When travelling around Veneto, the question isn’t so much to Spritz or not to Spritz, but rather, when?
In the wider northeastern region of Italy – the home of Aperol – an Aperol Spritz is a hometown offering; the precious orange apéritif is as commonly encountered as sopressa or tiramisu (both of which also hail from the area). In fact, meeting for an Aperol Spritz is one of the most Venetian of habits, with Aperol Spritzes traditionally consumed all over the Veneto region in traditional bars called ‘bàcaro‘, alongside ‘cicchetti’, bite-sized Italian snacks displayed in cabinets and sold individually. A kind of Venetian Aperitivo, this ritual of drinking and snacking is intrinsic to Venetian life, a social practice for locals for hundreds of years, with the bàcaro either the first stop on an evening of drinking and merriment or a final destination for an apéritif.
A deeply-rooted Venetian tradition; today, young people take their apéritif in the form of a refreshing Aperol Spritz, with a side of salted cod or sardines in saòr, for example. Other such cicchetti classics include vovettto – half a boiled egg dressed with salted anchovies, moéche – local Veneto crab gently fried, artichoke hearts and small, tender boiled octopus called folpetti or masanéte. Basically perfect pairings with the exuberant drink.
From its brotherly beginnings in Padua, Venice’s neighbouring city, to a cultural phenomenon difficult to scale; the drink’s signature standard – fill a wine glass with ice, combine equal parts Prosecco & Aperol, add a splash of soda water, garnish with an orange wedge – is a common element of the ‘Venetian way of life’.
So should you choose to decamp to Veneto in the near distant future (even fleetingly), we recommend our favourite spots to enjoy an Aperol Spritz in Venice and beyond. Amongst the frenzy of Fresco paintings, bobbing gondolas and rising Basilica’s, enjoy a Aperol Spritz in a Palace or sip a sundowner by the water’s edge, and consider one of the following watering holes. It’s also the iconic aperitif’s 100-year birthday, which most definitely calls for a celebratory Aperol Spritz. Cin cin!
When in the birthplace of Aperol, do the drink justice by doing it right. Or rather, how the locals do it. Osteria l’Anfora is a rustic trattoria in Padua which serves up big plates of bigoli – a traditional Venetian pasta – and horse meat – a local delicacy. Wash it down with an Aperol Spritz and say si! Home-cooking for a homecoming.
If a romantic moment is what you’re after, then head to the charming terrace at the Cipriani and savour the breathtaking beauty of St Mark’s Square. Because is there a better way to soak up a Venetian sunset than with an Aperol Spritz in hand?
Cantina Do Mori
When in Venice, do as the Venetian chefs do, and head to the tiny back streets of the Rialto fresh produce market. There you’ll find an array of ‘bacari’ where you can take your Aperol Spritz as the locals do; served with ‘cicchetti’ on tiny bar counters and stools. Our pick? Cantina Do Mori, the oldest bacaro in Venice. Like an old Cinecittà movie set, the beautifully atmospheric bar was founded in 1942 and continues to be a pillar of Venetian hospitality. Say ciao to impresarios Rudi and Gianni and ask for the local specialities.
It seems only fitting that in a town of palatial proportions, you take your Aperol Spritz in a palace at least once. Bar Longhi, housed within The Gritti Palace Hotel, is a paragon of Venetian grandeur, offering breathtaking views of both the Grand Canal and its superb main salon, which features sparkling 18th-century mirrors, an intarsia marble bar and priceless Piero Longhi paintings, the bar’s namesake. An aperitif enjoyed under a twinkling Murano glass chandelier? A sovereign Spritz, indeed.
To mark the centennial milestone, Aperol is staging a series of celebrations internationally throughout its birthday year, using the universal language of art, music and Aperol to bring people together.
But if you aren’t partaking in European sun activities this year, you can still satiate your Spritz cravings and celebrate the wondrous orange elixir locally.
Festivities kick off on down in Australia’s cultural hub, with purveyors of pizza and Aperol Spritz, Baby Pizza, playing host to an exclusive 100 year celebration on July 16. While in Sydney, new Italians on the block, Matteo Downtown, will throw a similar soirée on July 17. And if that wasn’t enough, all Fratelli Fresh venues across NSW will also be getting the Aperol party started during July, the highlight of which is their swish Aperol 100 Years Long Lunch Series on Saturday July 20, where along with your Aperol Spritz you’ll be served an expertly curated Venetian menu (did someone say tiramisu?)
So whether you’re in Padua or Potts Point, you can salute your Aperol Spritz and say a big buon compleanno to our favourite aperitif.