Coffee — it’s something many can’t start the day without. In Italy, it is a cultural mainstay, and the country is perhaps the beverage’s spiritual home.
After all, Italy gave us the espresso, cappuccino, latte — and its coffee culture is filled with rituals and mysterious rules.
It was not until the 16th century that the introduction of coffee to Europe took place. Coffee arrived from the Middle East where it had achieved a near cult like following, with the first coffeehouses being established in Istanbul.
The 17th century saw the opening of the first European coffeehouse in Venice and since then the excitement over coffee has never worn off. When the first coffee was poured in Venezia, Italians showed their true excitement and adoration for what was to become a huge part of Italian culture. Coffee spread quickly at this point and other coffeehouses were founded in the major cities of Italy. Some of these dignified and elegant establishments are still in existence in Venice, Turin and Rome.
An Italian who does not drink coffee often has to explain this unfamiliar phenomenon. While the rest of the world is on the bandwagon to give up caffeine, we don’t tend to conform to society. Italians stick to culture and traditions and that is just one reason the rest of the world love to travel here. It’s like coming home after a long day of being told what to do. You get to finally take off your shoes, sip on your cup of fully caffeinated coffee and just breathe. Italian coffee offers a surprising tone in terms of its complexity and richness in flavor. Once you try an Italian heavily roasted coffee with its bittersweet tones, you will understand why Italians love their coffee. In Italy, coffee is served with a glass of water. It is not a customary act around the globe, but it is part of the experience when it comes to a good cup of coffee. This is simply used to cleanse the palate before drinking the coffee. After all, having more than 7 espressos in Italy a day is not unusual. Perhaps this is why so much gets done in Italy.
Italy has a historically rich culture in so many avenues and coffee is definitely one of their traditional enjoyments. When you think about Italy, many things come to mind. There is the food, wine, landscapes, traditions and, last but not least, is coffee.