Every time I get asked to explain what an "aperitivo" is, I must say I panic a little.
So here's some background, what an aperitivo should look like, and top 3 places where to get it in an awesome Italian way while in Rome.
Italians just LOVE to eat and drink, that's no secret at all. So they found ways to do it as often as they can in the most enjoyable way possible.
Even though it is often confused with a simple "happy hour", Italian "aperitivo" is something unique that I honestly haven't found anywhere else in the world.
In simple words, you take something to drink and then start eating and chatting.
So, first of all, why an aperitivo?
Tired of waiting half an hour for you starter to come or to spend 25€ each for a dinner you didn't even like? Aperitivo is the way to go. It's cheap and time-saver, and it gives you the opportunity to spend time with friends without committing to a serious dinner or lunch.
Italians are always in a rush, you may have noticed (no wonder they are the only people in the world to take coffee at bars without bothering to sit down for just five minutes). Aperitivo can last as long as you want: 30 minutes, 1 hour or 3 - it's your call!
The food is simple and fast, sometimes fancy, other times more traditional, but it's always good
. What is more, an aperitivo will never cost more than 15€ (and this usually only happens in fancy, downtown bars), and you'll most likely skip dinner because you're completely full.
What to get
The classic aperitivo starts with a Spritz (traditionally, prosecco wine with a bit of Aperol or Campari, but it has variations), or you can just have a beer - nobody will judge you for that.
Now, get ready to eat: pizza, pizzette, chips, small sandwiches, olives, peanuts, pistachios, bread sticks, croquettes, supplì, and all sorts of cold pasta and rice. It really depends on where you're having your aperitivo, everyone has its own way.
Where to get it in Rome
Now the serious stuff: you're in Rome for a few days and you want to have the aperitivo of your life. Luckily for you, I'm an aperitivo-junkie, and as all junkies, I have my personal top 5:
Piazza Trilussa, 34
My absolute favorite. Craft beers, fancy cocktails, and a lot
of food (hint: don't miss the homemade chips, you'll regret it). Enjoy the beautiful area of Trastevere while sipping your Spritz and eating your mini-supplì before heading to a walk along the Tiber river.
Hint: they also have a restaurant in the case you're still hungry.
2) Vivi Bistrot - Villa Doria Pamphili
Via Vitellia, 102
Enjoy one of the most beautiful and romantic parks in Rome while tasting some of the special cocktails you can find only here. You can also take your vegetarian friend with you: everyday, they have a buffet with tasty, homemade vegetarian dishes. There's no limit on how much you can eat, except for your own stomach.
Hint: they also have a restaurant with an awesome menu, just in case you don't want to miss a Carbonara before returning home.
Via Ostiense, 68
They make their own bread and pizza: do you need anything else? Here you can find freshly baked bread, awesome Roman pizza al taglio, pasta, cous cous, and everything you may imagine in form of carbohydrate. Cocktails are awesome, and you'll be just minutes away from one of the best area of Rome when it comes to night life!
Hint: there is a restaurant, but meh. You can do better than that.
So, when in Rome, have an aperitivo as the Romans do: you don't have any excuse now!