Italians are known to have dinner quite late in the evening. To tide them over, they will often have a pre-dinner drink, known as an “Aperitivo”.
Common drinks enjoyed as an aperitivo include Prosecco, wine or – particularly in the north of Italy – a Spritz.
As alcohol is typically not consumed in Italy without being accompanied by something to eat, drinks are normally served with something to nibble on. This may range from some olives and crisps to a more substantial spread of traditional Italian foods.
The lighter snacks are often bought to the table and included in the price of the drink. Where a greater range of foods are on offer, there may be a smörgåsbord set up.
It is becoming quite common to see advertisements for “Apericena”, which is a cross between an aperitivo and dinner. With ‘cena’ being the Italian word for dinner, the word Apericena is thus kind of like what brunch is to breakfast and lunch. In this case, the cost of the first drink may be slightly higher.
If you have had a big lunch, a good aperitivo or an apericena is a great way to have a light snack in the evening and skip dinner – not to mention offering a great opportunity to mingle with the locals.
Local coffee shops will usually offer aperitivo from around 7-9pm, after which most locals will be off enjoying dinner. During the warmer months, it is lovely to find a coffee shop or bar in a picturesque piazza where you can sit and enjoy a side of people-watching with your aperitivo.
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