Italians call Rome the Eternal City, perhaps it’s all the cafes in Rome that keep it awake. Each street evokes echoes of Italy’s epic past – from ancient temples to Renaissance fountains. With so many antiquities on display, it’s easy to overlook the soft grandeur of Rome’s recent past. Inside Rome’s historic cafes, for instance, you can savor stylish interiors from the 1800s and the 1900s.
In these temples to Italy’s coffee culture, patrons pay homage to Rome’s caffeinated deities – the espresso, the cappuccino, and the macchiato. For earlier generations, coffee was an unhurried ritual in Italy—something to gather(and gossip) around.
From famous painters to political luminaries, illustrious visitors graced Rome’s chic cafes. In these charming coffee houses, you won’t find the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel or busts of Roman Emperors. You’ll be awed instead by turn-of-the-century décor or 1960s Dolce Vita elegance.
Our 7 Favorite Historic Cafes in Rome are:
1. Caffé Sant’Eustachio(Pantheon)
Consistently boasting the best coffee in town, Caffè Sant’Eustachiohas been in existence since 1938. Before then, a cafe had existed on site since 1800. To this day, Sant’Eustachio roasts its organic blend of beans using real wood filling the air with the perfume of freshly roasted coffee. Espresso aficionados know to order the house gran caffè – espresso whipped with sugar to form a light-yet-creamy concoction. Sitting over a small table, you can relax and spend some time people-watching, just like Audrey Hepburn did in the famous Roman Holidays movie, inspired by a true taste of Italian Dolce Vita.
2. Tazza d’oro(Pantheon)
Established in 1946, Tazza d’oro is another historical coffee house found near the Pantheon. Bags of beans, which are roasted on-site, are stacked by the cafe’s stylishly-carved espresso counter. Baristas here whip up some of the strongest and most flavorful blends in Rome. Like at the nearby Sant’Eustachio, coffee fans can purchase house-roasted beans alongside their artfully-crafted cappuccino.
3. Rosati.(Piazza del Popolo)
Dating back to 1922,Rosati ranks as one of the longest-running cafes in the center of Rome. Ideally positioned on the elegant Piazza del Popolo, the cafe overlooks an ancient Egyptian obelisk that is over 3,000 years old! Rosati was the favorite haunt of actors, artists, and intellectuals in the’50s and’60s. Inside, you’ll be wowed by its original 1920s interior. It’s the ideal spot to sit out front and watch fashionable Romans take their daily passeggiata(stroll).
4. Antico Caffé Greco(Via dei Condotti)
The Antico Caffe Greco is the uncontested Emperor of classic Roman cafes – having opened for business in 1760! Only Caffè Florian inVenice is older. Historical figures and artists – such as Hans Christian Anderson, Mark Twain, and even Cassanova himself – have sipped coffee here. The interior is adorned with oil paintings – a fitting décor for an establishment of its age and esteem. You’ll find this historic haunt just off of Piazza di Spagna near the base of the Spanish Steps.
5. Caffé Canova-Tadolini(Villa Borghese)
Ornate yet restrained, the Caffè Canova-Tadolinihas no equivalent in Rome – housed inside the 19th-century sculptor Antonio Canova’s workshop. The space continued to be used by sculptors until 1967. Today, you’ll find cafe tables sprinkled amidst a marble maze and exposed wooden beams. It’s like taking your morning coffee in the home of a master artist – kept company by his coterie of marble companions.
Giolitti is a top-rated coffee stop. It has always been an attractive spot for politicians and celebrities including John Travolta, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and even Obama daughters Sasha and Malia. Besides coffee, the place is also well known for offering great gelato. Having your coffee at the bar is the fastest way to get your morning espresso.
7. Torrefazione Ciamei
Torrefazione Ciamei is a typical Italian coffeehouse located near the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The company’s history begins in the 1900s with one of its founders Giusto Ciamei. After more than 100 years, the same family is still selecting, roasting, blending, and grinding coffee. You can order your coffee and enjoy it right here or buy bags of their beans to enjoy a taste of Rome in your own kitchen.
Need a Coffee Break?
Italy is a great place to sample coffee as it is home to espresso and has a rich coffee culture, these aren’t just coffee shops. Its magnificent capital Rome hosts classic cafes that pay homage to the epic history and exciting stories of the past. Need a coffee break after a visit to the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish steps, or Borgese Gallery? We hope you find our guide to the most authentic coffee places in Rome helpful. When traveling with SeeItaly, you will go to authentic places where locals love to spend their time. With us, you will not only drink espresso, but through the coffee tradition, you will also closely touch the culture, history, and stories of people.
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