Travel to Italy From Home: Enjoy An Apertivo in Milan

Travel to Italy from Home

Are you dreaming of traveling to beautiful destinations again like I am? I don’t know about you, but every morning I wake up concerned for the health and well-being of the world, yet I still yearn for a time when we can all experience each other’s cultures once again. We WILL get there. But until then, let’s travel to Italy from the comfort of home.

On our adventure, we will explore Italian culture through beautiful scenery, history, food, wine, and classic Italian cocktails. In order to help us navigate Italian beverages, allow me to introduce the Sommelier from my favorite Chicago dining spot. Anton Valkov of The Press Room.

Enjoying an Apertivo and Italian Opera in Milan

Our first destination as we travel to Italy from home, is Milan. You will gasp at the sight of The Duomo di Milano, a giant in gothic architecture,  while being star struck by the fashion within The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Teatro Alla Scala, the world renowned opera house is also here in Milan, and what better way to set the mood than through music!

Did you know?  The Apertivo, or apertif (derived from the latin word aperire) is a pre dinner cocktail and a snack meant to “open” the palate.

As you prepare to enjoy your very own Apertivo, I encourage you to watch and listen to Andrea Bocelli’s enchanting vocals.  “Music for Hope: From the Milan Cathedral.”  For the grand finale, Bocceli sings in the front of the Duomo, revealing its sheer greatness in a moment that will no doubt inspire you to say “Bravissimo!”

» Tip:  Want more Italian Opera?  “Italian Opera Class” is a playlist on Spotify that highlights Arias from Pavarotti to Callas.  Close your eyes for a moment, and you may just find yourself in front of the Trevi Fountain.

The Apertivo: An Italian Tradition You Must Experience Immediately 

I enjoyed my very first Apertivo in The Navigli, or the canals, with my friend Nikola. This was my very first time in Italy, and he so kindly agreed to show me the dining scene of Milan. I miss traveling mostly for the people I spend time with along the way. You never do forget the meals you share together.

The Navigli is a bustling area of restaurants, and unique shops, and is the perfect place to unwind as the sun goes down. We drank Negronis, and grazed over everything from olives, salty chips, nuts, meats and cheeses. 

When it comes to an Italian Apertivo, Anton of The Press Room recommends a Negroni, an Aperol Spritz, or just Campari on the Rocks with an orange peel. For your snack, salty foods pair beautifully with a traditional Italian cocktail whether it’s a few olives and salty chips, or a gorgeous spread of charcuterie.

He also has a very special memory from another cocktail he enjoyed while in Milan:  “I went to Bar Basso and tried “Negroni Sbagliato,” (a messed up Negroni).  It was here that the drink was created. It’s said that the bartender made a mistake when someone ordered a Negroni. Instead of gin, he used sparkling wine.”  Negroni Spagliato has become my own personal favorite. It’s hard to believe it was an accidental discovery!

Valkov went on to explain that the flavors of amari (the Italian word for bitter) are so unique, and “have been passed on through the generations without changing a thing.” Campari and Aperol are both amaros, but of different strengths.  While enjoying the flavors of amari, Anton encourages you to search for “licorice flavors, some type of citrus (usually orange), and a bittersweet finish.”

» Tip:  Excited to make your own Italian Apertivo?  Click here for Anton’s cocktail recipes

Sparkling Italian Wine to the Rescue

Cocktails not your thing?  Not to worry.  When it comes to starting with wine, I always enjoy a glass of Prosecco, which as many of you know is a Sparkling Italian Wine. Prosecco is a subregion of Veneto in the North East part of Italy. 

If you adore exploring different wine regions like I do, Anton also recommends trying Alta Langa.  This sparkling wine hails from a sub-region of Piedmont of the same name, in the North West corner of Italy.  Franciacorta, a sparkling wine  from the North Center region of Lombardy, is also worth exploring.  More bubbles to discover? Count me in.

Without a doubt, a glass of Sparkling Italian Wine will take any day in quarantine and make it a special one. So close your eyes and let the sounds of Pavarotti wash over you. And finally, let us raise a glass of bubbles to the Front Line Workers. Thank you for keeping us safe. Salute!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop thinking about Pasta, Pizza, and Red Wine! Our next stop as we travel to Italy from home will be Dinner and Wine Tasting in Florence and Rome.

» Looking for Anton’s Italian Cocktail Recipes? Click here

Many thanks to Anton Valkov for his expertise in all things wine and cocktails! And thank you to The Press Room for being my favorite place to write in the company of friends. We will all get through this- let’s do our part by staying home, and supporting each other as best we can. Please stay healthy, happy, and safe.

♥ This blog is written by guest writer @adventuresofjulieanna and we’re so proud to have her as a member of Dutchbloggeronthemove. This is her second blog about Italy and hopefully one of many. If you have any questions about this article ‘Travel to Italy from Home’, comment below. For her first article about Sardinia, read more here.


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