The Italian pre-dinner ritual of aperitivo is an art form here in Rome. In fact, the aperitivo – which is our term for having a light drink and snack ahead of dinner – is one of my favourite traditions. It’s prevalent across all of Italy – which, given our country’s many regional variations, is an indication of how enjoyable it is. Here in Rome, it’s particularly special. Now, let me tell you a little more about why I love aperitivo:
What is Aperitivo?
The idea of having an aperitivo is about preparing yourself for dinner – to stimulate or whet your appetite. It’s a tradition that we think began around the late 18th Century. Since then, it has evolved into Italian life seamlessly. I often think it has done so because it suits our lifestyle so perfectly – it is inextricably linked to spending time with our nearest and dearest, and enjoying good quality food and drink. All of these things are very important to the Italian soul.
Italians will think about having an aperitivo around 6pm onwards. When we finish work for the day, our tradition is to sit with a drink during those two hours or so before dinner – and relax. The Italian aperitivo will usually include a glass of wine, or a cocktail – along with some light snacks. For most of us, it will have been some time since lunch, and many of us will not sit down for our main meal until around 8pm.
Aperitivo in Rome
Going to an aperitivo bar here in Rome is an experience that you must not miss during your visit to Rome. Why? Well, it is here you will do as Romans do – as that old saying goes. You’ll experience the real Rome and a little of our culture. I love the art of aperitivo here because it is all about getting the opportunity to be with my friends and family – and enjoying the atmosphere. Find yourself a good aperitivo bar in Rome, and indulge yourself. You’ll be socializing the Italian way and I guarantee you’ll be in good company.
Rome: Traditional Aperitivo
In Rome, the aperitivo tradition is particularly strong. Rome takes aperitivo so seriously, that the food element of the ritual has become more and more sophisticated. So much so, you could assume it’s competing with the meal that traditionally comes after. For instance – in Rome, order the classic aperitivo drink – a spritz with Prosecco and Campari or Aperol, or a cocktail like the Americano or Negroni. Then, enjoy anything from arancini, pizza and bruschetta variations, pasta salads, salumi (cured meats), local cheese or cooked potato chips. At the top end aperitivo bars, you might even find veal, oysters and hot pasta on offer. It’s moved on quite a lot from years ago when local bars offered wine or spritz and some chips, nuts and olives.
Rome has a growing and well-developed aperitivo scene – with many excellent establishments offering you a wonderful aperitivo – for a fixed price. One of the most famous aperitivo bars is Freni e Frizioni – an old car repair shop in Trastevere. ‘Gusto in Campo Marzio and La Zanzara – near the Vatican – are also a very popular choice too. To be honest, you will find some excellent bars all over the city where you can raise a glass to Antonio Benedetto Carpano – the creator of Vermouth and the aperitivo concept. Why not try our Hop On, Hop Off panoramic tour of Rome, perhaps in the late afternoon, and then reward yourself by hoping off for an aperitivo when you finish the tour. A perfect way to finish your day!
When you visit Rome, I know you will have a beautiful experience. By embracing the art of aperitivo – your stay will be enhanced even more. Romans and Italians love the aperitivo tradition – and you will too when you visit Rome Please do visit the Gray Line I love Rome website for information on how we can help you explore our city.