Still in Milan…The Aperitivo is a free evening buffet that you can help yourself to when you buy a drink, it can range from a few nuts and crisps to something abundant and luxurious.
The aperitivo is one of the more civilized habits of north Italy, and it really underlines the difference between Italians and the Brits. It simply could not exist back home, as we (the brits) would graze the table clean within 15 minutes of it having been set out. Why is this? is it because the Italians simply have more self restraint when it comes to a bar/alcohol environment, that they frequently go out for just one drink while we tend to skip dinner (unless there is free food!) in order to drink the bar dry? I know that i missed pub culture when i lived here in Italy for years, our UK bars tend to be relatively democratic cross-sections of society, but i never missed that drunken abandon and undercurrent of violence that coexists with our egalitarian drinking culture.