When talking about historical coffee houses, you cannot help but mentioning Venice. It is in the lagoon city that the coffee tradition was born thanks to its location and the trade relations with the Arab world. The real explosion of the phenomenon “coffee house” takes place in the 1700, with the launch of numerous clubs. Among them, the most famous and the oldest one is definitely the caffé Florian, which is still the symbol of the city. A tour among the best known historical Venetian coffee houses starts here, right under the arcades of the Procuratie Nuove in St. Mark’s Square.
Caffè Florian was founded in 1720 opened under the name “Alla Venezia Trionfante” (Venice the Triumphant). Since the beginning, this elegant building was characterized by its exclusive products and acquaintances: it was the place where politicians and intellectuals met (such as Carlo Goldoni and Casanova and, more recently, Gabriele d’Annunzio).
Today, the Caffé Florian still maintains the charm of the times it lived. With its architecture, the result of restoration and reconstruction, and the richly decorated interiors, the caffè is an important cultural center and, at the same time, a perfect place to enjoy an espresso a few steps from the Grand Canal.
Always in St. Mark square, there is another historic café; after Stendhal, Lord Byron, Alexandre Dumas, Wagner, Marcel Proust, even today, the Gran Caffe Quadri is the favorite place for actors and directors attending the Venice Film Festival in Venice, including Woody Allen.
More recent, but equally fascinating, the history of Harry’s Bar begins in 1931. Built from an old warehouse next to St. Mark square, in this place spent time intellectuals, artists and writers such as Arturo Toscanini, Guglielmo Marconi, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Peggy Guggenheim.
In the Lido area, finally, is the Lion’s bar, designed in 1925 to offer visitors and tourists a shining example of the Art Deco.