I took my son to volleyball practice today on the other side of town, and there just wasn't enough time to go home and get back by 8:00. So I headed to the auditorium instead, Rome's newest wonder by architect Renzo Piano, where I sat at a very chic bar with an ice tea and concentrated on my "Italian composition". When I looked back up, the tables were occupied with....happy hour. WHAT! yes, happy hour has conquered Rome.
But with a difference. Food accompanies the booze. After 6:30, for 10 euros, you can get a drink with a plate of buffet food - not just chips and peanuts, real food, pasta and rice salads, little shrimps, sandwiches and such. It's not called "supper", although that is what it is for those off to a concert, but an "aperativo", thereby circumventing the "non si fa" rule about never putting all of your food on one plate, which is ok for an aperativo but not for a meal -- marketing genius.
Eating and drinking still go hand in hand. They haven't been separated into eating and then going out with friends to drink (at a bar) or drinking (happy hour) and then going on to eat.
THe question is, will we learn from them or will they (unfortunately) learn from us......see you in 10 years!