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This 300 Year Old Cafè Frequented by Casanova May Shut Down

This 300 Year Old Cafè Frequented by Casanova May Shut Down
Caffè Florian is the oldest coffee house in Italy, perhaps the world, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The oldest cafe in Italy has seen many famous visitors such as Casanova, Goethe, Charles Dickens, Clark Gable and Andy Warhol.

OT Staff
February 01 , 2021
06 Min Read

Located at the St. Mark’s Square in Venice, the 18th century-old Caffè Florian has decided to shut its doors to tourists after the pandemic pushed the entire city into an unexpected economic crisis. The iconic café was opened in 1720 by an Italian entrepreneur, Floriano Francesconi, and soon became a hotspot for locals and tourists. In December last year the cafe completed 300 years of existence. It was known as Alla Venezia Trionfante originally.

 
 
 
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The cafe's opulent and ichly decorated interiors feature art works by important 19th-century artists such as Goldoni. Adorned with red velvet banquettes, marble furnishing, mirrored detailing, and gold-leaf walls, the café is a masterpiece built by Italian artists Antonio Pascutti, Giuseppe Ponga, and Cesare Rota. It has a long and checkered history. In 1895, the idea of the Venice Biennale was born here, and homage was paid to King Umberto and Queen Margherita. However, the legacy of the café is best celebrated through its place in the lives of some pretty well-known names like Lord Byron, Casanova, Proust, Nietzsche, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, and Claude Monet, who would often visit the place and sip a coffee under the morning sun.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Caffè Florian (@caffeflorian)

 
 
 
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A post shared by Caffè Florian (@caffeflorian)

It has appeared in several Hollywood films like Summertime (featuring Katharine Hepburn) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon).

 
 
 
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A post shared by Caffè Florian (@caffeflorian)

 
 
 
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A post shared by Caffè Florian (@caffeflorian)

The café had stopped receiving funds from the state despite making a turnover of $10 million in 2019. The situation became worse after it incurred an 80% loss in 2020. "We will stay open for as long as we can, but we can do not more than that," said managing director Marco Paolini.

 
 
 
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With an uncertain future, the café is surviving on funds from stakeholders, and sales from its online gift shop which stocks items like historic books, ground coffee, and silk scarves. 

You can check out the cafe here.


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