Italian word for aperitif, an aperitivo is much more than a drink as an appetizer before a meal.
Its ritual varies from city to city and from region to region.
It can be as frugal as a soft drink accompanied with some olives, crisps, peanuts and crackers or as majestic as a buffet-style treat enjoyed with the fanciest and trendiest cocktails in Milano. Definitely recommended in the Navigli area.
Well beyond the simple act of eating and drinking, an Italian aperitivo is usually consumed in a bar or club and it's the perfect moment for socializing and relaxing after a busy working day. Sometimes it lasts for hours, effectively substituting an actual meal.
The perfect time for the perfect aperitivo is subject to endless debate, most people start from 7 or 8pm, fully exploiting some places' happy hour.