The word “aperitivo” derives from the latin verb “aperire”, which means: to open. And that is exactly what they would like you to do while you are snacking and drinking: open your appetite to enjoy a meal after you snack.
The aperitivo started in Torino (Turin), in Piemonte most likely since vermouth (a wine infused with herbs) was invented there in 1786. There are plenty of historic cafes to check out like Piazza San Carlo’s Caffe San Carlo or Caffe Torino.
Here is a little history about the Negroni Sbagliato that I found in La Cucina Italiana magazine some years back:
“The house specialty at the legendary Bar Basso in Milan translates as “wrong” or “mistaken” Negroni—a fitting name for a cocktail born from a happy mistake. When making a Negroni, a misplaced bottle of spumante was grabbed by accident. An instant hit, the drink became the bar’s signature.”
Aperol Spritz on the left and a Campari Soda on the right.
Here are some aperitivo drinks to consider:
Aperol Spritz: Prosecco, Aperol and club soda.
Campari Soda: For the Campari lovers, this is just straight Campari with soda. They also sell the Campari soda in these cute cone shaped bottles (you can find them at most grocery stores).
Negroni: Made with gin, vermouth and Campari (can be very strong!)
Pirlo: White wine, Campari and club soda. You could even sub Aperol for the Campari.
Proscecco: Sparking wine (frizzantino in Northern Italy).Rossini: Crushed strawberries and Prosecco (or Champagne).
Spritz: Sparkling water and white wine
Where to go for an aperitivo?
In Firenze (Florence), here is a nice roundup to consider.
In Milano (Milan), the best place is Navigli. You can walk around and find the place that looks best for you. Here are some places to check out in Milano.
In Roma (Rome), great bars for a classic aperitivo.
In Torino (Turin), here are some unique places to visit.
In Venezia (Venice), here are some bars for that magical aperitivo time in the Dorsoduro area.
Been to an aperitivo in Italy? What was your favorite drink?