Nightlife in Italy

General information and tips

Italians are gregarious by nature and their lifestyle revolves almost exclusively around socialising. All towns and cities are constructed around squares ( piazze), where people meet and congregate, particularly in the evenings.

Bars and cafés remain open long into the evening, often into the small hours (see below). Many bars in major cities have live music in the evenings and in recent years many ‘pubs’ have opened.

These are more sophisticated than a typical British or Irish pub – more like a nightclub without the music – and drinks are usually expensive. British and Irish bars have also recently appeared on the scene, particularly in Rome and northern cities.

Discos ( discoteche) in Italy tend to be enormous establishments on several floors with different kinds of music in different areas. Unfortunately, the prices are usually equally gargantuan.

In towns and small cities you can expect to pay around €25 for entry, although in large cities or on the Italian Riviera you can pay up to €100! As a small recompense, your first drink is usually included in the entrance fee, although subsequent drinks may cost between €5 and €20. Most discos are open from around 10.30pm until the small hours, although there are also discos on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for the under 16s.

Nightclubs ( locali notturni) are generally smaller and less expensive than discos, with entrance occasionally free or up to around €15. The choice of music is more limited in nightclubs and the clientele tends to be older. In the major cities there’s also a wide variety of gay and lesbian bars and clubs.

Local newspapers and entertainment magazines are the best source of information on nightlife, particularly in the major cities where the most ‘in’ places change constantly. Local government departments also publish information about local entertainment.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Italy. Click here to get a copy now.

Further reading

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