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The aperitivo: One of Italy’s best exports

Legend has it that the famed Greek physician Hippocrates discovered that when one of his patients suffered from a lack of appetite, a few sips of a bitter concoction made with wine and herbs would open even the most closed stomachs. While this fact would make the ancient medic one of history’s oldest mixologists, it also provides the first evidence of what would later become a beloved Italian tradition, the aperitivo. From the Latin aperitivus, “to open”, it describes succinctly a fantastic idea put into practice by Italians everywhere when the sun sets: to have a drink while you nibble on something (or gorge on a buffet, depending on your choice of place) and start your engines for dinner a little bit later.
There seems to be a consensus that this tradition begins at its earnest in Turin, around the last quarter of the XIX century. It was there that the vermouth was born, becoming so popular that it became the Court’s official aperitivo. The custom spread and of course, it also reached Rome. Nowadays, you have plenty of places to choose from when you come here, and different styles of aperitivo to enjoy. Here’s just a few you might like, especially in these warmer summer months.

Keep it local at the Oasi della Birra

We haven’t been coy about our love of Testaccio. Definitely one of the best places to eat or drink in the whole city, it also sports quite a few great spots for an aperitivo. The Oasi della Birra is one of them. A fantastic wine and beer shop, it also provides you with the chance to cool off after a long walk under the Roman sun with a great buffet filled with different cold cuts, veggie dishes and more. The list of beers is almost overwhelming, but the staff is extremely helpful. The best part of the Oasi is that you’ll feel like a local watching people pass by the square in front of the shop while you sip on a tasty rosso and wonder how you can export the aperitivo to your home town.
You can find the Oasi della Birra at Piazza Testaccio 38/41.

Take a trip to the 60’s at the Gatsby Cafè

The Esquilino neighborhood is home to some of Rome’s most beautiful churches, arguably its most colorful market and a few curious spots (like the mysterious Magic Door). Needless to say, more than worth your curiosity and interest. But should you be in need of further encouragement, we can give you another reason: the Gatsby Cafè. Decorated in true 60’s fashion, you’ll be expecting some star from Italy’s golden age of film to walk through its doors and drink a Negroni at the bar. Here the aperitivo is classic in its quantity but innovative in its content, and usually varies. Expect to be surprised with some twist on some old recipe or an unusual but effective combination of flavors. You’ll find the same fun eclecticism on the cocktail list. Put on your flat cap and head out there!
The Gatsby Cafè is found at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 106.

Find a hidden jewel of the Trastevere at Alembic Ak Bar

No one will argue that the Trastevere is among the most popular rioni to enjoy a night out. And while its most bustling area is found around the ancient basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, we invite you to head in the opposite direction towards the Piazza in Piscinula and enjoy an artistic aperitivo at the Alembic # Ak Bar. Host to artistic events of different sorts, every time you go there, there’ll be something new to see. It has a very unique vintage atmosphere and a great barman that will prepare that spritz you’ll be longing to drink once you sit on a dreamy lounge chair.
Alembic # Ak Bar can be found at Piazza in Piscinula 51, in the Trastevere neighborhood.

The Roman summer is truly hot, but in the best of ways. It’s an amazing time to travel to our city and enjoy all it has to offer. Don’t wait any longer and start planning your trip! Get in touch with us and let us help plan the experience of a lifetime.