Aperitivo in Milan: a view from a glass

Aperitivo in Milan
Aperitivo in Milan

Milano, the most cosmopolitan city in Italy, has invented a new trend: the famous aperitivo also known as the apericena, which is a mix of the aperitivo and dinner and it has become a “must” in the city.

This speciality includes a buffet with every kind of food or drinks: rise, pasta, cous cous, vegetables, fish or meat and so on… a special mix, that sometimes can be also thematic.

Italian Aperitivo - photo by desmaakvanitalie.nl/pinterest
Italian Aperitivo – photo by desmaakvanitalie.nl/pinterest

Certainly, locations are particular and some of them are considered part of the history of the city.

The Magenta bar, for example, is a sort of icon: many different people go there, gentlemen but also university’s students; going to the Magenta bar is a classic moment. It is a symbol of the city, of its belle époque thanks to its déco furniture and its circular bar counter made with silver relieves.

Bar Magenta - photo by 6e20.it/pinterest
Bar Magenta – photo by 6e20.it/pinterest

A personalized aperitivo can be tasted at Gin Rosa bar, in Galleria San Babila very close to the Duomo. It is an historic local, since 1860, but it has renewed itself many times: at the beginning of the ‘900, Luigi Donin decided to personalize the aperitivo with the creation of Mistura Donini, adding the bitter.

Then, in the 1950 the family Marangione, the new owner, invented the famous Gin Rosa, which gives the name to the bar.

Gin Rosa - photo by gin-rosa.it
Gin Rosa – photo by gin-rosa.it

What is it? It is an aperitivo – infused at 25° and made with 32 different ingredients; it can be drunk shacked or as a basis of other drinks such as the the Pink Spritz with Prosecco, or the Rosaito with orange, brown sugar and mint, the Rose Colada ecc..We are waiting  for the next one!


There is also the Cafè Bistrot Savini.

Its history starts in the 1884 when the ancient pub Stocker became the elegant café we know now. The nobles of the city usually went there after the show at the la Scala Theatre and Manzoni Theatre.

Cafè Savini
Cafè Savini

Here, in the wonderful dehor in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or in the interior, which is decorated with fine marble, is possible to taste a special aperitivo but also traditional plates. There is also a food boutique where you can buy typical products of the Italian gastronomy, made by Savini.

You cannot miss the famous Camparino, where the cocktails are made with Campari, of course.

You can find “The American” with Campari, red Vermouth and soda with a slice of orange and lemon; the “Negroni” with Campari, red Cinzano and Gin and, the sophisticated “Campari Orange Passion” made with 1,1/4 of Campari, 1 bar spoon brown sugar, 2 slices of orange, orange juice in a Juice glass with a small cherry.


This bar is an extraordinary example of the Liberty style and the elegance of Milan; it is clear in the furniture decoration, in the counter made by wood, in the steel chandeliers and in the floral decoration.

It opened in 1867 as the restaurant Bottiglieria thanks to Gaspare Campari and only in 1915, it became the bar Camparino. During the ’20s it took the style that characterized it and it is still visible today: the bar has become a symbol of the special locations in Milan.

At the end, we have to move to Brera, where there is the Jamaica bar.

Jamaica Bar - photo by swide.com
Jamaica Bar – photo by swide.com

It opened in 1911 and it was one of the most modern bar in Milan, one of the few bar which had a telephone and café machine to make the expresso. The name came after a little while, thanks to Giulio Confalonieri who was inspired by the “Jamaica Inn Film”, by Alfred Hitchcock.  In the second post war period it became the cafè des artistes, where artists such as Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana met each other, while during the ‘70s  Allen Ginsberg, one of the leader of the Beat Generation in USA was sitting there.

Of course it is a bar that has seen an evolving culture, but also a lot of games of cards: it preserves memories and stories about the city.

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