Saturday, September 30, 2006

Unlimited Water for Your Flowers

One of the things I love about Rome is the abundance of sidewalk flower stands. Here you can even see one of Rome's classic fontanelle, a constantly-running fountain of cold, fresh spring water that comes from deep underground. These little fountains are stationed throughout the city. To get a drink, you just plug the spigot with your finger, and the water starts to shoot out of a little hole on the top, making an instant drinking fountain. Rome's water is legendary and many say it's the best in all of Europe. So the answer to: "Can I drink the water?" is a definite YES, even though most Romans drink bottled water themselves, probably due to the extremely high calcium content in the tap water. In fact, even with such wonderful water, Italy has the highest per-person bottled water consumption in the entire world, at 183.6 liters per person every year.

Speaking of water, at a restaurant you will be served bottled water, and will have a choice of naturale (still) or frizzante (sparkling). You also may be asked "With gas?" or if you want acqua gassata for sparkling water. I've never seen an Italian ask for tap water, although some of the American students I used to work with would ask me how to say it. In case you're wondering, you can ask for acqua dal rubinetto. I'm not promising you won't get a strange look, but the request will be accommodated.

And of course, then there's the ice/no ice dilemma. In Italy (and most places in Europe I've been to), water and soft drinks are served without ice, but if you ask for con ghiaccio (gee-AH-cho) ice can be added. Drinks are served refrigerated so I suppose they figure ice isn't necessary. As far as free refills and doggie bags go...well, those are still concepts that haven't reached this side of the Atlantic...yet.

7 comments:

Travel Italy said...

As far as free refills and doggie bags go...well, those are still concepts that haven't reached this side of the Atlantic...yet.

and hopefully never will be.

Expat Traveler said...

lol - yes I'd so agree with David! I like how Europe has less. It's something different and it should stay that way.

When I ask for the small here in Canada, I always wish they have one size smaller. MAybe I need to just ask and see what I can get!!!

glittertip said...

Hi-- i think i may be your neighbor. I am adding you to my list of blogs.
xox e

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Travel: I'm with you!

Expat: Good to see you! And as far as portion control goes... I heard not too long ago that plate sizes in US restaurants have actually increased to keep up with the portions...no wonder I always gain weight when I go back.

Glitter: I think you're right. Noi donne romane del mondo blog (Avery, where'd you go?) should organize a little festina sometime.

FinnyKnits said...

You know I love this photo and the idea that I can buy fresh flowers (and plants) and water them right there on the street. To me, that is better than free refills at restaurants. Honestly, I can never drink more than one glass anyway.

Travel Italy said...

Shelley - I would hate to start a rant about portion sizes, food quality (or lack of it), and the weight problem here in the US.

Unfortunately it is a problem, a BIG problem, and corporate advertisers are now using the Italian diet to make people think the restaurants are preparing healthy natural foods. It so upsets me...

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

What a pretty photo. It makes me "homesick."