Aperitivo in Italy – How to Partake in this Evening Tradition

HOW TO PARTAKE IN ITALIAN APERITIVO

The concept of Italian aperitivo is nothing short of pure genius. Many people attempt to equate this evening ritual to that of “happy hour”, but it is not necessarily the same. To put in simple terms, aperitivo is a type of cocktail hour. Although, it is not just that. Aperitivo involves more than salty bar snacks. It typically includes an array of traditional bites and dishes that you are free (yes, literally free) to snack on while sipping your Aperol Spritz.

where to drink near the Vatican

That’s right, all food is up for grabs. Unlike “happy hour”, there are no discounts. Drinks typically range from 5 to 12 euros depending on whether it is wine, beer, or a cocktail.

Since Italians usually eat dinner around 9 PM, aperitivo is the perfect way to bridge the gap with a few bites of food. Starting at 7 PM and ending around 9 PM, aperitivo is an incredibly pleasant way to wind down the evening after a day of sightseeing, while also getting the chance to partake in local culture.

To participate in aperitivo, you can grab a table or ask to be seated at a local, aperitivo bar. If you are not sure if a local cafe or bar serves aperitivo, it is not rude to ask. Though, if you see the place advertising themselves as anything other than aperitivo, for example, “cocktail hour” or “all you can eat”, this is a tourist trap. Once you have taken a seat, decide on your drink, and place your order.

Aperitivo drinks typically include wine, beer, prosecco, Aperol or Campari Spritz, Negroni, or a choice of cocktails. With this, there will be a selection of bite-sized foods, ranging from pasta, sandwiches, pizza, meats, cheeses and more. Each aperitivo bar varies, so you may have to go up and grab your own plate of food from the buffet, or a plate of snacks will be brought to your table.

aperitivo in Italy

Despite some aperitivo bars offering a buffet, this is not meant to be an all-you-can-eat. Aperitivo is never supposed to replace dinner. This pre-dinner tradition is meant to be a time to socialize, enjoy a drink or two, and of course snack on a few pairings of food.

Typically Italians will nibble on one plate of food throughout the course of their drink. If you would really like a second plate, it is common courtesy to then purchase an additional drink.

aperitivo in Italy

Our Favorite Aperitivo Bars in Rome, Italy

Bar del Fico, Piazza del Fico, 34/35 (Navona)

Aperitivo Hours: 7:30 – 9 PM

Open: Everyday

 

La Zanzara, Via Crescenzio, 84 (Prati)

Aperitivo Hours: M-F 7:30 – 9 PM, Sa – Su 8 – 9 PM

Open: Everyday

 

Freni e Frizioni, Via del Politeama, 4/6 (Trastevere)

Aperitivo Hours: 6:30 – 9 PM

Open: Everyday

 

Doppio Zeroo, Via Ostiense, 68 (Spanish Steps)

Aperitivo Hours: 7 – 9 PM

Open: Everyday

 

Ketumbar, Via Galvani, 24 (Testaccio)

Aperitivo Hours: 6:30 – 9 PM

Open: Everyday