While traveling throughout Italy, it is without question that you will hear the phrase “Fare un’aperitivo!” amongst locals. The word aperire is of Latin origin, meaning “to open”. Translated literally, “fare un’aperitivo” is “to have an aperitif”, or to open your palate, thus promoting proper digestion.

The art of enjoying a pre-dinner drink has become a tradition that is incorporated into the daily routine of Italians and provides the opportunity to enjoy sacred time spent amongst family and friends. Aperitivi Italiani has had historical significance in the Veneto and Lombardia regions of Italy in particular that dates back hundreds of years. Outside of these regions, the aperitivo is certainly known, but it does not have the same element of tradition that is incorporated into daily routine as it does in Northern Italy.

You may be thinking to yourself, “Oh! This is Happy Hour!” Although aperitivi Italiani can resemble American “Happy Hour” in some ways, unlike Happy Hour, enjoying aperitivi Italiani is not something that people take part in only on occasion or in the hopes to drink more for less. You won’t receive a discount on aperitivi the way that you will during Happy Hour; most aperitivi are between 3 Euros – 8 Euros and to fare un’aperitivo is considered an experience that is cherished each day between 6 – 9 p.m. as a way to unwind from life’s daily stressors and connect with those who matter most.

Traditional aperitivo cocktails are lower in alcohol content than other drinks are and are usually combined with a small plate of chips, crostini, olives, cheese, cured meats, or the like. Some of the most popular aperitivi Italiani are:

  • Aperol Spritz
  • Vermouth Rosso
  • Campari
  • Wine
  • Negroni
  • Prosecco

In Venice, the absolute best places to enjoy aperitivi Italiani are:

  • Bar Duchamp
  • Bacareto Da Lele
  • Bar Alla Toletta
  • Cantina El Bottegon
  • Bar Al Canton (Santa Marta)
  • Caffe Rosso
  • Caffe Imagina
  • Caffe Noir

The next time you’re in Italy, step into a local bacareto and fare un’aperitivo as you take part in one of Italy’s most cherished cultural traditions. After all, you’re in Italy – sit back, relax, & enjoy la dolce vita!

Cin Cin!

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