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Italy nightlife

La dolce vita is alive and well in Italy. Though big cities like Rome and Milan have their share of clubs, live music venues, and ethnic dives offering everything from reggae to salsa, the default nightlife option in Italy is an aperitivo or a glass of wine with friends. In general, the larger the city, the better the scene, though smaller places with large student populations—like Bologna or Perugia—can punch above their weight. There are slim pickings outside Italy's urban areas, though big seaside resorts like Rimini come alive with clubs, discos, and open-air concerts in the summer.

Aperitivo culture is especially popular in the north of Italy—particularly in Milan and Turin—with the peak of the action generally falling between seven and eight in the evening. Classic aperitivos include prosecco (dry sparkling white wine) or the Negroni, a cocktail that, in its purest, torinese form, is one-third gin, one-third Campari, and one-third Punt e Mes (elsewhere, sweet vermouth is substituted for this Piedmontese liqueur). But there are also regional variants, such as the Venetian spritz: white wine, Campari, and soda water, with a twist of orange. Aperitivos are generally served with free food, which can range from olives and nuts to full buffet spreads.

Dance clubs, jazz clubs, and some of the smaller live-music venues will often charge an entrance fee that includes one drink. Dress codes are rarely imposed, except in some of the swankiest hotel bars. Note that, as used by Italians, the word "bar" refers mostly to the daytime café; if it's open later and is oriented more toward alcohol than caffeine, it'll probably call itself a "wine bar" or (if beer's the thing) a "pub." The term "locale" (as in "locale di tendenza", or cutting-edge venue) covers evening bars, music venues, and dance clubs.

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Gasoline, Milan

When you've had it up to here with the fashion crowd, head for Gasoline, a small but peppy club near Corso Como that celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2006....more

see the Milan guide
Editors' Pick
Goa, Rome

When Leo and crew were in Rome to shoot Gangs of New York, they came to Goa postfilming to let off steam. The ethno-chic club in the down-at-heel-looking but...more

see the Rome guide
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H Club at Diana Majestic, Milan

Every year, style mavens in town for fashion or furniture week agree that the famed garden bar of the Sheraton Diana Majestic hotel has become "impossible," and...more

see the Milan guide
Editors' Pick
Il Baretto, Milan

Tourists might be attracted by Milan's new fashion-brand bars, like the tiny Gucci terrace outside the label's miniboutique inside the Galleria, or Dolce &...more

see the Milan guide
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I Visacci, Florence

This cozy watering hole in the eastern reaches of the Santa Croce area pretty much defines the neighborhood's neo-boho vibe. It's open from mid-morning on and...more

see the Florence guide
Editors' Pick
Jazz Club, Florence

While not in any way on a par with the clubs of New York or London, this smoky dive without the smoking (which is now banned in Italy except at home or on the...more

see the Florence guide
Editors' Pick
La Maison, Rome

You may have some trouble getting past the obnoxious doormen, which only enhances the pleasure and surprise if you're successful. Because, despite being the...more

see the Rome guide
Editors' Pick
La Vineria, Rome

Campo de' Fiori is one big drinking spot, but this wine bar was the first, and remains the best. While rowdy groups of visiting students pile into the other...more

see the Rome guide
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The Lounge, Florence

Upstairs in this bar-restaurant attached to JK Place, the mood is contemporary retro; it feels like a cool private members' club, enlivened by huge mirrors and...more

see the Florence guide
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Micca Club, Rome

Micca Club is in an immense underground space in a residential district not far from the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. The program is all-encompassing,...more

see the Rome guide
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Results 11-20 of 31  | previous   1 2 3 4 next
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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