By Marc Justin in Florence—
Since arriving in Tuscany, you’ve not only developed a palate for fine wine, but also a handsome routine where every night you like to indulge in an aperitivo. The only problem is that it’s been putting a real dent in your budget.
So here’s what to do to keep the coins in your pocket and the wine in your tummy.
Squat a Piazza
If you’re not picky on location but like to be around people, here’s what I suggest. Make your way to one of the piazzas, like Piazza Sant’Ambrogio and find yourself a seat on the steps of the church or any of the benches.
Next, resist the temptation to drink at one of the surrounding establishments. They will be overpriced and lousy. Instead, walk the neighboring streets until you find a little store (some call it a “kiosk”) that sells cheap beer and wine. There are lots of these in Florence and lots of people do it.
Purchase a beverage, return to the piazza, soak up the ambiance and toast the stars.
Fun bars for aperitivo
If you are not big fan of “piazza guzzle” here’s a few bars that are fun. First try “Volume” in Piazza Santo Spirito with its vintage/museum deco. Or the nearby La Cité (still my personal favorite) with its book-covered walls and small music stage.
Or maybe it’s food you want with your aperitivo, so try Kitsch Bar where you’ll have access to a full buffet of Italian specialties during aperitivo time.
If pubs are more your thing, try The Lion’s Fountain Pub, which is usually overflowing onto the square.
Have you heard of Vin Santo? If not you need to try it. Often made in Tuscany’s very own Chianti Region, Vin Santo is a strong sweet wine served either before or after dinner (or at any other time of the day that you see fit). You can pick it up anywhere that sells wine, but my suggestion would be one of the larger supermarkets where it is definitely cheaper (Coop, Esselunga, etc.).
And if you are completely new to the Italian drinking scene, consider trying an ice cold shot of Limoncello, a lemon liqueur from the south or a shot of Grappa, Italy’s answer to Tequila.