What is Aperitivo?
What is Aperitivo? Aperitivo is one of the best traditions in the Italian food and drink scene, which is to partake in a pre-dinner aperitif or glass of wine and nowadays even beer with included access to a plethora of buffet-styled varied finger foods (think small panini, cold cuts, cheeses, etc).
You may be wondering, why free food with drink? Italians take eating and drinking very seriously and it is very faux pas to be drinking without some sort of food company, even if that means a small bowl of nuts or potato chips. Italians are all about drinking for the sake of enjoyment, not exactly favoring intoxication. Unless of course you go back to the Roman times of Baccus, then you will see some real exuberated party animals. In any case back to 2013- Aperitivo started as a pre-dinner drink and nibble to “open the stomach” and your appetite and has now transformed into a sort of food and drink ritual. The city that Aperitivo is said to have taken root is in Milan and it is no rumor that it is indeed one of the best cities for this happy hour.
Aperitivo in Milan, Italy
Generally takes place between 6pm and 9pm, some locales extend aperitivo to 10 or 11pm and even dedicate their whole operations to being an all night aperitivo lounge, which you will find especially in Milan. Traditional aperitivo drinks vary among Italian regions and cities, with NEGRONI reigning in Florence and the SPRITZ in Venice.
No matter where you find yourself, a traditional regional aperitif will always include a sort of bitter, medicine tasting, herb infused neon orange or red liqueur like Campari or Aperol and they historically have been formulated that way due to their ability to stimulate appetite. Albeit not such a brilliant description of these aperif liqueurs, they are very unique tasting, surprisingly enjoyable (especially when mixed with prosecco as with the spritz) and are a must try as part of your Italian drink experience.
Be prepared to shell out no more than 10 euros and you may even get away with finding a modest aperitivo for 5-6 euros. However, for the more lavish buffets in the modern Milan style, I suggest you take a trip over to the Navigli District. In addition to being a beautiful, hip, very European and modern quarter with colorful bars, shops, bookstores, record stores, etc; you also find the Navigli lined with the city’s most buzzing aperitivo bars that have buffet spreads of epic proportions. Here you will find what seems like buffets of full course meals- all included with your drink! If you are looking for a more upscale aperitivo experience, we suggest the following locations:
- Ombra de Vin. In the unique setting of the antiquated refectory of the Augustinian friars. “N’ombra de vin” has selected, for nearly forty years, wines and liquors of the highest quality. With a unique style that has set a standard, and a very wide range of labels, it is the ideal setting to learn about and taste the best that Italian and international wine culture has to offer.
- The bar at the Straf Bar & Hotel.The aperitivo here is lively in a very cool, striking retro contemporary atmosphere where you can enjoy a craft cocktail and gourmet nibble along with an a late-night live music or DJ set.
We hope that on your upcoming trip to Milano, you come meet up with us at Segway tours so we can show you all the gems this very European fashion capital metropolis has to offer! Don’t waste time on cryptic fold out maps or outdated guide books, let us show you Milan the segway style on a guided tour with our local experts! The Milan City Segway Tours offers you the most efficient way to explore Milan without zapping you of all your energy so you can go out and enjoy that late-night aperitivo and the city scene. We wish you all the best on your trip planning to Italy and we hope to tour you the Segway, aka the best way:)