What Italians really enjoy when having an aperitivo at the bar

Gathering with friends for this pre-dinner drinking ritual is becoming increasingly more popular. The aperitivo at the bar is a convivial moment to share in good company and for many Italians, who cherish their early-evening happy hour, it has become a pleasant habit.

Apericena, Happy Hour or Simply Aperitivo?

Sipping on a spritz or a fruity prosecco in the early evening may take different forms, as many as the definitions of this traditional ritual:


  • The apericena, formed by adding cena – dinner – to aperitivo, is a buffet of tasty dishes, sometimes top-quality gastronomy, with evening drinks that has become increasingly trendy.
  • The happy hour is also a relatively recent trend that started at the beginning of this century thanks to the idea of some bar owners who decided to offer special promotions on wines and cocktails at scheduled times from early to late evening.
  • The classic concept of the aperitivo finds its roots dating back to Roman times when people loved to please their palate with alcoholic beverages before their meals. Its stated purpose is to tickle your taste buds to prepare them to taste evening dishes.

We can therefore define the first two as modern variations of the aperitivo and they share the objective of making the most awaited part of the day even more tempting.

Whatever its name, the ritual of the aperitivo undoubtedly attracts Italians and the reasons go far beyond the simple pleasure of sipping a glass of good wine at the bar. First of all, because of the convivial atmosphere hovering in the locales hosting these pre-dinner rituals. The locale is indeed a meeting point selected by the group, where they feel at ease. From the informal bar just outside town to the multi-purpose locale right in the old town, offering more options to spend a pleasant early and late evening, the choice is never by chance. And spending a few hours in a pleasant location, after a hard day at work, is already a valid reason to look forward to the ritual of the aperitivo.

Next is socialisation: Italians are traditionally communicative people who consider interpersonal relationships as a natural extension of themselves and love sharing their time in good company. What’s better than a sip of light wine among friends to celebrate the end of the day properly? A glass in your hands promotes conversation, relationships deepen and people talk about work or plan the night ahead, satisfying the Italian need to share moments with others and finally relax.

Last but not least, you shouldn’t underestimate the fact that drinks are always accompanied by a more or less rich and satisfying buffet. From olives to savoury snacks, passing on to the finest combinations of wine and gastronomy or ethnic dishes, food is always served on all bar counters offering the aperitivo. And we all know that Italians have a reputation for being foodies!

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