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How to Experience Aperitivo in Milan

How to Experience Aperitivo in Milan

The concept of aperitivo has become more common in Italy’s big cities in recent years, but not everyone really understands what it means to have a pre- or post-meal aperitif. Read on to discover how to experience this dining tradition in Milan.

Things to Know

Strictly speaking, the term aperitivo refers to any alcoholic beverage consumed before eating a meal and meant to trigger one's appetite. In practice, however, it typically means the pre-dinner ritual of a bar or restaurant serving an assortment of food that patrons get for free with the purchase of a drink.

It may sound like any old happy hour, but that's not quite the same thing. In Italy, drinks aren’t cheaper during aperitivo—in fact, they can be a little more expensive than normal—and the buffet is free. While it's easy (and totally acceptable) for diners to make a meal of happy hour in some countries, you're not supposed to stuff yourself at aperitivo in Italy. It’s meant to serve as a light snack and drink before dinner, and one of the best places in which to experience the tradition is Milan, a city that prides itself on its cocktail culture.

How to Go

Be on the lookout for bars and restaurants setting up for the evening (with lots of sidewalk tables in nicer weather) in popular neighborhoods such as Nagigli just south of the city center and the classy Brera district near the Duomo. Browse on your own or book an aperitivo tour to make sure you're getting the best possible experience.

Head out on an evening walking tour to scope out the possibilities and get recommendations from your guide, or choose a tour that specifically includes an aperitivo stop. It's even possible to relax over an aperitivo in the villa vineyard that was once owned and cultivated by Leonardo da Vinci himself.

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2 Tours and Activities

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Milan Luxury Spa Evening with Aperitivo

Milan Luxury Spa Evening with Aperitivo

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Soothe your body and soul with an evening at the spa in Milan, followed by an Italian-style ‘aperitivo.’ Check into QC Termemilano to soak in one of the warm-water pools, detox in one of the saunas, or book an essential-oils massage. When you’re completely relaxed, enjoy an aperitivo—a drink and buffet of light snacks—just like the Italians do. Rejuvenated and re-energized, you are ready to enjoy a night on the town in Milan.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$54.30
From
$54.30

2-Hour Milan By Night Walking Tour

2-Hour Milan By Night Walking Tour

Explore the sights of the Lombardy capital with this 2-hour walking tour of Milan's city center by night. Enjoy an aperitivo like the locals do before seeing illuminated monuments of the city.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$223.10
per group
From
$223.10
per group