Springtime Emotions at ENIT New York: Introducing “Aperitivo in Piazza”

Francesca Giuliani (March 29, 2012)
On March 27 ENIT offered an Italian style “Aperitivo,” an occasion for lovers of Italy to come together and better understand the culture and the lifestyle of the boot-shaped country, and to discover Italy's up-and-coming areas and hidden gems.

Among the rituals that better represent Italian lifestyle, the “aperitivo” is definitely one of the most pleasant and enjoyable ones.

Aperitivo could roughly be translated as something that “opens” the night (“aprire” means “to open”), and is an occasion to see friends before dinner time, sipping cocktails or a good glass of wine while nibbling on some hors d’oeuvres, and either decide where to spend the rest of the evening or prolong the chitchat, the drinking and the eating until late.

Aperitivi are usually offered in all Italian bars, and the most pleasant ones happen in the warmer months, at outside tables of bars and restaurants located in a piazza, a square, where the chitchatting, the drinking and the nibbling is combined with people-watching, another extremely popular activity among Italians. 

ENIT New York offered an authentic aperitivo experience to American tour-operators, tourism sector representatives and press. “Aperitivo in Piazza: Springtime Emotions” was the first of a number of social occasions ENIT plans on organizing in the future, an opportunity for American lovers of Italy to better understand the culture and the lifestyle of the boot-shaped country and to be informed with the latest news and tips about touristic itineraries and hidden gems in Italy to discover and spread the word on.

Eugenio Magnani, Director of ENIT New York, welcomed his guest to the ENIT office in Rockefeller Center, where the stunning view on Rockefeller Plaza provided the “piazza” for the aperitivo experience, that was also the occasion for all the Italian institutions’ representatives in New York to gather and show their support to the initiative.

Consul General of Italy in New York Natalia Quintavalle said in her introductory remarks that “Aperitivo in Piazza” brought her back to the pleasant evenings spent in Versilia with friends, and complimented Magnani on the initiative, which she defined as “an inspiration to make our travel to Italy a must.”

Magnani acted like a competent showman with a very well planned itinerary, halfway in-between a guided tour of Italy’s most beautiful destinations and an entertainment show with its visual segments and live interviews. 

Several videos were in fact proposed to the audience: from breathtaking postcards from Naples with the musical accompaniment of Dalla’s Caruso interpretation, to a slideshow of the most beautiful piazzas of Italy, all the way down to the trailer for John Turturro’s “Passione,” to an extremely amusing presentation of the secrets of Florence. 

After an amazing visual journey to the Cinque Terre area of Liguria, ready for the touristic season even after the severe floods of last October, a live Skype call with Vernazza’s major Vincenzo Resasca surprised the guests, who could hear from the major an interesting update on the steady recovery of the five villages from the natural disaster they experienced.

Fred Plotkin, a lover and connoisseur of Italy, was also present at the event, and he gave a very fitting definition of the people from Liguria, “who don’t advertise their treasures as much as other Italians do, but who will welcome you warmheartedly once you go visit their region.”

Aperitivo in Piazza was also a pleasant occasion for the American tour-operators, journalists and tourism businessmen to get acquainted with less famous destinations in Tuscany such as Forlì, where an interesting exhibition on early 1900s sculptor Adolfo Wildt investigates Michelangelo’s influence on the artist and Wildt influence on artists such as Gustav Klimt. 

After entering the Aperitivo state of mind, at the end of the show, the many guests could soothe their nostalgia of Italy with a selection of wines and finger foods, practicing for their next (and we believe soon-to-be-booked) trip to Italy.