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7 Ways To Transform Your Toronto Apartment Into Your Favourite Italian Vacation Spot

It doesn't have to be complicated.
Contributing Staff Writer
7 Ways To Transform Your Toronto Apartment Into Your Favourite Italian Vacation Spot

From the dramatic cliffsides of the Amalfi Coast to the patchwork of vineyards that line the Tuscan countryside, Italy has become the place to visit over the last few years. However, with travel restrictions across the country, we can't marvel at the Colosseum in person, take a gondola ride through the narrow canals of Venice or eat mouthfuls of fresh pasta al dente in Rome. 

But just because you can’t go to Italy right now, doesn’t mean that a little Italy can’t come to you. There are tons of ways to make your apartment the ultimate Italian vacation destination — from mastering the art of aperitivo to turning your outdoor space into your very own Roman piazza — even if you're not actually leaving home. 

With Martini Fiero, you can recreate the perfect Italian ambiance in your apartment. The new, 100% natural, wine-based aperitif is a blend of citrus and bittersweet orange with crisp white wines that's ideal for cocktail-making during one of the most enjoyable everyday Italian traditions: aperitivo

The drink's fiery colour and zesty, fruity flavours make a great aperitif as the hero of its signature serve, the Martini Fiero Spritz. It's excellent for enjoying on your own or virtually sharing with friends during the 5-8 p.m. "golden hour" — when the love of food, drink and conversation come together.

So if you’re dreaming about visiting Italy, go on and mix cocktails, set the mood with the right music, and get cooking. 

Master The Art Of Northern Italy's Aperitivo, The Right Way To Do Happy Hour

Is there any Italian tradition as wonderful as the aperitivo? The light pre-dinner cocktail takes place during golden-hour when you sit in a café, preferably al fresco, and catch up with friends while sipping away and nibbling on appetizers. It's a scene that truly embodies la dolce vita, or the sweet life.

So how can you bring some of this easygoing atmosphere to your home bar? A great starting point is the tasty Martini Fiero Spritz, a refreshing cocktail featuring an aromatized wine with the essence of Mediterranean citrus fruits and blood oranges:

  • 2 oz Martini Fiero
  • 2 oz Martini Prosecco
  • 1 oz soda water
  • Serve over ice in a balloon glass & garnish with an orange slice

The fruity notes of Martini Fiero are enhanced by savoury, salty foods. Put together a selection of mixed black and green olives, Italian cured meats, and Parmigiano-Reggiano to nibble on. Gather your roommates, or call some friends, and say "cin cin" over drinks and appetizers.

Emulate Bologna's Markets & Fill Your Kitchen With Fresh Local Food

When they're not picking fruit and vegetables from their own gardens, Italians buy fresh produce. In Bologna, locals stroll the narrow streets of the oldest market in the area, the Quadrilatero, and buy what they need for the day's meals such as fresh-baked bread, cured meats, pastries, pasta, and seafood.

The sense of community between farmers, butchers, fishmongers, and customers is the way of life in Italy. You can get the same effect by seeking out small vendors and farmers near you like at St.Lawrence Market. But all it takes to transport you to this exhilarating atmosphere is a single sip of a Martini Fiero cocktail packed with the fresh aroma and zestiness of blood oranges.

Bring The Amalfi Coast Home With Modern Italian Decor

Conjure the sunshine and airy vacation vibes of the Amalfi Coast at home with a little redecorating — no passport needed.

Simple decor swaps like linen sheets, a natural jute rug (think warm sandy shorelines), and a whitewashed colour palette accented by yellows, blues and reds — colours that emulate the luscious and dramatic natural landscape of this coastal region and have become typical of the Italian palette — will have your apartment feeling like a seaside hotel in no time.

When it comes to plants, choose an orange or lemon tree in a terracotta pot, and for your balcony, add a string of fairy lights. It won't turn your outdoor space into an actual Italian piazza (sadly), but it will make you feel that much closer.

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Marvel At Italian Scenery By Turning Your Living Room Into Florence's Uffizi Gallery

While the best way to bring some Italian scenery into your home has traditionally been wall murals, we're not all blessed with lenient landlords that would let us go wild with paint.

If that's the case for you, look for pieces of art that tie in with your theme. Think: the Uffizi in Florence. This museum doesn't simply house some of the most venerated masterpieces in art history, the building itself is a world wonder set in the city that gave birth to the Renaissance.

You can buy affordable canvas wall art on Etsy or, if you're talented with a paintbrush, try your hand at recreating a famous Italian painting, like The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli or even Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

Fill Your Kitchen Table With The Flavours Of Calabria 

If you want to capture the true Italian spirit, you can start by preparing (and safely sharing) good food. Thankfully, many beloved nonnas have passed down their culinary pearls of wisdom generation after generation, so you can replicate the techniques used to make some of the best Calabrian dishes at home.

The golden rules of Italian cooking — like cook from the heart, less is more, serve slowly, and don't waste a thing — also apply to simple aperitivo foods that are perfect for gathering your famiglia around the table after work (virtually, if needed).

Pair a Martini Fiero Spritz with Calabrese salami, sott'olio (vegetables in olive oil), Pecorino Calabrese cheese, pepperoncini and, because the region is surrounded by the sea, some sort of fish or seafood for a Calabrian-inspired meal.

Set Up Your Balcony To Dine Al Fresco, Milan-Style

You don't have to visit Milan to bask in the sunshine over lunch or sip prosecco by candlelight. As the days are getting longer, you're probably itching to bask in the sunlight, and the crisp winter air doesn't have to stop you — it's called al fresco after all. Just grab a portable space heater and bundle up with your favourite person to enjoy the golden hour.

In any case, whether you're dining with a partner, a roommate or on your own, finding the right patio and deck dining set will make eating outside feel like a dreamy Italian getaway.

Need to swap out your bean bag for something a little more... romantic? Try adding a couple of ruby red garden chairs and a mini orange tree to set the scene and bring Milan's summer garden restaurants to your balcony.

Now just pretend your view of Lake Ontario is Lake Como and you're all set.

Discover Your Favourite Aperitivo Cocktail & Food Pairings

Once you've tried (and loved) the Martini Fiero Spritz, why not experiment with a few more cocktail recipes? Go beyond the Spritz by tasting all the different variants of this delightfully versatile classic, featuring a splash of prosecco to keeps things light and refreshing:

  • 2 oz Martini Prosecco
  • 2 oz Martini Fiero
  • 1 oz Gingerbeer
  • 1 orange wedge

You can also try a zestier version of this cocktail, called the Garibaldi. While your tomato sauce simmers away, you can whip up this fruity drink to enjoy in a champagne flute over ice:

  • 2 oz Martini Fiero
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • A splash of simple syrup

For food pairings, keep things simple and classic. Combine elements from all around Italy, like chickpea flatbread (Liguria) and arancini (Sicily), with crostini, herby marinated olives, and homemade aioli.

Good conversation, great food, laughing with loved ones, taking time to notice the simple pleasures — these are the keys to incorporating a little bit of Italy into your home.

And when you enjoy these special moments on your Toronto balcony overlooking the city's golden hour, take Martini Fiero with you. The 100% natural, wine-based aperitif is the perfect addition to your DIY Italian aperitivo.

To learn more about Martini Fiero, check out their website or find their products at your local LCBO.

Narcity does not condone the overconsumption of alcohol. If you are going to drink alcohol, please do so responsibly and only if you’re of legal age.

    Jennifer Browne
    Contributing Staff Writer
    Jennifer Browne is a Contributing Staff Writer for the Studio department focused on sponsored content and is based in Toronto, Canada.