italian aperitivo

The perfect Italian aperitivo. Let’s discover the best in Rome.

The aperitivo in Italy is now an irreplaceable ritual. A moment of relax and carefreeness. Let’s see together what are the ingredients for the perfect Italian aperitivo and discover the best aperitivo in Rome.

The origins of the Italian aperitivo

We have to thank the ancient Greeks if today we can enjoy a fantastic aperitivo. The word Aperitivo derives from the Latin aperitivus which means to open. In fact, the aperitivo prepares the stomach, stimulating the appetite for the next meal. In the 5th century BC, the Greek doctor Hippocrates starts prescribing a medicine to his patients suffering from loss of appetite, calling it vinum hippocraticum, or Hippocrassus. It is a sweet white wine with macerated dittany flowers and absinthe. The Romans add rosemary and sage to reduce the bitter taste. Then, during the Middle Ages, people started to add spices too, such as cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. It’s the start of the perfect Italian aperitivo.

aperitivo's origin

The Italian aperitivo has ancient roots and is a ritual handed down over time

Turin, home of the Italian aperitivo

Turin, Florence and Venice are the three most important centers for the preparation of Hippocratic liqueurs and wines, during the Middle Ages. But Turin remains the most fundamental city. Already knowing the appetite-stimulating properties of bitter drinks, in 1700 in Turin they started the aperitivo most similar to the one we have today. In fact, in a liquor and wine shop, Mr. Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented Vermouth, a wine flavored with quinine cordial, to replace Hippocrassus. This becomes the favorite drink at court. Later in Milan, in 1900, the ritual of the actual Italian aperitivo is officially born. We are talking about the famous ritual of drinking and snacking some appetizers.


Turin is the home of the Italian aperitivo

The ingredients for the perfect Italian aperitivo

It is in Milan where they signed the Manifesto of the Aperitivo. This is a decalogue to follow for the perfect Italian aperitivo. If in the past drinks such as Whiskey and Long Island were the favourites, over the years South American cocktails, such as Tequila or Margarita, have also taken hold. However, the favorite aperitivo among Italians, in addition to the much-loved glass of wine, is the famous Spritz. A long drink based on Prosecco, mixed with Aperol or Campari. It is essential that the perfect aperitivo is not a substitute for the main meal, whether lunch or dinner. Furthermore, the combination of drinks and food must enhance the ingredients, especially the Mediterranean Diet and made in Italy products. Let’s see together what the perfect ingredients are and the best aperitivo in Rome.

Pizza and Focaccia

They can never be missing. The plus of pizza and focaccia is that you can garnish them with a wide choice of 100% made in Italy products. Burrata and anchovies, mortadella and pistachio, pesto and sun dried tomatoes or even potatoes and sausage. The important thing is to always obtain small pieces of pizza or focaccia, so as to respect the dimensions of the perfect snacks for the aperitivo, that needs to be small.


Focaccia is one of the perfect ingredients for the aperitivo


In Italy we can boast countless different types of Taralli. Campania region alone has 11 different types. Apulia region has 5. Neapolitan style Taralli, called sugna e pepe, were created around 1700, using scraps of bread dough with added lard, a lot of black pepper and almonds. Apulian style Taralli are older. According to the legend, in the 1400 a mother, in times of famine, decided to use everything she had in her pantry to feed her children. These Taralli do not contain lard but olive oil and are first boiled and then baked. They contain also fennel seeds, dried tomatoes or red onions. The Neapolitan ones, on the other hand, are baked directly and are larger than the Apulian ones.

neapolitan taralli

Neapolitan Taralli also called sugna e pepe, lard and pepper


In Italy we have more than 500 varieties of olives but not all are suitable for the table. In fact, many are destined for the production of olive oil. The olives suitable for the aperitivo are certainly the green ones. Starting from Ascolana, which is tender, pulpy and perfect even in brine. Then the Nocellara or the Bella di Cerignola, symbols of Made in Italy. Among the black, the queen of olives is certainly the Taggiasca, typical of Liguria region, but used throughout Italy. With an intense but also versatile flavour. Also with a bitter and intense flavor are the Leccino olives, slightly spicy and excellent for the aperitivo. Gaeta olives, on the other hand, are slightly more acidic with hints of vinegar.


Olives are the perfect snack to accompany the cocktail

Where to have the best aperitivo in Rome

Ercoli Trastevere (Via Zanazzo Giggi, 4) – One of the three locations is this one in Trastevere. Here it is possible to have a quality aperitivo, with cured meats, cheeses and tasty appetizers. The choice of wines is very wide and the restaurant offers a trendy and well-organised environment.

Freni e Frizioni (Via del Politeama, 4) – Directly from Turin, the aperitivo par excellence. It was born 18 years ago in the same building that in the past was a mechanical workshop. The ritual of the Turin aperitivo in Rome starts with them. Not with just chips and peanuts, but with real dishes to accompany the drink.

Freni e Frizioni Draft (Via Sforza Pallavicini, 12) – Son of the first venue, Draft was created to offer customers the experience of a cocktail on tap. Here, together with a draft drink or beer you can share an exceptional pizza.

Necci since 1924 (Via Fanfulla da Lodi, 68) – Historic place in the most revalued neighborhood of Rome, Pigneto district. An aperitivo with cutting boards and small saucers, and a vast choice of labels. The dehors is a well-kept garden that forms a corner and also allows you to eat outside.

Beppe e i suoi formaggi (Via di S. Maria del Pianto, 9a) – Small place located in the beautiful Jewish ghetto of Rome. Their strong point is obviously the cheeses they produce. The wines are also natural and the beers are craft.


Necci’s garden since 1924, in Pigneto district, the perfect place for a perfect aperitivo

The most beautiful terraces in Rome for the aperitivo

Divinity Terrace (Via di S. Chiara, 4a) – This is the terrace of The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel. There is both a restaurant and a lounge bar where you can have an elegant aperitivo, with one of the most beautiful views in Rome.

Zuma (Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 48) – Terrace of the iconic Palazzo Fendi. Fusion aperitivo and wonderful view.

Aroma Bistrò (Via Labicana, 125) – Lounge bar of the luxurious Hotel Palazzo Manfredi. Famous for the unique view of the Colosseum and Oppio Hill. The drink is accompanied by finger food and fresh fish.

American Bar Hotel Forum (Via Tor de’ Conti, 25) – Small terrace on the top floor of the hotel of the same name. Spectacular views of Piazza Venezia and the Roman Forum.

Bramante Terrace (Largo Febo,2) – The terrace of the Hotel Raphael overlooks Bramante’s masterpiece, the Cloister of the Church of Santa Maria della Pace.


The Bramante Terrace, at the elegant Hotel Raphael.

Come with and try one of our wonderful walking food and wine tour!