Venice urges tourists to drink from fountains

A view of Piazza San Marco in Venice, August 30, 2003. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - As summer sets in, tourists visiting Venice will find fountains feature unexpectedly high on this year’s sightseeing tours as the city council aims to reduce waste in the world’s biggest consumer of mineral water.

A new initiative to cut down on bottled water consumption, called “100% Public” (, will be launched on Thursday, which is World Environment Day.

Tourists will be given an empty water bottle with the message “Don’t throw me away, re-use me!” and a map indicating the 122 fountains flowing with water from the city’s aqueducts, inviting them to quench their thirst directly from the source.

Venice was chosen for the launch of the scheme due to its obvious links with water and its role as a tourist centre. However there are plans to take the project to Italy’s other major cities.

Italians are the world’s largest consumers of bottled water, even though the natural water in Italy’s fountains is some of the cleanest in the world.

The campaign offers people the chance to cut waste and save money at the same time.

It comes as a trash crisis continues in the southern port city of Naples, where tens of thousands of tonnes of refuse lines the streets.

Reporting by Olivia Scarlett; editing by Paul Casciato