So I had this idea that Italians don’t get drunk. I know that they definitely drink. I have been to bars still packed in the early hours of the morning, I have found a lunchtime spritz or prosecco is perfectly acceptable, even occasionally at work, and beer or wine is available nearly everywhere: lunchtime village festivals, lunchtime on holiday, the Ikea restaurant, even at the autostrada (highway) restaurants (because that is safe). But in every situation, the Italians appear the epitome of restraint. There may be multiple opportunities to imbibe a cheeky beverage, but it would be small or there would only be one.
And then we went to Vinitaly last weekend. And, by the time we were exciting the pavilion at the end of the evening, I had revised my previous opinion. Drunk Italians were visible for miles, it was such an extraordinary sight!
Vinitaly is a trade show for wine, held in a massive convention centre in Verona. Each area of Italy has its own compound, but over an area so vast and with so many wine producers that we only managed to make it to Trentino, Sicily, Tuscany and Campania. Strangely enough, for an event involving wine in Italy, there was barely any food to be found. We bought terrible sandwiches from a Panini Bar but saw neither the flake of a chip nor a cracker crumb anywhere near the wine tastings themselves. Hence, drunk Italians.
The wine tastings were quite effective, even after the few hours we were there. So we, and the friends we had gone with, were all grateful for the dinner we found in Verona afterwards. Even if it wasn’t big enough. Rule number one post wine: find pizza.