The Italians know how to fill a day with drinking better than anyone.
If you walk down the streets of Rome—or any Italian city for that matter—between 5 and 8 p.m., you’ll see sidewalk cafes bustling with patrons sipping spritzes and nibbling on salty, crunchy snacks. It’s aperitivo time, a pre-dinner tradition throughout the country that pairs low ABV drinks with complimentary bites.
After aperitivi, Italians return home to cook or settle in at restaurants. Wine bottles pop open and vino flows freely. Then, when the dishes are cleared, it’s time for digestivi, dark, bittersweet amari used to aid digestion. After hours of sipping and refilling, it’s finally time to retire to bed and recharge before doing it all again the next day.
Drinking like an Italian is truly an art, but, as they say, practice makes perfect. This guide will help start you on your journey, from the first sip of a spritz to the last drop of grappa.