An essential guide to the Bologna “aperitivo”

Cafe ZamboniA word that you really need to know if you’re planning to take an Italian course in Bologna is “Aperitivo”.

What does it mean? Well, it involves choosing a bar where, when you buy a drink in the evening, you are allowed to eat whatever you want from the buffet: snacks, pieces of pizza, pasta and desserts. You’ll be amazed at the variety!

“Aperitivo” starts at around 18.30 and can last until 11:00 p.m. It’s a great opportunity to meet up with friends, eat, drink, practise your Italian, or just relax at an outside table and enjoy the  Bologna street life.

And there are so many places you choose from, you’ll hardly know where to begin!

To help you with that dilemma, here are a few great “aperitivo bars” you could try before setting out to discover your own favorites.

Three great Bologna “aperitivo” bars!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACaffè Zamboni, with it’s pleasant outside tables, is a good choice in both winter and summer. It’s always busy, and is frequented by people of all ages: professionals, Erasmus students, even foreigners visiting our city to learn Italian. It’s not cheap though. A drink, with buffet included, will set you back €8!

The Cabala Caffè, located near the Two Towers (Le Due Torri) in the city center, also has tables outside, an essential for hot summer evenings. The cocktails are amazing, as is the quality of the food!

Cabalacafe1Osteria del sole was founded in 1465 and is the oldest osteria in Bologna.

Besides being famous for it’s age, it’s unusual because they only sell drinks (wine, beer ). Tradition dictates that they won’t sell food, but don’t worry, you can bring your own and share it with your friends. Great if you’ve blown your week’s budget the evening before at  Caffè Zamboni!

Now over to you: have you taken an Italian course in Bologna, and learned about the “aperitivo”??

Which places would YOU recommend?

Leave a comment on this post and perhaps this “essential guide” will become a “comprehensive guide”!


  1. Una settimane fa, sono stato a Caffe Zamboni e anche a Cabala Caffe. Buonissimo!

    • E la birra? Spesso il problema in Italia che non c’è un grande scelto…

      • Ricardo Botti. says:

        Quando sono stato nella scuola. Siamo andati a una degustazione di birra. Una grande varietà, siamo usciti tutti ubriachi perchè era difficile scegliere la migliore! Quando credevamo che l’ultima era la migliore, ci portavano un’altra diversa! – a via Riva di Reno vicino a Marconi. Non è un bar purtroppo ma un negozio di vendita di birra.

  2. Oppure fate un salto ad un luogo di culto, al Roxy Bar Bologna
    Un saluto a tutti!