L’ Aperitivo… what is it really? Yes, you might look it up in the dictionary and find the expressions ‘aperitif’ or ‘happy hour’ to translate it. But that to us seems a little bit reductive, because none of them actually include the cultural and social aspects of how aperitivo really is in Italy.
The origins of the aperitivo are not clear, but surely we know it started in the north of Italy in the 1920s. The word Aperitivo itself comes from the Latin verb ‘aperire’, which means ‘to open’… to open what exactly, you might be thinking. Well… to open your stomach, not literally of course, more in the sense of stimulating your appetite and taste buds before a meal.
As we say in Italian, l’appetito vien mangiando (the appetite comes when eating), the concept of the aperitivo is exactly that, to start eating something small to prepare your stomach for the bigger meal (usually dinner).
The concept is simple: you’ve been at work all day and before going home you’d like to unwind a little bit, so you call up a few friends (or maybe just gather some of your colleagues) and decide to go for an aperitivo all together
At the bar you’ll order a drink, usually something bitter, the most popular are Campari, Aperol, Aperol Spritz, Negroni, or a simple glass of prosecco, red or white wine will do – and with the drink you’ll be given a few small bites to nibble on while you’re all sat down and chatting. It’s a social event, a way to hang out with friends, quintessentially connected to our idea of Dolce Vita, freedom of spirit and love for fine things in life.
So let’s go for an aperitivo, shall we?