Fabulous historic Italian Cafes and Bars to visit

Some of the most beloved Caffè and Bars in Italy to visit

Rome - what a variety of Caffè experiences !

Even in Rome, the Caffè/bar is an institution. Here we meet, we do business and it is here that we sip a coffee or a cappuccino, standing at the counter or sitting at the tables.

Considered by most people as the best Caffè in Rome is the famous Caffè Sant' Eustachio. The quality of the coffee served by Sant’Eustachio is the result of a strictly secret  combination. The Caffè itself is not very large, there are only two counters to serve customers  and, when the weather permits, there are some tables outside.

Another recommendation is  Caffè Rosati, on Piazza del Popolo. 

Rosati was famous during the Dolce Vita times of Rome. Here in the 1950s, you could meet Pier Paolo Pasolini and Elsa Morante, but also many young painters and filmmakers, all immersed in an atmosphere of cultural liveliness.

An iconic place where VIPs and well-known faces from the world of entertainment and politics sit at the tables. The view is excellent and the quality of the coffee is outstanding. The other Caffè on Piazza di Popolo is the Caffè Canova. The local Romans are either loyal to the Caffè/Bar Rosati or the Caffè/Bar Canova. But both have a great ambiance and service. For years, during the fifties, you went to Rosati or Canova in Piazza del Popolo where writers and artists met to talk about their work. Just imagine, how many ideas  for books, or film scripts were born here, how many discussions that would end up in the newspapers the next day, on artistic and literary trends.

The Stravinsky Bar in the Hotel de Russie, just a stone's throw from Rosati's in via del Babuino, offers a different kind of experience. The internal garden of this splendid hotel is well worth a visit. This is the "to see and be seen" place in Rome: an exclusive classic-contemporary meeting point of one of the best five-star hotels in the city, dating back to 1800 and elegantly renovated. The Ocean 'twelve crew with Brad Pitt in the lead had taken a whole floor of the hotel during the filming of the film. 

Other call-outs are the Antico Caffè  Greco, a roman institution on Via Condotti. Every morning, the famous painter Giorgio de Chirico went to drink  his cappuccino,  and used to say "Antico Caffè Greco is the only place where you can sit and wait for the end of the world". Not far from there, the elegant Caffè Ciampini is located, where well dressed Romans from business and fashion love to go for their breakfast or aperitivo.

Milan - the business city with some of the most chic Caffès

Among the many categories of places that intrigue and attract visitors, historic cafés have great relevance both because they are the protagonists and creators of pages in the history of Milan and for the famous people who have frequented them, making them in fact "historic". Opened as a restaurant and bottle shop in 1867 by Gaspare Campari, only in 1915 did it become the Camparino Bar. It is a symbol of Milanese culture located between the Duomo and the Gallery, where Verdi and Boito, Puccini, Illica and Giacosa stopped after the performances at La Scala. King Umberto I and Edward VII of England drank the Bitter at the counter, which inspired the famous poster-advertisements of Cappiello, Nizzoli, Dudovich, Depero. The Futurists frequented it, with Marinetti and Boccioni.

In 1928 Angelo Motta, after returning from the war, invested his savings to open the Bar Motta, entirely designed and furnished by the architect Melchiorre Bega.  Bega's interior design that combines the Italian tradition with a strong dose of futuristic innovation, helped to define the identity of the characteristic Italian bar, known all over the world. For three generations, Caffè Motta has represented a meeting point, both for the bourgeoisie and for students, intellectuals and artists. The refined pastry shop of Bar Motta is the undisputed protagonist of  the Sunday outing after Mass in the Cathedral, for families to buy desserts for lunch. The restaurant on the upper floor - the current Terrazza Aperol , is where Milan celebrates weddings, baptisms and other important events as well.

The  Ginrosa Café/bar has more a history of cocktails than of coffee, but is rightfully part of the historic Café places of Milan to visit due to its central role in the events of the city. After the unification of Italy, two Venetian-style palaces were erected in the central Piazza San Babila in honor of the lagoon city. In one of these, the Bottiglieria del Leone was opened, an ancient and first bar in the Piazza, famous for its wines and brandy. In 2000, the management passed to the De Luca family who manage the business in the premises located inside the San Babila Gallery, premises that have preserved the historic traditions. Including the tradition of producing the world famous Aperitif, with its secret formula. This is one of the few authentic historic Milanese places, an intimate corner ideal for a break outside the hustle and bustle of the city center.

