Italians have long loved mineral water whether it is naturale or frizzante. A new book says that Italians are drinking more water and that demand is growing.
Italians now drink 178 liters (47 gallons) of bottled water a year per person. There are 150 companies marketing 252 different brands of water. Italy has over 700 natural springs though only 265 are used to produce bottled water.
Natural spas are gaining in popularity everywhere and Italy is no exception. The medicinal properties of Fiuggi, Chianciano and Salsomaggiore have been known since ancient times.
A national water-tasters association has been established with standards similar to those for wine tasting. Some restaraunts now offer a mineral water list along with their wine list.
Many Italians are critical of bottled-water producers saying they are capitalizing on the public’s concerns over the safety of tap water while making large profits. Tap water in Italy is perfectly safe to drink. Romans have been bringing water efficiently to their population since the time of the Empire. Tourists not used to drinking water in the country they are visiting should always buy bottled water to ensure
that they will not suffer from stomach problems.
There may be a more basic reason why Italians are buying more bottled water. In a 2004 survey by the Association of Water Purifier Manufactures, Acqua Italia, more than 30% of Italians do not like the taste of their tap water.
As if all that is not enough, a modern store selling nothing but water has opened in Termini, the main train station in Rome. The AQUA Store sells water from Italy, France, Germany and the UK among others.
Advisors in the store can tell visitors to the store which water will help a queasy stomach, which will help you on a long hike and which will taste best with the pasta you are planning to serve for dinner. Approximately 1,500 visitors stop by the Acqua Store daily.
Caution: Some Italians believe that drinking water with a meal dilutes the stomach’s juices and causes bad digestion. The best way to avoid that problem is to drink wine with dinner.