Caffè Florian is more than just a café, and can rightfully be considered a tourist attraction in itself. Located under the Procuratie Nuove arcades, in the St. Mark’s Square, the world’s oldest café still in operation has been a silent witness, for almost three centuries, of the joys and excitement of Venice.
Famous names have passed the threshold of this café over time, and if we were to mention just a few, we could start very well with Casanova, the famous conqueror of hearts, continuing with the playwrighter Carlo Goldoni, Lord Byron or the poet Goethe, with the writer and politician Chateaubriand, Charles Dickens, or Marcel Proust, to end triumphantly with Modigliani.
The café opened its doors for the first time on December 29, 1720, under the name of Alla Venezia Trionfante, and soon after that received the name of its first owner, Floriano Francesconi. By the middle of the 19th century, Caffè Florian remained in the possession of the Francesconi family, and then changed its owners several times.
In 1858, the café was completely restored by Lodovico Cadorin, with the help of the best Venetian artists and artisans.
Since 1985, the cafe hosts the Venice Biennale, which was born in one of its salons – Senate Hall (Sala del Senato), based on an idea by the Italian poet Ricardo Selvatico.
HOW TO GET THERE
Being located in St. Mark’s Square, the café can be reached very easily. With the water bus, you can take either ACTV Line 1 or Line 2 to San Marco Vallaresso station or any of ACTV Line 1, 2, 4.1, Line 4.2, 5.1, 5.2 to San Zaccaria station.
If you walk, follow the arrows “per San Marco”. Once you get to the square, you will find the café easily. If you start exploring Venice on foot, do not forget your map.