Picture, if you will, a hot summer day in Rome. You’re a tourist, and you’re visiting Rome’s big sights, many of which are outdoors or require long waits in outdoor lines, with little to no protection from the rays of the oppressive sun. Perhaps you’ve chosen to visit the Roman Forum at midday. Perhaps you’ve not gotten up at the crack of dawn to get an early entry to the Vatican Museum. Perhaps you don’t find yourself close enough to those lovely burbling fountains when you need them. Whatever your situation, you are going to be thirsty – and that’s where the Aqua Store comes in.
Situated in the Galleria Centrale of Rome’s Termini train station, the Aqua Store, opened in 1999, is an entire shop dedicated to that most humble of beverages – water. The idea behind the store is that there are many different types of waters, and they are useful for different kinds of people at different times in their day or life. When you go into the Aqua Store, you are confronted with a dazzling array of choices in modern refrigerated containers, but don’t be overwhelmed. A handy touch-screen questionnaire (in Italian, mi dispiace, but I imagine you can find either an employee or a new Roman friend to help you translate) will help you choose the right water for you – you simply answer a series of questions, and out pops a recommendation.
But wait, there’s more.
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Like any wine bar worth its salt, the Aqua Store has water tastings and there are even water cocktails you can order. I can’t find any that are alcoholic, though – they appear to be health-related cocktails. Sorry to disappoint.
It might seem like this is much ado about nothing, but the proprietors of the Aqua Store take water very seriously and their objective is to give each customer the right water for their situation at that moment. So if you’re passing through Rome’s Termini station, be sure to stop by – you might be pleasantly surprised. At the very least, you’ll have an interesting story to tell your friends.
For more information, check out the Aqua Store online. It’s all in Italian, so befriend an Italian speaker and learn about (among other things) the history of water and even water etiquette.
Photo by: popaitaly