The Italian custom of aperitivo is so much more than just a pre-dinner drink: think happy hour, but better. At most aperitivo spots, you pay five euros for a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine, and get access to a buffet of appetizers, meats, cheeses, and salads. Typically, it attracts a scene of young, energetic people out for a good time.
Technically a bar, Cacio e Pere is one of the most buzzing places to be on any given night in Siena. Playing host to local musicians almost every night, it’s a prime spot to get a real feel for the lively music scene in the city; all you have to do is stop by for the aperitivo. The atmosphere is decidedly more grungy than many of the other spots on our list, with an almost pub-like feel, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s just for the 20-somethings. It remains an amazing place for cocktails and live music.
One of the most vibrant aperitivo scenes in Siena can be found at Caffé la Pizzetta. Located a short walk from the busiest streets of downtown Siena, this spot definitely attracts a younger crowd with DJs and an upbeat, club-like vibe. Drinks are always flowing, and the food buffet is always on point, while customers mingle and dance to the music. What makes Caffé la Pizzetta really special is a sponsorship-type program, special aperitivo nights that fund raise for charities. Caffé la Pizzetta is also one of the only advertized LGBTQ-friendly places for nightlife in the city.
Café Nannini is one of the more elegant places for aperitivo, located on Banchi di Sopra for ultimate convenience. The cafe is housed in a beautiful old building with artisan stone and woodwork. In keeping with the upscale feel, the evening aperitivo feels fancy and special. Along with finger foods, you can also order a refreshing gelato or fresh pastry. Because of its prime location and well-known name, Café Nannini can get busy, so prepare to share a table and make some new friends.
Da Trombicche combines fresh ingredients, old recipes, and warm hospitality to create an unforgettable experience. The restaurant has been in its current location in Siena for over 50 years, establishing itself as a mainstay in the local restaurant scene. This truly is a place to relax and wind down, as the restaurant’s website describes the atmosphere as casual and familiar. You’ll be treated like family when you stop by for aperitivo hour, which always features local products and ingredients, and typical plates from the Senese region.
Though Siena is known for medieval charm and history, La Favorita feels like a little slice of modernity. The cafe’s interior features clean lines and neutral colors, making it feel incredibly chic. Upon entering, guests are first greeted by a tempting display of brightly colored gelatos and pastries before reaching the bar to order a drink. From there, grab your beverage of choice and stay upstairs where the action usually is or retreat downstairs to a quieter, more intimate dining area. The restaurant has one of the best outdoor patios in the city, so visit on a warm summer night to get some fresh air along with your drinks and appetizers.
Most people are familiar with prosciutto, the cured Italian equivalent of ham. But dining on high-quality prosciutto, with local pecorino, and perhaps a glass of chianti? It’s an experience of a lifetime. La Prosciutteria doesn’t always serve a dedicated aperitivo hour, but is an excellent place for drinks and a bite to eat. Most popular are their meat and cheese platters, with a sampling of cheeses, salumi, olives, and crostini. It is tucked back on a side street, away from the popular tourist sites in Siena, so is perfect for a quiet and tranquil evening of excellent wine and finger foods that are very typical of the Tuscan region. It is immensely popular with the local residents due to its authenticity and charm.
Le Tre Rane is just a fantastic place to spend an evening in Siena. Hidden off the main paths that most tourists tread, the restaurant has a truly inviting feel. The aperitivo menu is a great way to enjoy the calm atmosphere with a light dinner, but you may find a few surprises here as well. Along with traditional Italian appetizers, Le Tre Rane chefs often serve multiple varieties of sushi, for a little unexpected kick of flavor.
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Piazza del Campo is the heart of Siena and one of its most recognizable landmarks. Liberamente Osteria is just one of many restaurants lining the piazza, and it offers one of the best aperitivo spreads in the city. Expect finger sandwiches, sausages, crostini, and even arancini: warm and gooey, deep-fried balls of rice and cheese. Its location on the edge of the most popular destination in the city can make it busy with tourists at times, but the quality and selection at Liberamente Osteria keeps locals and visitors coming back.
Osteria Boccon del Prete is an off-the-beaten-track restaurant that serves the meal of your dreams. This place can get crowded, as it doesn’t accommodate more than a few dozen people, but the wait is worth it. Because the aperitivo menu is served buffet-style, you never quite know what you’re going to get, but if luck is on your side, you’ll get to try the house specialty: a fresh pasta dish with a light, creamy pesto sauce.
Ristorante Alla Speranza is another excellent place for aperitivo that that sits right on the Piazza del Campo. The view could not get better, with al fresco dining that looks out to the stunning Gaia Fountain and the 318-foot Torre del Mangia. Should you choose to dine inside, you may feel like you stepped back in time; the restaurant’s interior feels like a scene from a movie, with ancient brick walls, old stone hearths, and an arched brick ceiling. Enjoy traditional Tuscan specialties while you take in the sites of this unique and beautiful city.