Can you drink tap water in Sicily? – local perspective

When going to Italy, one may wonder – is tap water safe on the biggest island in Europe? Oftentimes, places with less than optimal water sourcing force people into buying bottled water. But how does Sicily fare? We asked Alessandra, a long time resident of Trapani and Palermo.

Generally speaking, Sicilian tap water is potable, although it may carry a metallic taste if it comes from Etna. The strange taste can also be found around a volcanoes, Taormina or Catania. Public places and fountains generally have signs, informing the bypassers if the water is potable or not. If the sign says “potabile”, it means the water’s fine to drink.

The Italian health ministry says that water in Italy and on Sicily is of good quality. Although, it’s not always a good idea to drink it.

syracuse waterfall

Should you take a bottle with a charcoal filter with you? We think you certainly should, not just because of the general cleanliness of water, but because you’ll need to hydrate yourself much more in Sicily, as the sun spares noone. But what do the locals have to say about water in Sicily? As guests of Alessandra, an owner of a B&B we stayed in, we asked her about how she feels about tap water in Sicily. Can we drink it carefree?


In her opinion, as a long time resident of Palermo and Trapani, tap water is not suitable for drinking, not really because of the quality, but rather the infrastructure behind it, and the water sources which leave a lot to be desired. She advised us to stick to bottled water. Interestingly enough, she added that the entire infrastructure below and including Naples needs a lot of repairs to be functional, and she never drinks tap water anywhere in the south of Italy. The choice is yours, whether to listen to what the officials say or a person actually living in the environment.

Segesta wine

We reduced the use of tap water greatly on our ventures, usually sticking to 6-packs of 2 L water bottles, which although cost near nothing, are not the greatest for the environment. We later decided to stick to bottles with reusable charcoal filters, they seem to be the most optimal choice, allowing us to drink tap water from time to time too. Don’t drink the fountain water though. Stick to good wine instead.

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