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Experiencing Aperitivo in Florence

We recently discovered the delicious phenomenon of aperitivo in Florence. Highly recommend you check it out on your next travel adventure.

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Aperitivo in Florence

We recently unearthed one of Florence’s best kept secrets and we want to share it with you. The amazing aperitivo experience.

Aperitivo in Florence

What is an aperitivo?

Quite simply an aperitivo is a buffet of appetisers shared with friends at a local cocktail bar. After work the locals flock to the small bars in each neighbourhood to enjoy a drink, catch up with friends and help themselves to a delicious array of pastas, vegetables, light finger snacks and freshly made local delicacies.

For us it was a chance to dive into the Italian lifestyle and enjoy one of our favourite past times while travelling. Food.

Aperitivo starts around 6.30pm until 9.30pm and Kitsch Bar, which we visited  three times during our stay in Florence, quickly filled with a mix of students, business professionals and ourselves with no other tourists in sight. We felt like we had entered some sort secret society and were nervous to put a foot wrong.

Luckily the waitress was extremely friendly and with a few hand gestures and broken Italian we figured out that if we brought a drink, all of which were between $7 – 10 Euros, we could help ourselves to the buffet.

Aperitivo in Florence

And what a buffet it was.

With fresh mozzarella and hand picked tomatoes on slices of warm bread, lashings of cured prosciutto ham, pesto pasta, rice and more. We couldn’t fill our plates quickly enough (hence the shit photos). As we took our seats we quickly fell into silence as we devoured our individual plates before remembering where we were.

Italy; the home of food lovers.

Here we didn’t have to wolf down our food. We could sit back and relax. Italian’s have the right lifestyle. Everything is enjoyed at a slow pace over mouth-watering food and a cool beverage. We loved the fact that we could just buy one drink and enjoy each others company instead of being rushed out the door for the next sitting.

Even with the slower pace of eating we quickly demolished two plates a piece and with full bellies we agonised over whether it was appropriate for us to go up again… Of course we did. Much to our regret later that night as we couldn’t sleep from being too full!

Next time you visit Florence we definitely recommend visiting Kitsch Bar which was the most generous and best looking aperitivo buffet we saw while in Florence.

Where to stay in Florence? Plus Florence Hostel

We stayed at Plus Florence hostel when we were enjoying the best aperitivo in Florence. Considering it is a hostel chain they really know how to do it right for budget and couple travellers.

Location

Plus Florence is only 5 – 10 minutes walk to the major sights in Florence such as the Duomo and main train station.

The Rooms

Plus Florence has designed itself as a luxury budget hostel. It’s rooms are sparkling clean with dorms, privates and separate floors just for Plus Girls with hairdryers, straighteners etc).

Other Amenities

There are two, yes TWO, swimming pools, restaurant, cardio workout equipment, bar, rooftop patio and free WiFi throughout the hostel.

Staff

All of the staff are extremely helpful providing travel tips and advice on where to go and what to see. They were also the ones who introduced us to aperitivo so they will be forever remembered as legends.

Social Atmosphere

Combine an outdoor pool, large bar and 800 beds then there will always be something fun happening. We just wish they opened the bar earlier so we could enjoy a beer next to the pool in the afternoon.

Cost

Per Person: $30 Euro for a private room, $25.50 Euro for a 4 bed dorm and $21.50 Euro for a 8 bed dorm.

Overall

Plus Florence definitely deserves all of its awards for being one of the best hostels in the world. It’s rooms are clean, spacious and the extra amenities provides lots of places to chill out after a hard day of exploring Florence. Definitely recommend it for backpacking couples and solo travellers who want to meet lots of other travellers.

Disclaimer: We were guests of HostelWorld but as always our thoughts are always our own.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Laurence

    July 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Great tip! Never heard of the aperitivo concept.. but I like it!

  2. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    July 21, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Hooray for Apertivo, Italy’s version of Spanish tapas!

  3. Zara @ Backpack ME

    July 22, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    No doubt that Italy is the place to be when it comes to food!

  4. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    July 23, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    Tapas, Apertivo… whatever you call it, getting little samples of a lot of different dishes is awesome. That buffala mozzarella looks scrumptious!

  5. Turtle

    July 23, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Aperetivo is all through Northern Italy. It’s amazing! a fantastic way to have cheap drinks and food. Often you don’t even need to have dinner after a good aperitivo!!

  6. Tim @ Marginal Boundaries

    July 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    I gotta stop reading your blog posts first thing in the morning, because you’ve been posting food posts and pictures far too often lately 🙂

    Fresh mozzy is *TO DIE FOR*, and I’ve always found Italian/Mediterranean food to be the best in the world. One of the things I really miss about living in that part of the world are fresh olives. When I was living in Bulgaria (Not Italy, but hey, just across the water!) and traveling to Italy as well…that was a guilty pleasure. Every day I could walk down to the local market and pick up kilos of fresh olives and just gorge myself =P

  7. Jeremy Branham

    July 24, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    This sounds a lot like Spain. It’s the Italian version of tapas (or maybe tapas are the Italian version of aperitivo). I ate Italian food when I was there but never did the aperitivo thing. I didn’t even know Italians did this. Will have to check it out the next time I am there.

