Take Away Everything, But Not My Aperitivo

October 2023
Words by Nazareno Chimienti - Vexo/Forma

What makes a good night out in Italy, and why it always starts with an aperitivo.

If there is one thing Italians cannot give up, it is the aperitivo.

A tradition shared from northern to southern Italy, since the time of the ancient Romans, everyone shares in the tradition – from Milan to Palermo, crossing the streets of the Bel Paese – with each neighbourhood a different nuance.

Technically, an aperitivo is an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink that you have before meals.  The term derives from the Latin ‘aperitivus’, which suggests that: with a sip we can go back in time to the sumptuous Roman banquets, laden with food and drink, and toast to fun.

The iconic Spritz is the king of the aperitif. Regenerating, refreshing, thirst quenching. Made by mixing prosecco, bitters and soda, it is garnished with a slice of orange or lemon and served over ice.

But if in front of a bar you hear "shall we have an aperitif?" you need to know that something more than just a drink is being proposed.

The aperitivo is a moment of total relaxation - of "dolce far niente" - in which to enjoy Italian delicacies, and above all, an opportunity to connect with friends, lovers and even strangers. It is an authentic experience.

The aperitivo in Italy is more than just a break for a drink and a snack. It is a celebration of local culture, sociability and cuisine. With each city comes its own unique style, they all share a love of good company and good food. Alla Salute!

Stefano Siggillino, Artist

Where are you from?

I was born in Matera, but I lived in Milan and Athens for many years, then I came back to my beloved ‘città dei sassi’ (city of stones).

What is your get ready ritual?

Before each night I take a shower that lasts the time of two songs shouted at the top of my lungs, making the neighbourhood wake up: Dream Baby Dream by Suicide and SOS by Abba. Then I search for the right outfit and I’m ready to unleash the night.

Walk us through a typical night out in Matera, start to finish?

On beautiful, hot summer days, sunsets at Belvedere della Murgia Materana, dinner exclusively at Falco Grillaio or at Mario, spots where we’ve hung out since we were kids.

What is your favourite indpendent venue in Matera?

The one I go to the most is bar Area 8, one of the few spots where there are cool DJ sets and live music. I’ve played music here many times, it’s like home.

Luana Petrullo, Photographer

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Potenza, but I lived in Lazio for six years.

What is your ‘get ready’ ritual?

Rosalia is my background music, a good dose of flamenco in my ears, half an hour admiring my closet with a thousand garments only to always choose my usual low-waisted jeans. After taking a few pre-night photos with a good sunset behind I can finally leave the house.

Walk us through a typical night in Matera, start to finish? I’ve been living in Matera for just a few months. My typical night is an aperitivo with friends in the city centre with a view of the stone walls. Between spritz, olives and good company we’ll wait for dinner and then we’ll move to other venues to eat some traditional food. We’ll finish the night at Belvedere.

Best song to end an all-nighter?

I play a lot flamenco and every genre of spanish music. Lately my nights end with Eslabon Armado Peso Pluma - Ella Baila Sola.

Drissou Issiaka Valerio, Content Creator

Where are you from?

I am from Gioia del colle in the province of Bari, but I was born in Acquaviva delle Fonti.

What is your ‘get ready’ ritual?

Before I go out for a night out, I spend most of my time thinking about what I should wear, trying to predict the vibe of the night and, of course, the weather. Because of this, I am always late for dates.

You have the aux in a cab, what do you play?

Lately I would put on something by Aiello - Aspettiamo Mattina, or Libero.