A Coffee Shop In Rome Near Spanish Steps: Antico Caffè Greco

Antico Caffè Greco is a coffee shop in Rome near the Spanish Steps that you should try, a bar with amazing history and art, but also delicious coffee and pastries.

In a city like Rome, one that is so steeped in history, it is still surprising to find something as ubiquitous as a coffee shop that has an almost equal amount of history itself. Walking through the doors of Antico Caffè Greco is like stepping back through time when writers, composers and even philosophers called it home. If you are coming to Rome, seeing this coffee shop is a definite must if only for the history, but what about the coffee?

What Is The History Of Antico Caffè Greco?

From an article by Federica Manzitti per il “Corriere della Sera” and republished in Dagospia.com:  

“Two and a half centuries of conviviality, living room and intellectual history of Rome in three hundred and fifty square meters. It is the Antico Caffè Greco in via Condotti, which a Levantine named Nicola della Maddalena founded in 1760, making it a meeting place for notables and goliards. A whirlwind of writers, sovereigns, prelates, wise women, gigolos, journalists, adventurers and politicians, interrupted on the day of the closure imposed by the coronavirus.”

“Perhaps we will not be able to hear the complaints of Felix Mendelssohn who was intolerant of smoke and noise, those of Bizet for the hostility of the Romans, the sound of the cups passed into the hands of the English poets Byron, Keats and Shelley or that of the glasses of Marsala drunk by Goethe, the rustle of the pens of Nikolaj Gogol, Hans Christian Andersen or Giosuè Carducci who wrote at the tables, but there will be many other traces of the life of the Antico Caffè, not least those of the “Circolo dei Romanisti”, a meeting place not of fans but of amateurs of the capital, who holds his meetings here.”

My Experience At Antico Caffè Greco

I had been to Antico Caffè Greco years ago on a visit to Rome, and while I was aware of the history, it wasn’t really my reason for stopping by. My plan, at that time, was to taste their coffee and write a blog post about it. The article never happened, but the memories lasted since then and I was pulled back by again, a desire to write a blog post (this one).

Historical Italian Vibes At Antico Caffè Greco

On this visit, I took the time to walk around the coffee shop to really get a good feel for the art, historical artifacts and the individually designed rooms that offer quiet corners all around the space. There are some amazing photographs, some letters, paintings, sculptures and furniture that are timeless and inviting. The plan when I get a coffee in the morning is to usually make it fast, consumed at the bar. This place, however, invites the client to sit, write, reflect and let the time pass while enjoying your morning cappuccino.

How Was The Coffee At Antico Caffè Greco

First off, let me say that the coffee was delicious, but I must admit that I ordered a cappuccino as opposed to my usual espresso. The added milk does hide the true coffee flavor, but it was enjoyable just the same. One thing to keep in mind is that because this is such a historical place, in a very touristy area (near the Spanish Steps), the prices are a bit elevated. My cappuccino, at the bar, was €3.50, which might not be high by Starbucks standards, but it was high by Roman standards. If I was to drink it at a table, I would expect to pay a couple Euros more.

How Do You Order At Antico Caffè Greco

The expectation is that here you place your order first with the cashier and you bring the receipt to the bar and the barista will make your coffee. I had mentioned previously that some bars will allow you to order from the barista, but that did not seem to be an option here, which is the traditional way.

How Was The Food At Antico Caffè Greco

As I typically do, this morning I ordered a cappuccino and a cornetto semplice. If you are not familiar with a cornetto, it is similar to a French croissant, but better, and semplice means you want it empty, i.e. without a filling of marmalade, cream or Nutella. One thing that I was excited about was that it was served warm. I don’t know if they cooked them there on site, I doubt it, but I was there when they opened and the pastries were fresh.

The Antico caffè Greco Menu – A Symphony of Flavors And Aromas

The heart of Antico Caffè Greco lies in its coffee, but the menu also boasts a diverse range of tastes that you can enjoy along with its espresso. Here is a sample of their menu, but there are even more pastries available right when you walk in the door.

ItalianEnglish
Crostatine di frutta Fresca del Caffè GrecoFresh fruit tarts from Caffè Greco
Cannoli Siciliani del Caffè GrecoSicilian Cannoli from Caffè Greco
Torta Saint Honorè del Caffè GrecoSaint Honorè cake from Caffè Greco
Torta della Nonna del Caffè GrecoGreek Caffè Grandma’s Cake
Charlotte di Pesche del Caffè GrecoPeach Charlotte from Caffè Greco
Torta Assoluta al Cioccolato del Caffè GrecoAbsolute Greek Coffee Chocolate Cake
Torta al Babà del Caffè GrecoCaffè Greco Babà Cake
Torta al Caffè GrecoGreek Coffee Cake
Torta con Frutta Fresca mista del Caffè GrecoCake with mixed fresh fruit from Caffè Greco

Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Shops In Rome

Which Historical Figures Have Had Coffee In Antico Caffè Greco?

The client list from Antico Caffè Greco is legendary. Of course, the documentation of these visits is certainly lacking, but anecdotally, some of the luminaries that have enjoyed an espresso in Antico Caffè Greco include:

How Do You Order Coffee In Italy?

It is very common in a café in Italy, especially a larger one, to pay at the cash register (Cassa) first, bring the receipt to the barista and then you will receive your order. In places that are tourist heavy, you might find it acceptable to order first from the barista, but this isn’t traditionally the way it is done. Antico Caffè Greco follows the traditional model of ordering from the cashier (Cassa) first.

Coffee Shop In Rome Near Spanish Steps Antico Caffè Greco - Rooms

Does Rome Have Coffee Shops?

Yes, Rome has coffee shops, which are usually called: Bar, but sometimes you will see a Caffè (like Antico Caffé Greco) where you can get some great coffee all over Rome. The level of quality is consistently high, so while it’s great to visit a cool, old bar like Antico Caffé Greco, don’t avoid the smaller, newer and less familiar ones. Their coffee might surprise you.

How Much Is A Cup Of Coffee In Rome?

Coffee in Rome is quite affordable, with an espresso setting you back between €1 and €1.20, and a cappuccino between €1.20 and €1.50. You might find one slightly cheaper or a bit more expensive, but these are definitely exceptions to the rule. Also, these are the prices for drinking at the counter, so if you want to sit at a table, you can expect to pay a bit more for the comfort. I mentioned above that Antico Caffé Greco isn’t a typical bar and their prices are relatively high.

What Is The Oldest Coffee Shop In Italy?

The Antico Caffè Greco, which opened in 1760 on Via dei Condotti, is the oldest bar in Rome and the second oldest in Italy. The oldest bar in Italy is purported to be Caffè Florian in Venice, which opened in its current location in St. Mark’s Square in 1720. Being right on Piazza San Marco, I can only imagine the tourist prices they change, but it is beautiful and I intend on stopping by on my next trip to Venice.

Coffee Shop In Rome Near Spanish Steps Antico Caffè Greco - Outside

How To Visit Antico Caffè Greco In Person

If you are in Rome and visiting the Spanish Steps, Antico Caffè Greco is a great place to stop, take a load off and get a nice burst of energy from a delicious espresso. They are open every day from 09:00 AM to 09:00 PM, and their address is: via Condotti, 86.

More Coffee Bar Experiences

If you are interested in learning more about the Italian coffee bars and delicious opportunities to experience them, check out some of our other posts:

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