L'ora dell'aperitivo, the time for an aperitivo, is the Italian version of our happy hour. I believe, however, that the aperitivo ritual has been an Italian tradition for a much longer time since drinks like Campari and Aperol have been very popular in the bel paese for decades.

Friends often meet at a local bar for an aperitivo (fig. 1) before going to dinner. A past trip to Rome allowed me to discover a wonderful restaurant, Tira e Molla, filled with vintage Campari-themed artefacts (figs. 2-4). Of course, it had the perfect Campari and soda!

On a visit to the Amalfi coast, a very sunny and vibrant bar (fig. 5) was the place to be for an excellent Negroni (Aperol or Campari plus gin, sweet vermouth, and soda over plenty of ice and an orange peel). While visiting Calcata, a quaint caffetteria (fig. 6), offered late afternoon cups of hot chocolate or an aperitivo.

The Tuscan countryside is filled with small villages where local wines can be tasted and purchased at the many enoteca shops (figs. 7,8), truly a paradise for wine lovers. This could certainly be a very viable and pleasant alternative (figs. 9,10) to the classic aperitivi, depending on your location.

Of course, dinner comes afterwards. At times, an old fashion ostaria like the one found in Spoleto (fig. 11) could be the perfect place, as much as a very trendy place in Viterbo (fig. 12) or a simpler restaurant along the via Salaria (fig. 13). Do not forget a shot of a favorite digestivo before going to bed (fig. 14). Buona notte!

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