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Getting started with Italian 1
Getting started with Italian 1

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8 Historic Italian coffee house

Described image
Figure 5 Caffè Greco, Roma

The history of the Gran Caffè in Italy goes back to the introduction of coffee into Europe in the early seventeenth century. The first European coffee houses were established in Venice, a centre of trade between Italy and the East. The coffee houses were a meeting place for intellectuals and artists, and often became cultural landmarks. A few famous examples are the Gran Caffè Gambrinus in Naples (1860), favoured by Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Sartre, the Florian in Venice (1720), frequented by Giacomo Casanova and Charles Dickens, the Caffè Pedrocchi in Padua (1831), the Caffè degli Specchi in Trieste (1839), the Caffè Greco in Rome (1760), haunt of Richard Wagner and Orson Welles, and the Caffè Fiorio in Turin (1780), whose customers included Cavour and Nietzsche.

Activity 5

Now listen to the recording and match the name of each caffè and the town in which it is located.

Don’t worry if you only catch some of the words or only get a very general idea of what is being talked about. Remember that your main purpose for listening is to carry out the task and that you can do this without understanding every word; even when you listen to something in your own language you will find that you rarely hear every word, unless you are really concentrating on the message.

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Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Turin

  2. Naples

  3. Venice

  4. Rome

  5. Trieste

  • a.Caffè Gambrinus

  • b.Caffè Florian

  • c.Caffè Fiorio

  • d.Caffè Greco

  • e.Caffè San Marco

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = c
  • 2 = a
  • 3 = b
  • 4 = d
  • 5 = e


  • Turin - Caffè Fiorio
  • Naples- Caffè Gambrinus
  • Venice - Caffè Florian
  • Rome- Caffè Greco
  • Trieste- Caffè San Marco