The Magenta Bar is an icon of the city, like the Duomo and the Sforza Castle are. Located on the corner between Via Carducci and Corso Magenta, this bar is frequented by a diverse range of people, from the icons of aristocratic Milan to young university students, from famous or unknown artists to entrepreneurs and businessmen. Going to the Magenta is not just a must but should be also a daily routine.

Born in 1867, the Savini, located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, still has the same importance for the city of Milan as the Duomo and the Scala. Since its inception, it became the most elegant place in Milan, a lounge for important personalities, writers and journalists to meet: G. Verdi, G. Puccini, P. Mascagni, A. Toscanini, E. Duse and Sacha Guitry, A. Boito, G. D'Annunzio, G. Verga, Mosè Bianchi, L.Capuana, and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who left behind the Futurist Movement Manifesto at Savini, published in 1909 in Le Figaro. And again Maria Callas, to Luchino Visconti, Charlie Chaplin, Ranieri and Grace of Monaco, Erich Maria Remarque, Lana Turner, Jean Gabin, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Carla Fracci, Henry Ford, Peppino de Filippo and the great Antonio De Curtis, in art Totò all were past guests of the Savini. In 2008, the Savini was taken over by the Gatto family who had the spaces redecorated, separating the caffé bistro from the famous gourmet restaurant, which is still located on the first floor today, with a  food boutique in the basement.

The Caffé Cova was founded in 1817 by Antonia Cova, a Napoleonic Soldier and is therefore Milan's oldest pasticceria. It has always been celebrated for its product excellence, impeccable service and exquisite interiors. It has since the early days been a fashionable place to go to after the theatre. During the Risorgimento, it was the place where patriots met for a rendezvous. Famous people have always been frequent guests such as Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Eleonora Duse, but also writers such as Gabriele D’Annunzio and Ernest Hemingway, actors like Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin and impressive figures such as Henry Ford, Ranieri and Grace of Monaco have been guests. In 1993, Cova inaugurated its first venue in Hong Kong, beginning its worldwide expansion. Today Cova, part of the LVMH Group since 2013, is present in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Monte Carlo and Dubai, recreating the traditional Italian combination of creativity and elegance around the world.

Florence offering a multitude of romantic Caffè options

From Piazza della Signoria to Via della Spada, passing through Piazza della Repubblica, the key 5 legendary cafes of Florence are still around these days.  Florence is known for is historic and cultured soul, which you encounter at every corner. To relive the atmosphere and excitement of the famous literary circles, for example, just sit at the table of one of its historic cafes. There is most certainly no better location than the Caffé Rivoire: in front of Palazzo Vecchio. Il Rivoire was born 1879, when Enrico Rivoire a Chocolatier of the Savoy royal family established his Cafe. It soon became a cult meeting place, and is  still today an elegant place to  choose it for its spectacular view, but also for the famous Florentines who patronized the cafe in the past. Why do you not take a seat and enjoy a lovely break with their famous hot chocolate and of their renowned pastries.

Some of Italy’s most important political and literary moments of the 1800s and early 1900s took place in its literary cafes. Not only were several of the artistic and cultural movements, such as the futurismo fiorentino, initiated in the cozy atmosphere of these prestigious coffee houses, but it is also here that the new liberal ideas that led to the independence of Italy were being discussed.

One of the oldest cafès of Italy, Caffè Gilli was founded in 1733 by a Swiss eponymous family who opened the Bottega dei Pani Dolci (The sweet breads Boutique) on Via de’ Calzaiuoli, at number 100-104, more precisely on the segment of the street then known as Corso degli Adimari. In 1848, Caffè Gilli became a local nerve center for the Florentine intellectuals. It is here that the new liberal ideas and plans for independence were being discussed. When Florence became the capital of Italy, between 1865 and 1871, the clientele of the café became even more political and prestigious.Soon Caffè Gilli also became a meeting place for Florentine artists such as Silvio Polloni (painter and designer), Egisto Ferroni (painter) and Emilio Pucci (fashion designer and politician).

The Caffé  Concerto Paszkowski  is the third Caffè of the golden triangle around Piazza della Repubblica. The Caffè Concerto Paszkowski was born in the same premises as Caffè Centrale, one of the first cafés in Piazza della Repubblica.

