Visiting the eternal city does not imply only touring the highlights but also melting with its people and discover their habits and culture. So what’s better than tasting coffee to explore Roman flavours?
If you are staying in the city center, it is very easy to find along the way the best coffee shops in Rome, or bars as Romans call them:
- Sant'Eustachio - Il Caffè
- Antico Caffè Greco
- Sciascia Caffè 1919
Today we will explore the Coffee culture and the best places to taste it!
Coffee: origins and habits
The first secret we will disclose is about Coffee origins: even if actually no coffee grows in Italy, during the past centuries Coffee culture in Italy and Rome has developed in an incredible way, creating a background in melting and roasting the coffee beans and tasting the Italian worldwide renowned espresso.
The actual birth of this unique cafè, the Espresso, dates back to the 19th century, however, coffee culture has been developing throughout the country from the 16th century.
What does the word espresso mean? Espresso refers both to the brewing process and to the drink itself. The main characteristic which makes it so special is due to the way in which under pressure boiling water mix with the coffee beans, creating a smaller drink than the regular coffee.
Maybe you are wondering how to taste it, when and where.
Locals are likely to have a coffee or “un caffè” as they say, many times a day, starting from the early morning. If you imagine Roman people sitting peacefully in a relaxing bar, you are getting it wrong.
The situation you will experience in a common bar during morning opening hours is for sure the following: people standing at the counter, asking for a coffee to drunk in only one shot, and that’s what espresso is. Otherwise the most common Italian breakfast is a cornetto, which is a sweet croissant, and a cappuccino, a bigger cup of coffee with milk.
However, locals enjoy a cup of coffee several times a day, and a habit is to have one just after lunch in the early afternoon, sometimes smoking a cigarette at the same time. Why after lunch? Coffee is believed to aid digestion and to have waking up features!
Here are some of the most recommended bars in Rome to have a coffee and feel like a local.
1. Sant’Eustachio – Il Caffè
Let’s begin our coffee trip to this historical bar, located in the city center, near Pantheon and Navona Square area. Sant’Eustachio bar is an ancient coffee shop that started operating under the name of “Caffè e Latte” back in 1800. Nowadays owners’ aim is to offer a high-quality service, using South America coffee beans. This is why they roast their own beans, paying attention to every step of the process, so also to the blending and to the water necessary to make coffee, which comes from an ancient Roman aqueduct.
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2. Antico Caffè Greco
Let’s proceed towards Spanish Square: a few meters away from the beautiful iconic Spanish Steps, located along the centrally located shopping street called Via Condotti, Antico Caffè Greco is for sure a must – do stop to explore coffee tastes.
Caffè Greco the oldest one in Rome and among the Italians, only Cafè Florian in Venice is older than this. The Cafè is named in this way, due to the belief that its founder was Greek (the word Greco in fact is the Italian translation for Greek).
Many artists and writers used to go there to have a coffee and chat, just to remember some of them: Goethe, Hans Christian Andersen, John Keats, Lord Byron and many more. So while stepping inside Caffè Greco it will be like traveling back in time and you will enjoy an Old World atmosphere so don’t be surprised if the bill won’t be cheap as other bars in Rome!
Paintings on the wall, red velvet and gold decorations are the main features that will take your breath away here.
Giolitti is definitely one of the coffee shops international celebrities and politicians love most and this is not only because it is literally at 10 metres from Italian parliament. It also offers a large variety of local specialities among which we suggest you coffee and gelato, which is for sure a must – do here and this is why you will always find crowds of visitors and locals waiting to have their own cup here.
If you are planning a walk to discover the charming Villa Borghese and the panoramic Pincio Terrace, don’t forget to stop first at the lovely bar located at the corner of Piazza del Popolo: you will enjoy a nice view over the square while tasting a good coffee.
If you choose to have a seat here, whether indoor or outdoor, look first at its prices: since Canova is right in Rome city center prices could be higher than other bars you are used to going to.
5. Sciascia Caffè 1919
Just 10 minutes walking from Vatican Museums entrance, located in the glamorous Prati district, Sciascia Caffè is an old-school coffee shop that still keeps its charm, especially due to its wooden and vintage decoration that makes it so memorable. If you wish to stop here along with your coffee exploration, be aware that not only it is one of the best bars in town but also it offers a large variety of choices: coffee, dark chocolate, cappuccino, coffee cream and many more!
That is our top 5 Cafès in Rome. Share with us your experience in Rome and your favourite ones!