If you don’t know yet what “fare un aperitivo” means, once in Italy it’ll take only a short while to discover this Italian habit.
At the beginning fare l’aperitivo meant drinking a low alcohol strength drink, such as prosecco (an Italian sparkling white wine), together with salted biscuits and crisps in order to “open” (it. “aprire”), prepare the stomach for dinner.
Today in Italy the “aperitivo alla milanese” (Milan-style aperitif) is very common: from 7 to 9 pm in many bars you can buy a drink and help yourself at the free buffet, comprising every kind of food. The result: many Italians use the aperitivo to have a cheap dinner, paying only 10-15 euros.
As with all the low-cost things, the the quality of the aperitivo is not always excellent. Romit suggests choosing bars where the buffet provides vegetables, pastries, pasta, rice or cous cous, rather than sandwiches and ready-made food.
The most popular drink for an aperitif today is the spritz, born in the North-East of Italy: a wine-based cocktail prepared with prosecco wine, a dash of some bitter liqueur and sparkling mineral water. Usually there are two types of spritz, depending on the bitter liqueur you choose: Aperol spritz is slightly sweet, while Campari spritz is more sour.
Attention! You just pay for the drink – the buffet is for free!