There’s an old saying that to prove their worth, a wealthy Milanese family should have three things: a pew in the Duomo cathedral, box seats at La Scala Opera House and a family tomb at the Cimitero Monumentale. And no other family tomb is more appropriately monumental than the Campari clan’s: a life-size, 3-D bronze replica of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper, which gives the tomb its nickname, The Last Aperitivo.
Back in 1860, Gaspare Campari invented the bright red, mid-proof aperitif that granted his family an everlasting place in Milan’s moneyed aristocracy. Today it’s more in fashion than ever, thanks to the fact that the Negroni is having a moment. Despite this century-old tradition, it hasn’t always been easy to drink well in Milan, with a few notable exceptions. Luckily, things have improved dramatically over the past couple of years, and along with those timeless classics, a new wave of great drinking options has emerged: enoteche focused on natural wines from small, artisanal producers have opened around the city; craft beer has become almost ubiquitous; and aperitivo has evolved from quantity to quality. In the past, the most popular aperitivo places served huge buffets of salumi and formaggi that had more in common with plastic than just the wrap. But today, many venues are offering interesting lists of classic and signature cocktails, along with good-quality bites made to order. —Sara Porro