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Coffee Sips

Literary cafés

Published on 18 July 17

THE BOOK AS A DRIVING FORCE FOR TRANSFORMATION

The  link between coffee and the cultural identity and literary production  of a city has always been very strong. Books can in fact be identified as one of the driving forces for transformation of the city over time. They are often at the heart of the first spaces of  aggregation  and  discussion   among intellectuals, philosophers, politicians and prominent figures of the time. These spaces were  cafés and literary salons.

One could not write a page of either 19th century literary or art history, without mentioning the name of a Café.
P. Bargellini

A JOURNEY THROUGH LITERARY CAFÉS

If only it could speak, a cup of coffee could tell stories about the taste of freedom, the struggle for expressing opinions, and the intellectual activity that contributed to the birth of cultural movements.

 

This is where we start our journey through the most famous literary cafés in Italy.

 


 

TRIESTE

In a port like  Trieste, a theatre of flourishing exchanges of products and ideas, the presence of important literary cafés seems the natural evolution of a new way of experiencing culture. We’re  in Via Battisti 18. We stand in front of an elegant and refined glass door. Beyond it, a meeting point for Italian and international writers such as Ettore Schmitz, better known as Italo Svevo, Umberto Saba and James Joyce, which soon became  the epicenter of the cultural fervor of the early 20th century.

 

 

 

MILAN, FLORENCE, ROME

In 1817, between  Via Verdi and Via Manzoni,  a few steps from the Duomo, you will find one of the cafés that was to become a reference point for the intellectual and political scene of  Milan, chosen by patriots as a gathering place during the Five Days of Milan. In  Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, you might find yourself seated at the same table where, one hundred years ago, Marinetti  laid the foundations of the Manifesto of Italian Futurism. To complete this literary journey, we must head to Rome, not far from the Spanish Steps, in Via Condotti. Here, you come across what was once called  the “Caffè di strada Condotta,” cited in 1743 by Giacomo Casanova. It is not surprising that the oldest literary café in Italy is to be found  in the capital.

 

The ways we communicate and interact may well be changing. What certainly hasn’t changed, is the pleasure of enjoying a break, losing oneself among the pages of a book and the enveloping embrace of a steaming hot coffee.

 

 

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