Food In Italy
Living In Italy

Coffee In Italy Is A Cultural Ritual

Many things are associated with Italy, but few are as synonymous as coffee. So much so, that all coffee terminology most people are familiar with regarding coffee are in fact, Italian. Although coffee did not originate in Italy, Italy has redefined its sinew into the core of modern society.

You’ve heard the terms before; “espresso,” “latté,” ”cappuccino,” “doppio,” and yes, even “corto.” All these terms were nascent in Italian culture after the Siege of Vienna when the Ottomans failed to take the city and left behind coffee beans. It is rumored that some of the coffee beans were somehow set alight and the aroma piqued someone’s interest, and after experimenting, coffee as a staple in Italy was born.

While coffee is ubiquitous in Italy, certain cities stand out as bastions of Italian coffee. Trieste, Venice, and of course, Napoli and  Rome. Confined within these different Italian provinces are renown cafés that are associated with coffee culture.

In Napoli is located The Gran Caffè Gambrinus is a historic place in Naples located in via Chiaia. Its name derives from the mythological king of Flanders Gambrinus, considered the patron saint of beer. The Gran Caffè Gambrinus is among the top ten coffees in Italy.

In Venice’s famous Piazza San Marco sits one of the oldest cafés in Europe; Caffè Florian. Established in 1720, it holds the distinction of being the oldest café in continuous operation in Italy. It has become a staple for locals and every coffee drinker aware of its history.

Caffè Florian is a great place to spend an hour or two after walking the streets of Venice or enjoying a tour of its canals in a Gondola. Enjoying coffees, teas, and pastries in this ornately decorated establishment will cap the perfect afternoon before going back to your hotel to relax and going out to dinner.

Trieste, a city that borders the Adriatic Sea, is home to Caffè Tommaseo, which opened its doors in 1830, during its tenure as a part of the Hapsburg Empire. The café presents itself more as a restaurant with its furnishings, and yet you can’t help but notice that you are sitting in a piece of history while enjoying coffee that millions of patrons have enjoyed in the past 192 years.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. With so much to see in Rome, you will undoubtedly visit several museums, the Vatican, and even walk around the endless streets from piazza to piazza. In such a large metropolis, you do have myriad choices in which to enjoy your favorite coffee, and yet Antico Caffè Greco merits special attention.

Antico Caffè Greco opened its doors in 1760, and has since commanded a sophistication and historical importance that mirrors that of the Roman Empire itself. Located just south of Villa Borghese off of Piazza di Spagna, this jewel is ideally located for a brief respite during your adventure through Rome.

The interior can be a tight squeeze, especially during the day, but the coffee and pastries are worth it. You can take delight in knowing that in addition to the attractions you’ve undoubtedly marked on your itinerary, your visit to Antico Caffè Greco will add to the repertoire of historical landmarks you visited to all those in your social circle.

Coffee has become a staple throughout the world, and has evolved into a cultural phenomenon, transcending borders. We should however take care to notice how Italian coffee has impacted those of us in the West, not only how it is prepared, but how it influenced each western peoples’ methods of integrating it into our respective societies. It truly has become a core of modern society.


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