There's plenty we can all learn from Italian culture – not least the civilised ritual of l’aperitivo. A distinctively Mediterranean custom that takes place before an evening meal, aperitivo essentially means “sitting down for a stiff drink and some choice nibbles with good company before a nice late supper.”
Derived from the Latin verb aperire, meaning “to open”, strictly speaking, the purpose of aperitivo is to stimulate the appetite. That’s why Italian aperitifs are far more bitter in taste compared to the sweeter pre-dinner drinks enjoyed around the rest of the continent. The bitter flavours are said to engage the liver, which enhances digestion – good news if you’re hoping to swerve those shattering holiday hangovers.
But in truth, the ritual has more to do with making time at the end of the day to refresh, reboot, and catch up with pals. So much than any flimsy, cheap happy hour, l’aperitivo offers an opportunity to take stock, reaffirm important personal connections, and shed the worries of the day over great food and cheerfully tipsy banter. Here are the best places around Genoa where you can settle in for an aperitivo like a true Italian.
PIAZZA DELLE ERBE
This quintessential Genovese square is overlooked by a romantic jumble of architectural styles and elegant sculptures. Just the place to sink a cold, dry glass of wine and tuck into a ‘frisceau’, a savoury Genoese pancake .
Accessed through narrow alleyways in the heart of the Old Town, this little haven is an idyllic spot to pause for a plate of focaccia and tall glass of fizz, as you ponder which nearby nightspot to hit up later on.
Genoa’s spiritual heart is its port – so where better to enjoy a couple of cheeky sundown Camparis and shoot the breeze with new friends over traditional Genoese bar snacks like fried squid and anchovies, or bruschetta laden with freshly-made pesto.
Brought to you by Comune di Genova