You might be tempted to think that “aperitivo” in Italy means “happy hour”. It’s just one part of the story.
Yes, aperitivo is like a cocktail hour. It’s a time when the food is more substantial than the potato chips or peanut butter you would get back at home. It is not like American “happy hour” where you can get discounts or have a few drinks with your coworkers. For those reasons, you should not be surprised to see an aperitivo advertised in Italy as a “cocktail hour”. These words indicate that it caters to tourists and not locals. ).
Aperitivo, in Italy, is a wonderful time to relax after work over a glass or Campari with some snacks. It’s a great way to get your metabolism back on track and build up appetite for dinner, since most people eat lunch at 1pm or 2pm.
Aperitivos can also be very useful for visitors. It’s a wonderful way to get to know the local culture, people-watch, and to relax with a drink after a day of sightseeing.
Do you want to have an Italian aperitivo? These are the things you need to know about Italian aperitivo.
Aperitivo is a Northern Italian tradition
It’s a fact that Italian food customs are highly regional. This is also true for aperitivo. Milan is the best place in Italy to enjoy aperitivo. You will find great food and drink options in this area.
It is harder to find “proper” Aperitivos further south, but the trend is growing. Even though the Milanese may not like it, Rome, Florence, and Naples now all have aperitivo scenes. Some establishments are lively and great for people-watching at night!
Aperitivo doesn’t offer discounts, but it does give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Aperitivo does not offer a discount on drinks. Aperitivo usually offers a small “bonus”, such as a platter of snacks or access to a buffet. Although prices vary, it is common to find an aperitivo with food and wine for between 8 and 10 euro in Italy’s major cities.
The place determines what food you are served.
Each bar is different. Some bars offer only olives and chips, which we don’t consider a proper aperitivo. Aperitivos are often served with small bites such as bruschetta, focaccia or meats.
The aperitivo buffets are our favorite because you can choose from a variety of food, from light pastas to healthy salads. Remember to serve yourself well, especially when you are serving others.
Aperitivo food is not meant to replace your dinner
Aperitivo buffets can look very appealing, especially if you are hungry or have a limited budget. You can load up on plates and enjoy the buffet as if it were a dinner party. Be prepared to get some weird, or even disgusting looks if you decide to do this!
Italians are more likely to eat a small portion of an aperitivo buffet. They will then eat the rest over the next hour, sometimes leaving a little behind. It is rude to eat too much or eat it all. This is not the point of aperitivo.
As a general rule, one drink equals one plate of food. You can get more food by buying another drink.
Are you a regular at an aperitivo in Italy or have you been there? What were your thoughts? Comment below!