In 1903, the restaurant took the name Paszkowski thanks to the acquisition by the company Carlo Paszkowski & C., pioneers of the beer industry in Italy. It added brewery refreshments to its menu, accompanying the Florentine evenings with the formula of "coffee concert". Already in the early twentieth century, Caffè Paszkowski established itself as a literary café, welcoming intellectuals such as Prezzolini, D’Annunzio, Soffici, Papini, Montale, Saba and Pratolini. The Paszkowski Concerto Coffee represents an elegant stage and a lounge in the heart of the city of Florence.  The inevitable piano continues to play, under the gaze of tourists and citizens around shopping.

Le Giubbe Rosse, the historic Florentine literary caffé was a famous meeting place, during the 1900s, of poets, artists and intellectuals including Marinetti and the futurists, and then Montale, Saba, Gadda and Vittorini, It closed in 2019 and will reopen in the spring of 2020 with a renewed look that will revive the 'futuristic' atmosphere of the past. This was announced by Scudieri International srl, a company owned by Sielna spa, both based in Florence. The Group owns other historic cafes and restaurants in Florence, Milan, Rome and Siena.

The legendary Caffé Giacosa, previously known as the Caffé Casoni, was established in 1815, and is believed to be the place where the famous Negroni cocktail was invented.

The Giacosa remained a worldly symbol of the city until its closure in 2001. In 2002, Roberto Cavalli modernized the historic café, replacing the marble counters and floor with wood, and reopened it alongside his clothing store.  Fifteen years later, both boutique and Caffé are closed. Now entering its third life, visitors can find trace of its previous reincarnation, such as the original wrought iron chairs, and even sip a warm beverage from the actual porcelain cups from Cavalli’s version of Caffè Giacosa at the new Caffè Lietta on Piazza della Liberta. Thanks to designer’s Roberto Cavalli’s nieces, Florence’s historic Caffè Giacosa, is the inspiration for the brand-new Caffè Lietta. Reimagined by the two sisters, Francesca and Lucilla Tacconi, Caffè Lietta opens as a remake of their uncle’s Caffe Giacosa, with a new appearance and keeping the original Giacosa staff, from the pastry makers to the chef, the two women hope to maintain the long and precious legacy of the café, while also adding their own unique touches.


Venice - the origins of the Italian Caffé

The Florian is considered the oldest Caffé in Europe, a symbol of the city of Venice. It was opened on 29th December 1720 by Floriano Francesconi as “Alla Venezia Trionfante” (Triumphant Venice), although the clientele subsequently rechristened it “Caffè Florian” in honour of its owner. The Caffè witnessed the grandeur and the fall of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, including the secret conspiracies against French and then Austrian rule. During the 1848 uprising the wounded were treated in its elegant rooms. From the opening,  Caffè Florian has had an alluring clientele, including Goldoni, Giuseppe Parini, Silvio Pellico and many others. Besides being the most famous coffeehouse, Caffè Florian was the only meeting place of the time that admitted women, which explains why Casanova chose it as his “hunting ground” in his continuing quest for female company.

 With its presence under the Procuratie Nuove in St Mark's Square, it was and still is today, the the most elegant  Caffé in Venice, to sip your coffee or aperitivo and watch the world go by.



Grancaffè Quadri was first opened in 1638 with the name Il Rimedio (The Remedy), due to the fact that it served Malvasia wine, commonly believed to enliven both the body and spirit.

In 1775, Giorgio Quadri, arrived in Venice from Corfu and purchased the Il Rimedio and began serving Turkish coffee.

In 1830, Caffè Quadri was purchased by the Vaerini brothers, who restored the café and added a restaurant upstairs, Ristorante Quadri.  With the arrival of the Alajmo family in 2011, Quadri regained its former allure and in early 2018 the caffè underwent a major restoration led by the French creator Philippe Starck and a team of top Venetian artisans. A transformation revealing the original magic of the place in a romantic and slightly surrealistic atmosphere.

