Passeggiata e Aperitivo

My husband and I watch Rick Steves’ reruns faithfully on PBS, particularly those set in Italy or France.  A recent episode was about Siena.  During the episode, Rick talked about both the Passeggiata and the Aperitivo.  These happen to be two of my three favorite Italian pastimes. The third favorite is my multiple morning cappuccini.

First, the Passeggiata.  This is the evening (5-8 PM) ‘stroll’ taken by many Italians in their city centers or along the seashore. 

I remember the first time I saw a wave of people walking in the streets.  It was a Friday afternoon in Florence in February 1995.  We were with friends and the sight was amazing.  I have experienced it many times since and we join in whenever possible.  These strolls are somewhat weather dependent.  But cool/cold weather isn’t a deterrent.  That is what scarves are for 😊!

Here is a link to a great description/article with more information about Passeggiatas. It is common to see people in groups, stopping to visit, have a gelato, or enjoy an Aperitivo (see below).  And true to the article, people do tend to dress up a bit, nothing fancy, just ‘smart casual’.  The Italians have cornered the market on the smart casual look. The people watching during a Passeggiata is second to none! 

For us, the Passeggiata usually results in an Aperitivo or Italian happy hour.

An Aperitivo is a pre-meal drink; the experience of Aperitivo is a cultural ritual. Derived from the Latin aperire, the tradition is meant “to open” the stomach before dining. Accordingly, for centuries Italians have said cheers – cin cin – over drinks and appetizers in the early evening hours between work and dinner.


When we are in Italy, it is a rare day that we DON’T enjoy an Aperitivo!  Wherever we visit, we find a ‘hangout’.  The staff get to know us and the appetizers become more plentiful (and tasty) as the days go on. Potato chips and olives are almost always served with drinks.  But a true Aperitivo has snacks like little pizzas, fries, and tiny bowls of pasta.

On that happy note, we have rescheduled our Italian trip yet again to May 2022. I don’t think either of us can stomach (pardon the pun) yet another cancellation!



4 thoughts on “Passeggiata e Aperitivo

  1. I loved your post! Between 3pm-5pm is our “social “ hour. Sometimes we eat enough food that it takes care of dinner. We do this in Yuma but not at home .


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s