Calabrian Water: Natural Water from Calabria’s Mountains

There was an article on Yahoo’s front page last week warning consumers about the risks of drinking bottled water. Most of us have heard the rumors claiming that bottle water is nothing more than marketed tap water so I assumed this story was more of the same.

And it may have been.

I didn’t read it.

After all. We don’t buy bottled water.*

The Calabrian mountains produce the freshest drinking water money can’t buy and a locally-owned water company, Calabria, bottles and sells it throughout the region.

So we go to the source.

Comfortably situated in the mountains between Girifalco and Cortale are acres of land where day-trippers can head out, have a cookout or picnic and bottle their own water.

We have another source a bit closer to home. Located just north of downtown Catanzaro, this watering hole stays pretty busy with elderly black-cloaked women filling one-liter bottles while anxious teens try to sneak in and fill the bottles they plan to sell down the road.

 The water is constantly pouring from the spout and it comes out refreshingly cold and ready to drink.

Not convinced? Here are five reasons you should not drink bottled water. Read that, then come back.

You back? Ok then.

Remember, these aren’t the only places you can tap into the fresh mountain water source – they are literally sprinkled throughout Calabria, and in fact, throughout Italy. Next time you see a natural water source in Calabria, save yourself a few centesimi and fill up your own bottles. You know what they say? When in Rome Catanzaro …

Have you ever tried water from a natural source? I had friends visit once who refused to try it because they were worried about sanitation. Would you agree with them? If not, what would you say to them to convince them it was safe?

* In a comically ironic twist, as I was typing the words “we don’t buy bottled water,” my husband walked in with two grocery bags full of, I kid you not, bottled drinking water. They aren’t for us, though. He plans to offer them to the guests who stay at our bed and breakfast here in Catanzaro. Ha. Just when you think you know somebody …

13 Responses
  1. We have a few spouts around town with fresh, delicious water. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I don’t know where it comes from, but it doesn’t taste like the tap water. Then there’s a source at a nearby monastery where the water is excellent. There’s always a crowd filling up bottles to take home. This is one of the things I love about living in Italy!
    I’m with you. I love that we can go fill up and have fresh, clean water so easily. It is also great for travelers who don’t have to pay €1 for each bottle of water they need!

  2. What I find most interesting is that everyone here has their favorite fontanella…my MIL insists that the one closest to us has horrible water, but I’ve seen plenty of people filling up (and living to tell the tale!). She prefers this one in Satriano, just outside of Soverato. All tastes great to me 🙂
    P says the ones in Cortale are better, too but I can’t tell the difference. I am with you – it is all delish!

  3. I remember my grandmother in Delianuova (RC) using water from a fountain in the mountain.

    There is one in Positano in the mountains too, but seeing we don’t have a car and on the bus it would be awkard, I phone the local mini-market who deliver bottled water right to the kitchen free!
    Definitely not easy to get water from the mountains when you are on a bus. They deliver it for free, though? That is awesome!

  4. We have those fountains too. But, the best I ever tasted was way up high in the mountains in the Abruzzo National park. It was a hot summer day (down in the valley), but the water was ice cold.
    Without a doubt the best kind, don’t you think? How does it get *so* cold, I wonder?

  5. maryann

    I would drink from that source in a heart beat! I don’t buy bottled water because I come from a time when water and air were free 😉 Now they want me to pay as much for water as soda or juice and to fill my tires with air as wwell?! uh-uh!
    I hear you, girl! I remember those days, too …

  6. I don’t buy bottled water either. I have a Brita thingy at home. I usually grab a drink from the Nasone (water fountains in Rome) instead of walking around with bottled water.

    In restaurants they use glass bottles which is you can recycle.
    I thought about getting a Brita and bringing it back with me. Now I am tempted!

  7. I never buy bottled water. Normally I drink it from the tap, but at current flat it is yuck so we go to the fountain up the road in the night to fill up all our bottles. People look at me like I m homeless as no one does this in Rome, but I do not care!
    In Calabria we go to the mountains (well Malito is in the mountains so we drive up hill for another 10 minutes) to get to the open tap which has delicious, crisp, cool, water.
    That is funny, Leanne that they all look at you like you are homeless. Ha. Well, soon you will be in Calabria. And we all do it here! 🙂

  8. There are a couple fountains around my father’s little town in Calabria and there is always a debate as to which one is better. Many people in the town choose to hop over to a neighboring town with a dozen or so glass bottles to fill up at one of the bigger natural water fountains. There is always a line up of people at the fountain waiting to re-fill their bottles. The Italian’s have it right, it’s cheap (free) and environmentally friendly. I’ve had a drink from the fountain and lived to tell about it. I’ve also had the Calabria bottled water (it is available here in Canada as well). 🙂
    I had no idea there was Calabria water in Canada. Go Calabria! Next time you are in Calabria I’ll have to take you to the source. We like to go up to that area for picnics and BBQs. It is so green and the air is so fresh and clean.

  9. carrieitly

    The best natural fountain near us is on the road up to Civitella del Tronto in Abruzzo. The spiggit literally comes out of the rocks on the mountain. It is a bit precarious to pull over there however, and in our quest for the best drinking water we’re probably risking more parking on such a narrow, twisting road!
    Ha. That is funny. The locals probably like the no parking because it keeps others away from “their” water!

  10. carol

    On our very first trip to Calabria many years ago, our cousins took us up to the Sila for *l’acqua fresca*. At the time, it seemed a little strange to drive all that way to fill water bottles.But as we became more assimilated to life in Calabria……well, now when we go, we fill the car with demijohns and bring back enough for everyone. Especially in the summer…’s….well…….fresca!
    The Sila water is fresca, plus Sila is beautiful so it makes the trip worth the effort. Speaking of Sila, I’ve been itching to get back up there… Soon, I hope!

  11. When we are in Italy we are lucky enough that the water in our house outside of Teramo comes clean and fresh out of the faucet. When we are at the beach in Alba Adriatica we have a natural fountain right in front of our house so we fill up every day and it is wonderful. Luckily, here in Pennsylvania we have a farm that has a natural spring and for $1.25 we can fill up our 5 gallon water cooler container and enjoy cold fresh water…it’s not free but it is not as expensive as a water service. Unfortunately our tap water tastes like cholorine, even with a filter, so I am glad we have this option.
    $1.25 for 5 gallons beats $1.25 for 20 ounces, right? That is great. You are lucky to have fresh water from the faucet in Teramo!

  12. Hi Cherrye, Love this post… it seems like everyone in my family has their favorite “watering hole” in Calabria and everyone claims that theirs is the best tasting:) Not to be outdone, my father has managed to find his very own fontana here in Western Massachusetts…. he fills up 5 gallon jugs every few months.
    You can take the man out of Calabria, right? Glad he found a suitable substitute!

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