Caffè Florian, the oldest cafe in Italy in continuous operation and arguably the world’s 2nd oldest cafe. Adorned with an intricate interior dated back to the mid-18th century, sipping a cup of coffee here is akin to time travel back to the glorious time when wearing all things lace isn’t considered loud and crazy.
As a cafe junkie, not paying homage to this historical cafe would be a grave disappointment to this trip to Venice. Hence we decided to spend a leisure afternoon with all things coffee and alcohol here at Caffè Florian when we were at La Serenissima.
Everything here is dreamy and romantic. The grand entrance, the gilded hall with hanging chandeliers, rich wood panelling, intricate wallpapers and the beautiful paintings from the 19th century, marbled tabletop with the antique carved wood chairs… I dare say that this is one of the most opulent coffeehouses in Europe.
There are 6 beautifully adorned halls in total. We were seated at one of the halls decorated in powder green and blue – with sights of Piazza San Marco & the live orchestra outside the coffeehouse.
A table pamphlet was handed over to us explaining the brief history of the cafe and the playing orchestra. Other than the Coperto, a “table service charge” widely practised in Italy, sitting down in the hall or outdoor terrace while the performance is going on would incur a £6 “music surcharge” per person. This may sound offensive to some, but I figured that at Caffè Florian, the experience and ambience is what it is all about. So we went ahead anyway.
We had a signature hot chocolate, and an alcoholic coffee beverage. The drinks were excellent, albeit with a hefty price tag. The total damage of the coffee session was £40 with 2 drinks. All of their signatures drinks cost at least £16, cocktails at £20 and above. The simplest coffee at Florian costs about £6 while a cappuccino would only cost about £1.5-2 elsewhere. But drinking coffee at Florian is more than just an ordinary coffee break. It involves all senses.
The beautiful ornaments in the hall whenever you look up to the ceiling, the scents of the coffee, the hustle and bustle and the atmosphere of a 300-year-old cafe… The scent, the light, the music and wonderful atmosphere and the memories in the cafe are things that I vividly remember until today. And this was what I was paying for – Travel memories that I’d remember all my life.
Writer’s Note: Caffè Florian is not your everyday coffee shop. It is a living museum of Venetian’s coffee culture. While pricey, it is no doubt a quintessential experience in Venice. We enjoyed ourselves at the cafe. It was dreamy and beautiful.
While I remembered the first opinion published on my IG was that it wasn’t impressive enough to warrant a second visit (probably due to the price tag and the lack of service) but when I revisited the photos and my travel notes, I was actually yearning for another visit.
#venicehacks Insist on sitting at the bar at the back of the cafe where you pay bar rates instead of the table rates. You’ll miss the quartet and the music but hey, the bartenders’ performance is in your full view. I can’t tell you which is a better option as it all depends on your budget and the experience you’re looking for, but I am sure the memories of dining in a historic cafe would be worthwhile!
Piazza San Marco, 57, 30124 Venice VE
Opening Hours: 9am – 12am
Tel: +39 041 520 5641