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A bad day with coffee is better than a good day without it.

I am, “one of those” who are, non-functional and non-sociable until I have my first cup of coffee. My first cup is usually a café late, and then coffee-coffee. I ease into my day and it is not unusual for me to have a last cup before bedtime, which usually is decaffeinated – just to ensure the sleep fairies don’t forget all about me! I also have not just one cup throughout the course of the day, but quite a few… let’s say about two or three.

Coffee

With all that said, it is a given that I had to enjoy coffee at the world’s oldest coffee house. You can not call these outlets coffee shops. They are so much more than just a coffee shop. They are necessary on your travel agenda, and they are a TREAT! Sometimes you must book well in advance; sometimes you are lucky to find an open table.

1720 - Caffè Florian, Saint Mark's Square, Venice, Italy

The world's oldest coffee house

Caffè Florian would have been number two if it was not for Amsterdam Cafe changing their coffee house that opened in 1624, to a beer house! Caffè Florian opened on 29th December by Floriano Francesconi.

I visited Caffè Florian on a freezing morning and the only table was outside. It did not matter at all because all that mattered was where I was at that moment, i.e. in the world’s oldest coffee house. Years later I returned for a longer visit, but again on a very chilly morning. This time I was seated inside and off course it was still jaw-droppingly beautiful. The coffee and confectionery were super tasty, and the service excellent despite the coffee house being crowded with tourists.

Caffè Florian opened its doors as “Alla Venezia Trionfante” meaning Triumphant Venice. Today it is known as Caffè Florian in honour of its owner who started off this 300 years establishment with just two small rooms.

Caffe Florian in Venice
Photo: The Guardian

1760 - Caffè Greco, via Condotti in Rome, Italy

The world's second oldest coffee house

Despite documentary evidence, the “1760 A.D.” sign above the entrance is accepted as the date of birth of this Roman art coffee house.

You will find this coffee house near the famous Spanish Steps in Rome.

The interior is not only decorated with Roman art but also paintings from Austrian and German artists. The German paintings are a reminder of German tourists flocking to Caffè Greco in the 19th century, around 16h00 to sunset. The coffee house was known to be tolerant of smokers and conveniently located after a day’s sightseeing in and around Naples.

Caffe Greco
Photo: The Guardian
Caffe Greco Italy
Photo: The Gaurdian

Legendary customers

Many legendary names have passed through the doors of one of the world’s oldest coffee houses, Caffè Greco in Rome. Princess Diana, Charles Dickens, Sophia Loren, Henry James, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Audrey Hepburn, and John Keats, to name a few.

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