Tu Vuò Fà l’Apericano? Posted by Bridgette on Jul 9, 2019 in Culture, Food, Italian Language, Travel, Vocabulary
Ciao a tutti! Per cominciare: un’introduzione.
Mi chiamo Bridgette, I am the new Italian blogger for Transparent Language! Piacere!
To begin, I would like to write about my recent trip to Verona, Veneto; La citta dell’amore e l’aperitivo. You may have heard of Verona, as it is the setting of the Shakespeare love story Romeo e Giulietta. Tourists gather outside il balcone di Giulietta, la tomba di Giulietta, e la casa di Romeo daily, perhaps hoping to be inspired by the once love-sick teenagers.
I was no exception, yet my view was not as idyllic, as hundreds of others had gathered around, sognando ad occhi aperti, or daydreaming. You see, the region of Veneto, with Venice as its capital, is no stranger to the current hotly debated issues of “overtourism;” which in 2018 was one of the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year. It is defined as an alarming increase in the number of visitors to famous destinations, at times harming the area and disrupting the lives of locals. I could not have imagined being a local and trying to make it home through the crowd that day!
In an attempt to get away from the crowds, or la folla, I decided to find love elsewhere. This led me to what many tourists perhaps are too busy to realize… l’amore per lo spritz e per l’aperitivo.
Che cos’é l’aperitivo? Molti italiani direbbero uno stile di vita. Quite simply: a way of life.
L’aperitivo is not simply the American idea of “happy hour.” You will not find bars advertising discounted drinks during this time, but rather it is a way to open up your palate before dinner, socialize, and stuzzicare, or to nibble. Depending on the bar, you may be offered chips, small sandwiches, cheese, and meats to enjoy before dinner.
In some parts of Italy, you may also find apericena. The word aperitivo comes from the word aperto, or open, and cena, meaning dinner. Combining these words leads to something magico… a sort of “buffet” that comes with the purchase of a drink. You will see anything from bruschetta, pizza, risotto, pasta, meats, cheeses, and vegetables. It is definitely something more than just stuzzicare, and really constitutes as a light supper. Many times I have enjoyed apericena and been too full for anything else.
Adesso, parliamo di bere. Specifically, the drink you should always order during aperitivo. Lo spritz. Spritz is a mix of prosecco, Campari or Aperol, soda water, ice and an orange wedge. Both Campari and Aperol are herb-based liquors with an orange flavor. Campari spritz is more common in Rome, while the Aperol spritz is more common in the north.
So what is so special about aperitivo in Verona? Although it is everywhere in Italy, the tradition originated from the region of Veneto and the custom of mixing white wine and soda since the Napoleonic wars of 1805. Given the origins, I would argue that the best Aperol spritz comes from Veneto. Thus when I was in Verona, I was eager to follow my heart and find love in l’aperitivo e lo spritz.
Consiglio a tutti, travel to Verona and find more than the traditional love story between two teenagers. Drink and eat like a local, relax, chiacchierare con amici, and fall in love with the Italian way of life: l’Aperitivo in stile veneto. Make sure to fare un brindisi (a toast) while overlooking the gorgeous Roman city, too, preferably during un tramonto, a sunset. (But also, do it during the off season to help curb Italy’s problem of overtourism!)
Allora, che ne pensate… “Tu vuò fà l’apericano?”