Excited about our upcoming trip to Venice, my first time. Been reading all about cicchetti and really want to partake. Only concern is that I don’t drink alcohol. Is it a major faux pas to partake in this tradition without wine or other spirits? Is there another option? I don’t want to offend anyone. I will skip if it is not done.
Nobody cares what others drink or don't drink.
You might try a Crodino. Non alcoholic, and common in Italy.
For God's sake people stop thinking you can offend anyone! Nobody cares about you, what you drink and eat or about the way you dress! Relax: If having cicchetti were such an important tradition, you would not be allowed to partake. It's just a way to eat something different while chatting with friends.
The only way you have to offend locals is to start speaking loud in English without saying "Sorry" in Italian first. Nevertheless, The guy on the other side of the bar was a tourist like you at least once in his life and will forgive you.
Or saying "Ciao!" to an 80 years old as if he/she was an old friend of yours.
Are there other options? Do you really think all Italians are the same and only drink wine and espresso? Drink whatever you want. Still or sparkling water, juices, soft drinks... what would you drink at home in a similar situation?
Although, hoping fir Mountain Dew or Dr Pepper may be a step too far.
I didn't mean to imply Italians don't drink anything other than wine or espresso. From what I read and saw, I was honestly under the impression that it was something eaten with wine or at wine bars. Thank you for clarifying. On a side note: I did learn a couple of years ago in Switzerland that it's definitely not a good idea (for your stomach) to eat raclette with water.
I don't drink and I visit a few favourite Cicchetti bars every time I visit Venice. Never had any issues whatsoever.