Naples with the original Neapolitan coffee

The best coffee in Naples can be drunk in the bars of the city that prepare it according to its essential characteristics: black, boiling and not very sweet. Neapolitan coffee is a true legend and it is necessary to come to Naples, the undisputed capital of "black gold", to taste one of the best coffees in the world, prepared with great respect for tradition. Naples has many many outstanding caffés, as coffee is part of the DNA of Napoli, hence we can only feature a few of them. Siamo molto dispiaciuti! 

Beautiful, majestic and rich in history, Caffè Gambrinus is a real museum. The interiors of the renowned caffé, established in 1860, are elegant with ornate walls and period paintings, and the coffee is sublime, a work of art, as evidenced by the large influx of customers. In addition to the classic blend, the 'supergolosi' with chocolate, hazelnuts and cream must be tried, accompanied by the famous freshly baked sfogliatella. The Gran Caffè Gambrinus is practicing the art of the Neapolitan coffee tradition. Since at least 1800, coffee has been more than just a drink in Naples, a ritual habit which is deeply rooted in every social class, part of everyone's daily routine.

At Piazza Carità, there is the Ceraldi Caffè, another established back in the 70s in Piazza Garibaldi and having moved to its current location 15 years ago. A large counter filled with babas, puff pastries and desserts of all kinds, always fresh and homemade, and an unmistakable aroma of coffee will welcome you. In addition to the quality of the Kimbo blend used, particular attention and care is paid to every phase of the preparation of the black drink, starting from the espresso machine up to the mastery of the bartender who serves it. In addition to the classic, Michelino coffee with brown sugar and buffalo milk cream is also worth trying.

Centrale del Caffè has three coffee shops in Naples, respectively in via Benedetto Croce, via Porta di Massa and Piazza Garibaldi and offers several fine blends of fresh ground coffee. It is possible to choose between Santos (sweet, balanced and intense aroma), the Espresso Napoletano blend (creamy and with a rich and balanced taste) and Guatemala (full-bodied and with a light tobacco aroma). You just have to choose your favorite and enjoy an authentic taste break, with the opportunity to buy all the specialties and repeat the pleasure experience even at home.

Featuring the Sicilian Caffé in Palermo

In Palermo you can not only drink exceptional espresso, but you can also try some unusual coffee-based alternatives, such as granita al caffè (frozen ice with coffee and whipped cream) or gran caffè (a cappuccino without milk).

To complement your coffee,  you can choose some of the most splendid Sicilian pastries, for example the famous Cassata dessert (a sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with ricotta cheese and chocolate chips) or the Sicilian cannoli stuffed with ricotta cheese and pistachio.


The Pasticerria Matranga  in Via Sciuti, is one of the best known pastry shops in Palermo. Breakfast becomes a heavily experience with the type of pastries to choose from. The two cult delicacies of the Matranga family: Belem pasta with cream and cinnamon, inspired by the famous Lisbon dessert, and the inevitable Lunettes. It is a baked caramelized puff pastry, created over 20 years ago, with different fillings: pears and walnuts, chocolate, yellow cream, ricotta, apple and cinnamon. For those who prefer the classic cornetto, there is no shortage of artisan cornettos prepared every day in their bakery, visible from a glass window in the center of the room.

The Bar Marocco is right in front of the Cathedral of Palermo, one of the most beautiful monuments in the city.  The Bar Marocco opened in 1936 offering customers and tourists from all over the world the opportunity to have a coffee, taste the famous pastries or their ice cream while admiring the Cathedral in all its splendor.The bar has earned the trust of many of its guests through the years thanks to its fresh and delicious desserts and sweet treats, including the famous Iris: a deep-fried sweet dough filled with ricotta cream and chocolate flakes. 

In the heart of the city, the Antico Caffè Spinnato in via Principe di Belmonte continues to be one of the ideal meeting places to spend time  with friends or colleagues in a relaxing and elgeant atmosphere. Spinnato was founded back in the 1860. Spinnato is considered one of the best patisseries in Palermo: it offers traditional Sicilian deli specialities and a light lunch menu.Their second Caffé, in the central Piazza Castelnuovo, welcomes with its delicious specialties for breakfast, lunch and aperitif. But you have to try their ice cream-filled brioche or the traditional cassata.

Having said that for the Spinnato family, coffee is at their core and hence a famous coffee dessert, called Spinnato cannot be missing. It is a dessert with a biscuit base, strictly coffee-based, with a creamy coffee and lemon filling and a 50% chocolate mousse.

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