.25 to 0.60 euro. As you get more central and shops more touristy prices go up so it is well possible to pay 1 euro or more for a bottle of mineral water. Restaurants make additional charges so 2 euros are again well possible. Something more in luxury restaurants, but much more than this would look already a scam.

Posted by
752 posts

Go to Conad City supermercato and stock up on water. Small bottles of Frizzante cost around .35 Euro, large bottles a few cents more. At a ristorante ask for a small bottle of water (Frizzante for me), or they will bring you a large bottle -- unless each couple shares one large bottle -- but make your intentions clear to the waiter when you order.

A Caffè Bar near SMN at Firenze charges 5 Euro for a large Frizzante. I've not seen a 10 Euro charge, but it may be out there.

Posted by
23728 posts

I wish I could understand where the rumours that people have to sell their children come from.

This is the second question recently with extremely high prices for water quoted.

As can be seen from the answers here, these rumours are completely untrue.

Where are the rumours starting?

Posted by
8293 posts

Nigel, a lot of these rumours are begun by people who never leave North America and are jealous or pissed off by others who do. How often have we seen the following:

"My neighbour says the French are very rude, especially to Americans."

"My sister- in- law knows someone who said water in Italy is undrinkable. Bottled water is 10 euros."

"I've heard there is a lot of mugging/terrorism/rip-off restaurants/ white slavery in Europe."

"My dentist says in France you will be treated with contempt if you do not order wine with your meals."

"Someone told my mother to leave her jewellery at home. It's not safe to wear jewellery in Europe."

That's how the nonsense keeps circulating. Never listen to the nay- sayers.

Posted by
11977 posts

Rumors are often started not by people who have never traveled, but by people who have, but are clueless travelers who have no idea of what they are talking about and yet want to show off their non existing knowledge to others when they return home by making bold statements to people who have not traveled there. Also by making exaggerated statements about prices they want to convey the message that in spite of the high prices, they were able to afford traveling there. It makes them feel more important in the eyes of their interlocutors.

That is not peculiar to Americans. When I was studying at the University of Florence, a student I knew took a trip to the U.S. When he came back he was telling us that in America, people making less than $100,000-150,000 a year were basically at poverty level. He even mentioned that in Las Vegas, you couldn't possibly survive and you would starve with less than that amount. That was probably in the mid 1980s. Since I was engaged to an American and traveled here much more extensively than he did, I knew better and I called out his bluff and told him that he was simply full of it. In those years those incomes would have placed anybody in the top 2% (especially in Las Vegas). He was a bright student, I'm sure he's a professor now, yet B.S. knows no boundaries when one wants to impress a crowd.

Posted by
5714 posts

This water nonsense all begins with the weird idea that water in Europe is not drinkable. This has not been true for 50 or 60 years at least if ever. It is customary in Italy to order bottled water in restaurants with meals but it is not because the tap water is not drinkable. It is customary to have tap water with meals in France. In Rome and most other Italian cities there are public water fountains where people refill their water bottles; in Paris there are nearly 100 Wallace fountains for the same purpose.

We occasional order bubbly water with a meal and the cost for a liter bottle can range from one or two Euro to 5 or 6 in a restaurant (I am sure there is one that charges 10 but probably not one we could afford otherwise.

If someone is nervous about the water then just get some from a grocery store for the room; it runs under a Euro per liter. We will be buying water in St. Petersburg this fall because of their history of water issues (but as my husband reminded me, about 20 years ago thousands of people were sickened and 100 died from polluted public water in Milwaukee) and since we started privatizing water in the US there are jurisdictions that no longer provide effective management and control.

Posted by
842 posts

What's funny is that so many will talk about prices in Europe yet not bat an eye that restaurants in the US charge $2.50/3.00 for soft drinks AND except for a few instances, the restaurants water down the Coke syrup to the point that it's almost unrecognizable. Yeah, you get refills, but for those of us who want one small glass, I'd rather pay 80 cents or a buck for 8 to 12 ounces and call it a day.

We also tend not to offer half-pint glasses in the US, which in my mind is dumb and is something that UK & Ireland do right. My point is I think people don't look at what's going on in their own backyards to see if it even makes sense!

Posted by
31029 posts

I totally agree with Roberto's description of how these rumors and misconceptions get started. Someone who makes one trip to Europe and suddenly considers him/her self an expert, spouts a lot of half-truths and rubbish to an audience that's largely ignorant. The audience then perpetuates these stories and of course sometimes embellishes or changes them.

