The Ancient Romans had a word “gustatio,” which describes the bountiful first course at a Roman banquet. But where did this idea of Aperitivo come from? Some have suggested that it can be traced as far back as ancient Rome. Though the modern Aperitivo started in northern Italy, it’s Roman background cannot be ignored.
It was well known as a highly anticipated part of the meal consisting of salty snacks and the sweet aromatic drinks with higher alcohol content. This comes very close to what we now term “Aperitivo.” However, the history does not stop there.
Some say it was started in Piedmont, the capital city of Turin in 1786 by the inventor of the Vermouth liquor, Antonio Benedetto Carpano. In 1786, Antonio Benedetto Carpano was tired of being a traditional distiller and started experimenting in his lab. Accidentally, he added aromatic herbs and ingredients like vanilla, saffron, wormwood and more to create Vermouth. Vermouth immediately became popular with the royal court of Turin and eventually the whole region. This is because it was a new bitter and sweet experience that satisfied the Tuscan palate. When King Vittorio Emanuele II called it his pre-dinner drink of choice, Vermouth’s reputation was cemented, and a taste for the bitter soon spread to the rest of northern Italy. As they say, the rest was history.