Learn about the Italian happy hour: the “aperitivo”

The “dolce far niente” (=sweet doing nothing) if it was a meal

With this 80s sounding name, Italians mean a particular meal that happens right before dinner (or less often, before lunch). No, it’s not an appetizer, it’s even better. It’s a moment in time, during a normal day, to celebrate fun, lightheartedness, to seize the day, and sometimes to turn a bad day into a good one. A moment of “dolce far niente” where drinks, finger food, laughs and chats are the protagonists. The “aperitivo” (happy hour) is a lifestyle, an important part of the Italian way of enjoying life.


First of all, your drink of choice. It could be alcoholic or analcoholic, a kind of soda or a spiced water. The important thing is that it brings you joy! We are about to unravel some of the most-asked drinks for this occasion. Do you have a favorite drink?

Or maybe you need to visit Italy and try the Italian way first?


The most famous aperitivo drink! This cocktail is born in the north of Italy, around 1930, bewteen Venice and Padua, where one of the main ingredients, the Aperol, was invented. Its mix of bitterness and sweetness can please every palate, its orange color matches the golden hour of the sunset: these two things and the company of friends or coworkers, make the best Italian happy hour. A variant? Mixed with Campari, a more bitter, red-colored and made-in-Italy beverage, it becomes a darker and sour alternative!


Italy is the country of citrus fruits: there are so many kinds and they are used in many preparations. The most famous it may be the limoncello. But what about a happy hour drink? In the middle of the last century the chinotto citrus became a soda drink and it’s now a bottled beverage, very fizzy and refreshing, and an often go-to for happy hours if someone wants to avoid alcohol and hydrate oneself! Its taste is sour, its color is brown like Coke’s. But there is only one Chinotto!


Is this the Italian “Old Fashioned”? I think we could say so! The earl Camillo Negroni came back to Florence after a trip to London. He asked the bartender to add gin to his American drink instead of soda: the Negroni’s American drink was born, and it then became an official drink after his name in 1961. It’s made with gin, red vermouth and Campari. Its bright red color is so distinctive and fashion! What could go wrong while you are sipping a Negroni? You could add sparkling wine instead of gin to make it less red and more sweet – it becomes a whole other cocktail called Negroni Sbagliato (=wrong negroni)! But we wouldn’t call it a mistake 😊


Some crisps and nuts to enjoy and make you thirsty and therefore enjoy your drink even more! Sometimes cozy bars can bring you little snacks for free with your drink, such as little pizzas, bruschette, or a house specialty. It’s the best feeling to enjoy a drink and nibble little snacks without a care in the world, with a beautiful view of the streets or square of the town you’re in.

Contact us to find the best spots to enjoy your aperitivo! Start planning your trip!


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