An aperitivo (aperitif), after work has finished for the day and before dinner, during the “Aperitivo hour” has become an Italian tradition.
Perhaps it’s the medieval layout of towns around squares that makes Italy such an outdoor dining mecca. Siena is an exquisite example of an ideal place to sit outside bars and restaurants enjoying an aperitivo.
Here’s how and where to enjoy the ‘new’ Italian aperitivo tradition in Siena.
- Siena, Tuscany
- The Italian tradition of the Aperitivo Hour
- The 12 best places to have an aperitif in Siena
- More Planning Resources
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Siena is one of the most visited Italian cities by international tourists. Its authentic charm and the historical preservation of the whole central city make it a popular destination.
Its strategic location, a short distance from Florence, facilitates its connections, so much so that travel between the two cities is frequent and well organized.
This city in Tuscany is also popular because of its food and wine specialties. And before you try out Siennese cuisine in restaurants, you can indulge in an aperitivo with an unforgettable view.
A trip to Tuscany cannot be said to be complete without experiencing the delicacies of Siena which are taken with great seriousness and prepared with respect to the freshness and providence of the ingredients.
They are then paired with old wines and new cocktail creations that celebrate the pairing of food and drink in the medieval heart of the Tuscan countryside.
The Italian tradition of the Aperitivo Hour
The Italian aperitivo tradition originated in the mid-1700s in Piedmont, Turin. When the famous drink, Vermouth, was born, so too was the need to get together among companions to have a tasty glass with friends.
Today it has become a real ritual that unites friends, and family, but also allows you to make new acquaintances with locals.
An occasion for relaxation and companionship, which in our days has become a fashion.
In fact, at the beginning of the current century, many venues in northern Italy began offering small buffets to be accompanied by a glass of wine or beer at a time between 6 pm and late evening.
This was the turning point for aperitifs. Soon this custom spread throughout Italy and many establishments began offering food with ‘the purchase of a drink’.
It is now an integral part of Italian culture, a ritual of the pre-dinner drink that shows no signs of waning, but rather is gaining momentum.
Between 6 PM and late in the evening, about 10 PM. The time is approximate and depends on the type of appetizer offered by the venue.
If the food offered is substantial it can even become a substitute for dinner, otherwise, it becomes a pre-meal.
By now, aperitifs are also served by restaurants, not just bars. They offer indoor spaces or outdoor seating during warm weather.
Purchasing a drink, wine or beer is brought to the table or served at the accompanying food buffet. A food tasting is included in the price of drinks.
The 12 best places to have an aperitif in Siena
1. Liberamente Osteria
Liberamente Osteria is located in the beating heart of Siena. The amazing view of Piazza del Campo makes the aperitif even more interesting.
A place that offers local cuisine and includes fresh and respectfully processed ingredients. Their strong point is the cocktails but they also have a wide selection of wines.
The Osteria is one of Siena’s top venues for an aperitivo because of its location. For those who want to stay for dinner as well, the restaurant of Liberamente Osteria offers gourmet cuisine.
Il Campo, 27, 53100 Siena Italy
2. Vineria Tirabusciò
Another historic venue within walking distance of the Piazza and the Duomo. The wine takes center stage here, with a wide selection of goblets and bottles.
Accompanying it are locally cured meats, typical Tuscan cheeses, as well as soups and stews.
The atmosphere of this establishment is very welcoming. It is perfect both for an aperitivo with new friends and for trying the cuisine in the restaurant. It has a range of interesting snacks.
Via S. Pietro, 16, 53100 Siena Italy
3. Gastronomia Morbidi
Since 1925, the Morbidi has been a landmark for everyone in the city.
Upon entering, you’ll see the well-stocked counter where appetizers are prepared to accompany aperitivo, as well as dishes from the deli.
Cold cuts hang from the ceilings, cheese that will go into the tasty cutting boards, and meats from the Morbidi family farms.
Today it is also a cocktail bar where you can try the bartender’s experiments and craft beers inside the city walls.
Via Banchi di Sopra, 75, 53100 Siena Italy
4. Bar Impero
The bar reopened in 2022 at this venue in the heart of the city. Giving it a new life was a 24-year-old young man who decided to make his dream come true.
Impero is a bar that has hosted generations of Italians who came here to have an aperitivo before going to the cinema next door. Today it’s a place to listen to live music or to take part in themed events such as October Fest.
The cutting boards to go with the sought-after long drinks are excellent!
Viale Vittorio Emanuele II, 10, 53100 Siena Italy
5. Bar Ii Palio (in Piazza el Campo)
As the name implies, this venue faces directly onto Piazza del Campo, where the Palio of Siena is held every year.
