The Best Historical Coffee Shops of Florence


posted by on History & Culture


Cappuccino Florence

In a city like Florence, which is simply bursting with things to see and do, a nice place to stop for a refreshment is an absolute necessity. And luckily, Florence is full of great cafes and coffee shops! Some cafes in Florencego back a pretty long way, so it’s not only a delicious, frothy cappuccino you’ll be getting, but a slice of Florentine history too…

Despite the fact that real coffee culture began in France (or so it is widely believed), the traditional coffee houses became popular all over Europe by the 17th and 18th centuries. These establishments were not only dripping with elegance, but also became real social hubs. Italy was no exception, as grand cafes thrived here, and became a quintessential part of Italian culture. Many sprang up in the Renaissance city of Florence, and as well as being meeting places for the social and intellectual elite, they were also home to some serious political movements, such as the Giubbe Rosse. This movement for underground communists (the name literally translates as ‘red coats’), met in the famous Piazza della Republica.

Most historical coffee shops in Florence date back to the late 19th or early 20th century, but the oldest is Caffe Gilli, which was established in 1733. It can be found on the Piazza della Republica, and was originally opened by the Swiss family Gilli. Known as a ‘sweet breads boutique’ it attracted many of Florence’s elite. It was part of the ‘salon’ culture of the time, and amongst the art, sculptures and musical instruments in this coffee house, great intellectual discussions took place. Both the coffee and the chocolate on offer are very impressive indeed.

Also found on the same Piazza is Caffe Paszkoswski, founded in 1907 by a Polish businessman. It quickly became one of the most famous literary coffee bars in the city and was a hub for artists, musicians and writers. Although it has one of the most expensive cappuccinos in Florence, it truly is a renowned café. Over on Via Tournboni you’ll find the Caffe Giacosa, which is said to be the home of the best cappuccino in Florence! As well as this claim to fame, it’s also said to be the place where the famous Italian cocktail Negroni was invented. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also now associated with the famous designer Roberto Cavalli, who restored it and kept many historical features intact.

So if you’re looking for a true café culture experience, then Florence is the place to go. Just imagine starting your day with an incredibly tasty cappuccino and delicious brioche, or finishing it with a classic Italian aperitivo. When you’ve tasted the treats on offer at these coffee shops, you might just want to spend your whole Florence trip touring each and every one! Michelangelo who?!

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