  8. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    July 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    Apertivo kind of reminds me of tapas… except in buffet format. Regardless, it sounds delicious!

  9. Ali

    July 25, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I think Andy has mentioned the aperitivo thing with Italy. I just love Italy, and your posts continue to make me want to go back. The food looks so good!

  10. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    July 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    That’s my kind of food!

  11. Angela

    July 29, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Aperitivo is very important in Italy, I saw something similar in Spain, where people go for tapas after work and before dinner.

  12. Alexandra

    August 11, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    I too recently discovered Aperitivo while in Italy a few months back! I think all bars worldwide should do this! I also never seem to be able to get photos of my food before I eat half of it!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      It’s so hard not to start pigging out every time! Have to constantly re-arrange our plates after we start eating then remember to grab a photo haha.

  13. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    September 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Yum! Aperitivo sounds a lot like Mezza in Jordan. We love trying all the different dishes.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Sounds like you guys had a brilliant time in Jordan. It is on our to-do list. Especially if they have something similar to Aperitivo!

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Europe

5 European Cities to Visit in the Dead of Winter

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As one of the most polarizing seasons, winter could be termed as both a blessing and a curse by those who like making the most out of nature.

After all, while it brings about the opportunity to build snowmen and to ski on magnificent ice slopes, it also brings a chill to the bone and a desire to never get away from the fireplace.

Don’t forget about the hot chocolate either.

That is why, when it comes to vacationing in winter, it gets quite difficult to choose from a location – especially when the destination is as diverse in climate as Europe. Do you select a place that’s sunny and warm? Or somewhere that lets you enjoy the ice and cold in the best ways possible?

To make that decision easier for you, here are 5 European cities that you could visit in the dead of winter, with the assurance that you would come out of the vacation phase with a smile on your face.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a city that is synonymous with sunshine, warmth, and some of the world’s most breathtaking architecture.

The temperature rarely drops below 45 degrees even in the coldest months of the year. While the sunshine remains present amidst the rainy days. This means that you can enjoy the best effects of winter without having to endure the worst of them.

If you happen to be a fan of football, then these effects can be increased by several times. This beautiful city is home to one of the greatest football clubs of all time and with Barcelona FC in contention for a championship virtually every year, odds are you’ll be walking out with a smile on your face after watching a win. Not a bad way to take a break from the beach!

Athens, Greece

While you wouldn’t be able to go to Mount Olympus’ mythical version in this day and age, you can still experience Greece’s magnificence through the beautiful city of Athens.

Like Barcelona, Athens also sees rare drops in temperature while being consistent around 45 degrees throughout the heaviest months in winter. With the architecture that you can experience under the sun, this weather can actually be ideal for an exploratory walk.

And if you are a fan of Greek food, then checking out local restaurants for authentic dishes would only add to the overall experience of your trip.

Venice, Italy

Since Italy is full of some of the most breathtaking architecture in the world, it would be quite debatable to say that Venice is the crown jewel of the country in terms of structural beauty.

But it is.

From the way that the city has been designed to the manner that the buildings have been developed, Venice remains a breathtaking sight for anyone who visits it.

That remains true even in the months of winter, where the does drop to around 30 degrees, but still provides the tourists and inhabitants with a way to enjoy the magnificent sights under the sun.

Zugspitze, Germany

Germany is considered to be one of the coldest countries in Europe, but it is a good thing for those who enjoy a bit of snow during their travels.

And for those who do, there are perhaps not many places that are as marvelous as Zugspitze in terms of a memorable winter experience.

With snow covered mountains and a temperature that dances around -14 degrees in winter, you can enjoy an array of winter sports such as skiing, sledding, and snowboarding to your heart’s desire. If you are one to enjoy snow and everything good there is about the season of winter, then Zugspitze is the place to go.

Marseilles, France

While Paris gets quite cold in winter without the weather enhancing any effects of life within the city, Marseille seems to be quite the opposite. The city is as lively in the winter as it is during its busiest days in summer, with plenty to do in adjacent areas.

You may visit the many architectural sites and tourist attractions in Marseilles itself, but you can add to that experience when you choose to visit the Christmas markets in Aix en Provence or Avignon.

With that, the many warm and steamy French soups and bouillon based dishes that you can enjoy in Marseilles only add to the trip. This means that by the time you are done with your visit to Marseilles, you are bound to be fed well, have some goods in your shopping bags, and some memorable pictures in your phone to boot.

