Let’s be honest, the Italians have really killed when it comes to doing life right. From their damn delicious food creations (we’re looking at you cannoli, gnocchi, pizza and yep, literally every Italian food ever) to their ground-breaking fashion (Versace, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, anyone?), they win.
The Italianos also know how to have a bloody good time. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Bontempo to let you in on how to live the sweet life if you can’t afford the flight. Because let’s be real, we’d rather spend our money on food.
#1 Hire A Vespa
No explanation needed.
#2 Caffeinate Then Re-Caffeinate
Italians basically invented coffee (we said basically!), so you’re going to need to drown yourself in the strongest coffee out to start your day. Pelligrini’s or Alimentari are two of our top picks for classic espresso bar vibes but you can’t miss Bontempo if you’re looking for a caffeine hit after 5pm (or just want an espresso martini).
#3 Beat Your Mates At Bocce
No Italian day out would be complete without a game of the nation’s most loved sport, Bocce. There are a few council grounds scattered around Melbourne (get the lowdown here) and plenty of sporting clubs offer social games on the reg (check out the St Kilda Club) but if that all sounds too hard, Games On The Green will bring bocce to you.
#4 Spritz Yourself
As soon as you’re in need of an alcoholic bev, choose a spritz. While you can get an Aperol at just about any bar
in town the world, Bontempo does one of the best in Melbourne (as well as $5 house wine and $9 pints!). If you’re feeling experimental, check out Bar Carlo and taste your new fave liqueur, Leone. It's the new Aperol. You can enjoy it as a mojito cocktail, over ice with a splash of soda, or as a Spritz, and Bar Carlo are the only ones in town who stock it. Take your pick.
#5 Eat Your Weight In Pizza (And Pasta!) At Bontempo
Fact: no one knows how to feast quite like the Italians do. Perfect for a long dinner with your friends or Saturday night birthday party, Bontempo serves some of the most authentic Italian food in town. From the team behind Fratellino Pizzeria in South Yarra, this carb-tastic place has a wood-fired oven imported directly from Italy, and an epic open-format space that caters for large groups and (you guessed it) feasting! With options for vegetarians and vegans alike, no matter what you order (the house-made gnocchi and fettucini gamberoni are a must) you’re in good hands. So why not order one of everything? FYI the Bont, Zucca and Angello pizzas are our fave! If you can’t decide, there’s whole heap of pizza packages that will solve every group-dining problem to ever exist.
#6 Act Like An Adult At The Opera
There’s something about going to the opera that makes us feel all grown up, and we’re dead serious when we say Italian opera is one of our faves. Lucky for us, you can catch Verdi’s La Traviata or Puccini’s Tosca at the Arts Centre Melbourne RN and we strongly suggest you do.
#7 Check Out The Italian Museum
Guys. You might not believe it but The Italian Museum delivers the goods. From the free curated guides of the exhibition (with tea AND biscotti!) to cook-offs with Nonnas from all over Melbourne, get to know things you never knew about Italy in a totally laid back (yet informative) way.
#8 Treat Yo'self To Gelato For Breakfast
All your childhood dreams are about to come true because we’re totally giving you permission to eat gelato for breakfast. It might not be the true Italian way of life but, LBH, it should be. Compa in Fitzroy do an epic Sicilian ‘Gelato con brioche’—literally huge scoops of gelato stuffed inside a fresh-baked brioche bun—that you absolutely need to wrap your lips around. But if you prefer your ice cream on a cone, head to good old Pidapipo.
#9 Don't Go To Sleep Until You've Had A Negroni
If you want a deep sleep (you know, the kind where you wake up fresh as a daisy the next day), a nightcap is an absolute necessity. Negroni is the only way, obvs. They're doing an absinthe Negroni at Absinthia if you're after something quirky. Careful though, it's got a hell of a kick.
Editors note: This article is sponsored by Bontempo and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Griffin Simm