Often described as an Italian sunset in a glass, the Aperol Spritz originated in the city of Padua and has become one of the most famous cocktails from Italy. The Aperol liqueur became a beloved apéritif in Padua and out of its rising popularity the Aperol Spritz was born during the chic 1950s in Northern Italy.
If you find yourself at one of our luxury villas near Venice and Verona, a quintessential element of your visit is to indulge in Veneto’s finest drinking experiences. We’ve created a perfect introduction to Padua’s iconic drink: how it achieves its vibrant colour, refreshing taste and the best bars to enjoy its bubbly bliss.
The Barbieri Brothers
In 1919, Luigi and Silvio Barbieri created Padua’s famous Aperol and as this bitter apéritif rose to fame, so did experimentation. During the 1950s, Veneto was at the peak of chic fashion and gastronomic delicacies, allowing the optimum moment for the Aperol Spritz to enter Paduan society.
Spritz is a form of cocktail as opposed to a singular drink, the term originates from the German Spritzen. The origin of the Spritz dates back to the 19th-century when the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s owned the region. When Austro-Hungarian soldiers first tasted Italian wines, they found them too strong for their taste and subsequently spritzed their glasses with water to dilute the flavour.
The years leading up to the 1950s saw rigorous advertising of the Barbieris’ apéritif, resulting in Aperol taking over Campari in popularity. Following a TV advert displaying the Aperol Spritz’s recipe, the cocktail soon rose to fame as a luxe drink for lunchtime aperitivo and summer evenings. By early 2003, the Campari Group had purchased Aperol and marketed the Spritz as a cocktail for the trendy and fashionable members of Venetian society.
How the Aperol Spritz gets its sunset radiance
The beauty of the Aperol Spritz lies in the simplicity of its ingredients, which extracts the quality of each native component. The foundation of this cocktail is Aperol from Padua, with Veneto’s adored Prosecco and chilled soda. The Aperol’s vibrant orange hue is slightly diluted with sparkling wine, painting the Spritz with a softer sunset glow perfect for summer evenings.
The recipe often recommends using Cinzano Prosecco, a sparkling wine made from white muscatel grapes native to Northern Italy. Muscatel grapes are renowned for their floral scent, often making for good dessert wines, which aids in the sweetening of the Aperol. The Spritz is garnished with an orange slice to accentuate the trademark flavour of the Aperol Spritz, the bittered citrus fruit.
Where to drink the Aperol Spritz in Padua
The Aperol Spritz is a glowing fusion of bitter orange and sweet wine, served in a balloon or wine glass and garnished with an orange slice. A drink as sophisticated as this deserves the best in Padua’s bars to be relished in.
The wine bar serving traditional cichetti: Enoteca all’Ombra della Piazza
Renowned for its large selection of natural and organic wines, craft beers and Spritz, this lively wine bar in Piazza della Frutta offers an authentic Paduan experience. Enoteca all’Ombra della Piazza is reminiscent of a traditional Venetian bacaro, serving an assortment of cichetti, best accompanied with a refreshing Aperol Spritz.
The city centre bar with views to die for: Gran Caffè Diemme
Located in the heart of Padua’s city centre, this bar offers outdoor seating facing the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà Nuovo, giving you the best in Venetian architecture to admire while sipping an Aperol Spritz. When lunching at Gran Caffè Diemme, we recommend a fragrant salad or pasta dish with your refreshing Spritz Veneziano.
The atmospheric wine bar in the heart of Padua’s centre: Corte Sconta
On the busy Via dell’Arco, Corte Sconta provides its visitors with a street food experience with high-quality dishes. This street is bursting with shops and cafés, making Corte Sconta a wine bar attractive to locals and tourists. Renowned for its drink lists as well as cicchetti, Corte Sconta offers you the ultimate Paduan combination of Aperol Spritz and Venetian finger food.
Stylish sparkles: 3 variations of the Aperol Spritz to try
The Spritz Veneziano, or just the Spritz, has become so renowned throughout Italy that variations have spawned across the regions. The use of vibrant liqueurs and sparkling wines has made for some tantalising variants within the Spritz family.
Sprazzi: a sophisticated upgrade to the Spritz, the Sprazzi uses Grand Marnier, violet liqueur, grapefruit soda and topped with prosecco. The sweetness from the Grand Marnier and tart from the grapefruit soda make for a refreshingly indulgent cocktail.
Negroni Spritz: this drink combines the freshness of the Spritz with the classic Negroni for a trendy cocktail. Campari or Aperol can be used with Antica sweet vermouth and sparkling wine for this fun summer option.
Hugo: this twist on the Spritz provides a lighter summer tipple, using prosecco as its base mixed with elderflower cordial and finished with mint leaves and a lime wedge. The Hugo has become a popular apéritif; its flavours reminiscent of a mojito transferred into the elegant form of a spritz.