Why do Italians drink bottled water? [Italian Listening Exercise]

By Manu Venditti | Advanced

Podcast #32: Why do Italians drink bottled water?

Why do Italians drink bottled water?... And not just sometimes, but ALL THE TIME! This is what we will look at today and discover a little more about this curious obsession Italians have.

First things first, water from the tap is safe to drink in Italy. There are drinking fountains all over the towns and cities of Italy, which is very convenient when you are out and about and need to rehydrate.

Yet you will find that Italians only ever drink bottled water.

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There are two primary reasons for this:

1. Out of fear of contamination

Yes, it’s true! Italians in general are obsessed with the idea of germs, bacteria and illness and will try and avoid anything that might expose them to such horrible things! We are somewhat paranoid about potential contamination of the drinking water - either by accident or on purpose - and therefore avoid it completely.

2. Bottled water just tastes nicer

Italians are so used to drinking just bottled mineral water that we find the taste of tap water rather unpleasant. You could say that we have developed a somewhat refined palate when it comes to water.

Marketing also plays a big role in Italians’ water drinking habits. A company’s advertisements will promote certain special qualities of their brand of water, such as:

  • Being low in sodium, even if there is not a particularly scientific reasoning for such claims.

  • Being designed specifically for babies

  • Having diuretic qualities - to make you go to the restroom

  • Containing mineral salts

And then, of course, there’s the obsession Italians have with following the latest trends and buying water that is deemed as trendy - in the world of bottled water.

Now you know about this fixation that we Italians have with mineral water - bottled water. What about you? Do you drink the water from the tap or do you prefer to buy bottled water?

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