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Like their ancient Roman ancestors, who thought nothing of spending millions of sestertii on aqueducts to bring an exceptional spring into the city, modern Italians are quite fussy about their water; they drink more bottled water per capita than any one else in Europe—155 litres per year. Plus they have plenty to choose from: there are 608 different brands up and down the Big Boot (second in the world after Germany, which bottles 624), which means everyone has a local one to choose from, to keep their carbon footprint smaller than a clown shoe.

acqua al rubinetto: tap water. Growing in popularity in response to the lofty mark-ups on bottled water in some restaurants.

acqua con gas or le bolle: bubbly water

acqua di fiore d'arancio amaro, or the bitter orange flower (Citrus aurantium amara) water from the narrow Vallebona in Liguria is used to flavour Grand Marnier and Triple Sec. It takes a a ton of flowers to make a kilo of oil, but after decades of decline, they've started producing it again; in the Ark of Taste

acqua frizzante/gassata: mineral water with bubbles

acqua liscia or naturale: (non-bubbly) water

acqua minerale: bottled mineral water

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: tes