Back to the water question, in my experience Italian restaurants tend to stock various sizes of bottled water. Some will have both 500 mL and 1 L. sizes, while others will only have one size. I'll usually buy the smallest size possible, but if I have to buy a 1 L. bottle, no big deal as I just take it with me after dinner (or refill my touring bottle).

I've found water in most places in Europe to be safe to drink, but the one exception so far is Greece. There are some places there where it's not safe or not desirable to drink the water. For example, on a visit to Naxos, the hotel staff gave guests a stern warning at check-in about the high lead content of the water (old pipes). Bottled water was readily available at local shops, so not a huge problem. In other places in Greece, it wasn't the safety of the water but rather the taste that was the problem.

Posted by
8 posts

It's possible to pay in italy 10 dollars for a bottle of water, but it is not usual.

Normally a 500ml bottle (still or sparkiing is the same) is accounted from 1 to 2 euros (2 if you buy it in Venice near San Marco church or in Rome in th every center). ,20 to ,30 euros if you by it in a market.

If you sit down in San Marco square in venice and drink a bottle of water while listening a little orchestra playing live evergreen you could pay 10 euro. Or if you eat in a 3 star michelin restaurant. :-)

Posted by
11658 posts

I wish I could understand where the rumours that people have to sell their children come from.

To be able to afford $10 bottles of water? (wink)

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks to everyone for their replies to my question, I truly appreciate your time and interest, and be assured that both my husband and myself will be showing his sister this site, for the truth and accuracy of this issue, and to calm any concerns she might have.
The answer from Rachel about the soda is interesting. I personally am not a soda drinker, but my sister-in-law is, so it should be interesting to see how she reacts to wanting to purchase a soda in Italy.....thank you!

Posted by
5537 posts

Lois -- the same is true in France. I think my mother is always a bit shocked to discover that "her" Coke Light (Diet Coke to us at home) frequently (almost always, that is) costs more than a glass of wine in just about any brasserie or café!

Posted by
143 posts

I hope you are going to Rome and that you have a chance to enjoy the many wonderful and FREE fountains all over the City. The water is cold and delicious! There are some fountains in Venice, too (not as many as in Rome) and that water is piped in from the Alps, we were told. Also delicious. Lots of things are very expensive in Italy, but water is not!

Posted by
752 posts

Italy doesn't know that soda pop must be kept very cold. At Chef Express Cafeteria at Roma Termini, rows of bottles are on open shelf coolers that look a lot like ours. But they are too warm. I notice this at other places too.

So I head to the beer cooler. It has a door on it. Pepsi tastes best ice cold right out of a garage in a polar vortex winter.

Posted by
3826 posts

Not being alcohol drinkers, we generally would get a Coke or something when eating out (well, I like iced tea, but that's not happening in Italy). It only took us a few meals in Italy on our first trip in '08 to realize how much soda was. Rule of thumb was about 4-5 euro a glass, and when we started thinking exchange rate (to Canadian) we were looking at about $7 each for soda. We quickly changed over to drinking water (generally share a 1L bottle between the two of us for a few euro). If we felt like we needed something fizzy, we'd grab a bottle at a grocery store.

I still think my brain was high on exhaust fumes from the vaporetto, but I'm positive one of the restaurants along the grand canal in Venice was charging something like 12 euro for a glass of Coke. I really should have taken a photo of the menu because in my head that seems so so wrong, but I'm 99% sure that was the cost. Water is better for you anyways. :)

Posted by
48 posts

Agree with much of the advice here. Sometimes finding a bottle of cold water can be difficult, but once found €1 or 2 (max) is all it will cost.

At a supermarket water is astonishingly cheap in Italy

Posted by
8 posts

Wow!.....this community is filled with such wonderful people who have helped me with some questions I've had for our up and coming trip to Italy.
A big, "THANK YOU", to every one of you who has taken the time to reply to my inquiries, I truly appreciate them all. I also got some additional information from the responses that will come in handy as well....😊

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Kim,

I agree about France, we've been before as well, and even though I don't usually care for soda, I do enjoy a sprite. Especially when you don't want any more water, and I don't care for alcohol. It's not hard finding my soda but it's pricey, and so refreshing, ice cold!