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Europe

Even the Most Expensive Cities Have Cheaper Alternatives: Paris

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According to the results of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Worldwide Cost of Living” survey, Singapore, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong, and Oslo are the most expensive places to live – and visit – this year. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit them, though – actually if your budget allows it, you should cross them off your bucket list as soon as you can. But this doesn’t mean you have to break all your piggy banks and sell your soul only to spend a weekend in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Unless you’re adamant that it’s “Paris or bust”, there are alternatives to this crowded and top-dollar destination you might want to consider – and start saving for your dream trip nonetheless.

Lyon

Lyon has a history of almost two millennia, and it shows: the remains of the Roman settlement Lugdunum, built at the confluence of the rivers Saône and Rhône, are showing to this day. Lyon might not be a capital city – it doesn’t have the size or the population – but its role in the everyday life of France was always important, both as a trade and a cultural hub.

The city has many gorgeous sights to see, like the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the Tour Métallique (a tall TV tower that replicates the top of the Eiffel Tower), among others, covering every age from the birth of the city to its modern times. Plus, it has museums, parks, gardens, and a street art group that has been designated the cultural ambassador for the city. Not to mention its cuisine, the unique and popular Lyonnaise cuisine that has become a worldwide sensation.

Lille

A relatively small city in the north of France, Lille is another charming alternative to a crowded and overpriced Paris. It features many distinct architectural styles, most of them with a clear Flemish influence. Among its landmarks, you find its Cathedral (Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille), its Citadel, its palaces, and gardens. Lille is also the place with the biggest flea market in Europe – Braderie de Lille takes place on the first Sunday of September, with millions of attendees and over 10,000 sellers gathering in the streets of the city. It’s a charming, agreeable, and colorful city that will offer its visitors a beautiful experience.

Strasbourg

Last but not least, let us mention a city with a double significance – on one hand, it’s the official seat of the European Parliament, on the other, it’s a wonderful place to visit and a great alternative to an overcrowded Paris.

Strasbourg is a place where French and German architecture mingle in a unique way, with an Old Town filled with timber-framed houses surrounding typical French landmarks and churches. It also has many notable parks, some with historic significance, and almost too many museums for its small size. Plus, it’s a distinctively multicultural city where visitors will find it easy to fit in.

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Europe

Let’s Do A Road Trip In Europe Fin

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Its that time of year again. It is the holidays and vacation, mirth and much merriment is upon us. Those of us who are lucky are able to take a few days to a few weeks off for vacation and can enjoy it abroad or do a staycation. A trip abroad is probably preferred, there’s so much to see and do, it would a pity to while the days away in your own hometown.

Get a move on, grab your bags, get a ticket and jump on a plane to Europe. When you get there, rest for a bit and begin your road trip. Nothing beats traveling on the road and taking all the sights that nature has to offer while stopping by at different locations.

Remember, a road trip can be very feasible and pleasant if it is done right. Make sure to have your car inspected, checked and ready to go for a long distance road trip.

You’ll want to make sure that you have your oil checked and your tires as well. Proper tires from suppliers such as Kwik Fit will get you squared away and ready to hit the road.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Grossglockner

One of the top places that you’ll want to go is in Austria. There’s this little spot called Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, this spot is one that is talked about by road trip aficionados of all kinds.

The Grossglockner is the opposite of what it sounds like, it’s not gross at all, it’s quite pleasant actually.  The path will take you through different sights ranging from mountain tops to rivers, to rock formations and more. What’s fun about this place is that you will also be able to have different changes in the road itself, it is not just one straight path but one that is filled with turns and changes to keep you from getting bored.

Italy and the Amalfi Coast

Italy is a place that won’t disappoint, it has food, culture, and history to keep you company. Italy also has beautiful sights all over too. One of the best places to drive through would be the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast has everything you could possibly want, beaches, cliffs, and beautiful fishing villages. The place is not only beautiful in nature but in culture as well. One can check out the Cathedrals, Villa Rufolo, engage in some boat tours for a quick respite from their road trip and also view the Sirenuse from afar.

Portugal – The Estoril Coast

Drive from Italy, pass by countries such as France, Spain and reach the destination of Portugal. You will find the climate and the overall setting over here to be appealing.  On your way to this beautiful place, make sure to check out popular spots such as Lisbon and other prominent locations such as Sintra. The Estoril Coast was home to the nobility of ages past and even to those that we see as nobility today, celebrities, wealthy people and tourists with a couple of euros or dollars to their name stop by this place and immerse themselves in the manmade and natural attractions that this place has to offer.

Don’t Hesitate, Time Stands Still For No One

Time is slipping, check out budget and look into which part of Europe you want to stick to. Make the decision and take the trip, it will be a great refreshment and you will be glad you were able to have the experience. Take a few snapshots and indulge in the experience of #RoadtripsofEurope

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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