The word "aperitivo" is derived from the Latin word "aperire", meaning "to open".
Florence – Fact Check

The sacred hours spent snacking away

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Florence – Fact Check The sacred hours spent snacking away

Few rites are as traditionally Florentine as the aperitivo: an elaborate ritual of eating and drinking during the hours between lunch and dinner.

Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton Travel Writer

At one of her favorite wine bars, Le Volpi e l'Uva – nestled in a Renaissance square by the Ponte Vecchio – food blogger and longtime Florence expat Coral Lelah introduces me to the proprietor, Emilio, who takes great pride in his establishment's 20-year history of hand-picking its rotating menu from villages all over Italy: Calabrian spicy sausage, Tuscan cheese, all painstakingly matched with wine.

“This one would go with a gorgonzola,” Coral says to herself, as Emilio pours out sharp Fracciacorta into our glasses.

Emilio seizes on the suggestion. “I approve,” he promptly informs us, before vanishing inside. He has already presented us with several platters of crostini – included with the price of the wine – but he would be remiss in neglecting this particular pairing. He emerges with a wood platter, almost too small for the cornucopia of soft cheeses that threaten to teeter off the plate.

Coral explains that salty and fatty flavours are best for aperitivo: they perfectly complement the tartness of a good sparkling wine.

Across the Florence square, two girls are on their fifth or sixth glass of prosecco. They pour out more; they collapse into hysterics. Emilio gives them a look. They look down for a moment, flushed with embarrassment and wine. Then they start giggling again.

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