The Italian pace of life is one of most beloved aspects of its culture that visitors admire and enjoy. The hour of the aperitivo is the quintessence of the dolce vita—a break in the day to decompress and relax with a glass of wine or cocktail, a light bite to eat, and good company. On This Venice Aperitivo Tour, with the areas of the Rialto and Cannaregio as our backdrop, we’ll look at how Venetians interpret the art of the aperitivo. Our palates will be colored with the delicate pink of the classic Bellini cocktail, a pale shimmering gold of sparkling Prosecco, and the varied jeweled tones of the Spritz. Our docent, a certified Italian sommelier, will discuss the history behind each of the aperitifs we taste together, along with the secrets to their preparation.
Venice Aperitivo Tour
Our Venice Aperitivo Tour begins in the heart of the city, near the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, and Rialto Market. We’ll ascend to a nearby rooftop terrace, where we’ll get a lay of the land and enjoy sweeping views of our surroundings before heading downstairs to a recently renovated interior courtyard to commence our aperitivo. Here, we’ll sip bellinis prepared with real peach juice—one of only two bars in the city to do this—alongside spiedini di baccalà mantecato (cod skewers) and polenta. As we’re basking in the refined ambiance of our surroundings, our docent will present competing theories for the origins of the bellini as well as the importance of our appetizers in the contemporary culinary landscape.
A Prosecco and Panino
Moving on from our luxurious first stop, we’ll amble across the Rialto Bridge to a nearby bar tucked away in the maze of alleyways. A favorite of Venetians, this bacaro—inexpensive taverns frequented by locals—will showcase a more authentic side of the city’s aperitivo traditions. Here, as we rub shoulders with residents, we’ll sip a glass of prosecco or other local wine—referred to in the city as ombra, or “shade,”—and nibble on a panino while listening to our docent explain the tradition of cicchetti—Venetian snacks enjoyed during aperitivo hour.
Spritz at Sunset
Moving on to the final stop on our Venice Aperitivo Tour, a scenic restaurant with tables overlooking the Grand Canal, we’ll taste what may be Italy’s most hallowed aperitivo tradition: the spritz. As we enjoy a delectable charcuterie plate, we’ll learn about the history of the spritz before sampling four different varieties of amari—the bitter liqueur that imbues the drink with its vibrant hue—in a spritz flight. We’ll compare and contrast the different flavors dancing on our tongues while watching the sun slowly set, getting a nuanced explanation of the similarities and differences between the amaros before deciding which flavor combination is our favorite. Once we’ve finished our flight, we’ll reflect back on everything we’ve tasted, from a traditional ombra at a local bacaro, to our variety of sunset spritzes.
This Venice Aperitivo Tour will provide us with a solid overview of this beloved Italian tradition, and specifically what makes the Venetian aperitivo distinct. We’ll taste classic cicchetti treats and sip some of the city’s best beverages, leaving sated and with a list of some of the city’s best spots for enjoying a drink and snacks during the twilight hours.
This walk takes place around dinner time. Will the tastings be enough for dinner?
The various tastings on the walk are significant and can be considered a replacement for a light dinner. If you are looking for a more formal meal, you may enjoy our seminar Annotated Dinner: An Evening of Venetian Cuisine.
I have dietary restrictions. Can I take this tour?
We will do our best to accommodate you if you are on a group tour by ordering appropriate items. Taking a private tour would allow us to tailor even more fully to your needs. Please note that if you have severe allergies we cannot guarantee that the foods prepared in restaurant kitchens will not be subject to cross-contamination.