A Splash of Venice in every Glass

March 18, 2013 / Food & Wine
Venice, Veneto

When you think of Venice, what immediately comes to mind?

Canal scene - Venice | ©Tom Palladio ImagesA gondolier navigating his craft?

The Rialto Bridge?

The bustling traffic along the Grand Canal?

St. Mark’s Square, “Europe’s living room”?

Perhaps, all of those pigeons?

The personal images of Venice are endless. Anyone who has ever laid eyes on La Serenissima leaves with an indelible mark that’s carried within for the rest of time.

And, that is the magic that is Venice.

Just think if we could bottle up all of those images and impressions and uncork them every once in a while to be momentarily whisked back to the “City of Canals.”

Spritz Veneziano | ©Tom Palladio ImagesWell, believe it or not, you can. Meet lo Spritz Veneziano (the Venetian Spritz), the preferred aperitivo (cocktail) of residents around “the Lagoon,” and now the signature drink of the Bel Paese.

Bottle of Aperol | ©Tom Palladio ImagesBorn out of the common practice of spritzen (German for splashing) — diluting glasses of wine with splashes of water — during the 19th century occupation of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia by the Austrian Empire, lo Spritz Veneziano came to life shortly after World War I when the Barbieri brothers — Luigi and Silvio — created a spirit low in alcohol: Aperol.

Orange slices and green olives front a bottle of Aperol | ©Tom Palladio ImagesThey unveiled their fluorescent-orange colored liquor to much fanfare at the 1919 Padova Exhibition. An amaro (bitter), Aperol is an infusion of 30 herbs and roots, orange and rhubarb.

When mixed just right, it’s transformed into a fashion-forward statement that distinctly says VENEZIA, where the anonymous religiously take their ombra (shade) — the late morning AND late afternoon cocktail break.

So, how do you prep lo Spritz Veneziano?

Lo Spritz Veneziano recipe graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: In a rocks, tumbler or wine glass, drop in the ice cubes

Step-2: Pour in the Prosecco wine

Step-3: Add a dash of sparking or seltzer water

Step-4: Pour in the Aperol

Step-5: Garnish with an orange slice and a green olive

Spritz Veneziano | ©Tom Palladio Images

Lo Spritz Veneziano — the sparkling aperitivo that takes you back to Venice after just one sip.

Drink responsibly.


by Tom Weber

Tom is a veteran print-broadcast journalist who resides in the Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills) in the province of Padova in the Veneto region of northestern Italy. He hosts the eclectic travel/foodie/photography blog The Palladian Traveler.com, is a regular contributor to Los Angeles-based TravelingBoy.com, and is a member of the International Travel Writers Alliance. Feel free to follow Tom as he “meanders along the cobblestone to somewhere.”

11 Responses to “A Splash of Venice in every Glass”

    • CeciliaBelenardo

      Aperol is my very favorite drink. We have Aperol tonic soda on ice with a slice of orange. Heaven!

  1. Lauradids

    Can’t wait to order one in Venice the day we arrive!
    Cin cin!

  2. Ciao Tom!
    A splash of anything for me in Venice – grazie for another great write about my very favorite place!
    Cin cin!

  3. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    I love Venice with one exception ,the many ‘Gifts’ from the dogs.
    So it is at those times that Aperol is much appreciated to calm the soul

  4. D. Bianchi

    We stayed in Verona for almost a month in May and that drink was everywhere. As Yvonne prefers, there were more than a few made with Campari. All served with a small plate of either olives, chips or focaccia. Great way to prepare for un buon cena dopo.


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