On a not so recent trip to Italy I was having dinner with my husband and son in the hills of Artimino outside Firenze. We happened upon Da Delfina as we happened upon most places in those early days. We were bound for one destination and arrived at another. Translation: We got lost. Ad ogni modo (at any rate) it was a lovely discovery and a wonderful dinner. Our son, still a teenager, had the audacity to request a coca cola from the cameriere (waiter) who replied with the following, ”Signore, in the mountains we drink only wine or mineral water.”
We have laughed at this over the years, but the truth is Italians are the world’s number one consumer of bottled mineral water in Italy and the third in the world. In 1980, the average Italian drank about 50 liters of bottled water a year. Thirty years later, that has climbed to 200 liters. In fact they have over 320 types to choose from. As a paradox Italy is a country rich in springs, usually of a very high quality. Many town squares still feature the municipal fountains where people used to get their water before indoor plumbing became common. In Rome there are more than 2.000 fountains providing very good drinking water at the citizens’ disposal. Much of the water is from undergroud acquifers and runs from fresh springs in the mountains.
So what’s not to love about fresh water? Why do the Italians distrust water from the tap or municipal fountains? Can anyone explain this to me?
And then there is the environmental question about the production of plastic bottles and pollution caused by trucks in getting the bottled water to market. Using free water could reduce carbon emissions and reduce trash in a region that takes pride in recycling. And then let’s not even talk about whether the bottles (plastic or glass) ever make it to the recycling bin…….