The wonderful view here is unparalleled, and its elegant architecture also makes it unique. It’s the perfect place to succumb to the Italian aperitivo tradition.
Aperitivo here is accompanied by snacks and hearty and sophisticated traditional dishes. The transformation happens in summer when it becomes a tiki bar!
Il Campo, 47, 53100 Siena Italy
6. Osteria Boccon del Prete (near Torre del Mangia)
Osteria Boccon del Prete is right in the historic center of Siena and as a result, is always busy.
For this reason, it’s best to make a reservation if you’d like to stay for dinner. An aperitivo, however, is always welcome.
The restaurant has two rooms with soft light where you can decide whether to accompany a refreshing glass of local wines with a dinner of local products or a typical aperitivo with a slice of savory pie with wonderful views of Torre del Mangia.
Via S. Pietro, 17, 53100 Siena Italy
7. La Prosciutteria
A journey into the heart of Siena and Italian cuisine.
A short walk from Piazza del Campo and the Torre del Mangia is Prosciutteria Crudi e Bollicine. The perfect place to have an aperitivo overlooking the city’s characteristic street.
There is no shortage of Taglieri, but also more elaborate dishes such as tartare and fondues.
The wine is the protagonist and creates a sophisticated ambiance. La Prosciutteria is one of the best restaurants for events, ceremonies, and parties in town.
A must-visit address in the city close to Piazza del Campo.
Via Pantaneto, 89, 53100 Siena Italy
One of the most popular wine bars for the Sienese, but also for tourists traveling from Florence for obvious reasons.
A very refined establishment with a light that contributes to a relaxing atmosphere. Its wine list is just staggering – there are more than eight hundred wine labels, and drinks based on gin and craft spirits!
All of this is served with a menu that varies daily according to availability to provide dishes that are always fresh.
A true journey through Italian oenology with products ranging from the Aosta Valley to Sicily, all under the banner of craftsmanship and quality raw materials.
And if you fit it in at the end, don’t miss the homemade desserts such as panpepato, panforte, and ricciarelli.
Banchi di Sotto, 51, 53100 Siena Italy
9. Il Battistero
A multitasking venue that combines residences with a gastronomic area.
In the bistro, you can enjoy a typical Italian dinner in the context of a town of the height of the Renaissance because of its fascinating old setting.
An underground wine cellar houses vintage wines and the cafeteria offers an aperitivo accompanied by tasty dishes, including a good selection of vegetarian options. All with a cathedral view!
Piazza San Giovanni 2, 3 e 5, 53100 Siena Italy
10. I Parolai
I Parolai is an Italian-style tapas bar with Spanish influences.
Main courses and sandwiches accompany mainly gin-based cocktails from Tuscany.
The atmosphere is that of modern bars in a structure that retains the art of the time. You can eat and drink at the same time, in the same place.
It is not classic street food, but the gourmet version of tapas. I Parolai uses sophisticated ingredients that rely on the craftsmanship of the products. Ideal for dinner in Siena and within walking distance of the main square.
Via Simone Martini, 23, Siena Italy
11. Il Cantiere del Buon Gusto (The Shipyard of Good Taste)
A tour of Siena’s best aperitifs can’t fail to pass by Cantiniere Del Buon Gusto which is renowned for its craft beers.
A local dish excellently prepared here is the Tagliere Toscano Lo Scuro. It is not the classic charcuterie and cheese board served in an osteria, but is enriched with sottoli (pickles), grilled vegetables, fruit, and raw meat.
It is a true journey into the gastronomy of Siena and the whole of Tuscany. The ambiance here is traditional Tuscan and, as Cantiniere Del Buon Gusto says:
“A Tuscan cutting board, a glass of wine from our wine shop and the aperitif becomes a moment to savour…”
Via Camollia, 88-90, 53100, Siena Italy
12. White Dog
If you ask google maps for advice on where to have an aperitivo in Siena, you’ll inevitably find White Dog recommended as among the best bars.
In fact, it ranks among the 100 best Italian bars according to Blue Blazer.
A 1930s atmosphere picked up by the furnishings and background music. Close to the city’s main attractions, it is the ideal place to try refined and innovative cocktails of an early evening.
White Dog is so popular that it sells its own line of products so that you can reproduce their signature cocktails at home.
Via Borgo Marturi, 37, Poggibonsi (SI)
More Planning Resources
- Now that you know how to enjoy a pre-dinner drink, become a pro at ordering food in Italy. Read How to Order Food in Italy
- Siena is close to magical little Pienza, a hill town renowned for its pecorino. See 10 reasons why you must try Pecorini di Pienza in Tuscany