Coffee is a serious business in Italy. Italians focus on simple, high-quality coffee – especially espressos. Other popular alternatives are cappuccino, doppio (double) ristretto (with added hot water), corretto (served with a dash of spirits such as grappa) and macchiato (with a little milk). Below we highlight the best coffee shops and cafés to visit during your next trip to Rome.
Antico Bar Pasticceria Mariani
Dating back over 150 years, it is still owned by the same family who set it up. Entering this bar near the Ponte Sisto is like stepping back into the 1950’s. There are a great choice of pastries and excellent coffee, with espresso’s that are definitely strong and full of caffeine!
Antico Caffè Greco
The oldest coffee shop in Rome, it opened in 1760 near the Spanish Steps. Mark Twain, Orson Welles, Hans Christian Anderson, Keats and Shelley relaxed with a coffee here. Rooms are filled with paintings of the Roman countryside, sculptures, or scenes of Venice in the Venezia room. Wide range of coffee on offer including Americano, caffè al Ginseng and caffè d’orzo (Barley coffee).
The cheapest option is always to stand at the bar and drink your coffee. Relax at a table and the price rises, even more so if you choose to sit outside.
Antica Tazzo d’Oro
Sited near the Parthenon, it dates back to 1946 with elaborate gold décor and an eye-catching mural of a girl with coffee beans. Worth trying is the specialty granite al caffè, a cold coffee served with whipped cream. A vending machine outside provides access to coffee 24/7.
Bar del Cappuccino
Popular with locals near the Ponto Sisto, it specialises in hand decorated cappuccino and pastrami sandwiches.
Located on the Via del Babuino near the Spanish Steps, it’s part museum/part café. Enjoy your coffee amid classical marble statues, busts and even statues of seated ladies in elaborate dresses, along with vintage photographs, documents and newspaper articles on the walls. Table service is very pricey and is well used by locals.
Enjoy views of the Piazza Navona and Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain while drinking specialty coffees such as Domiziano (coffee, Baileys, Kahlua and cream) or Cappuccino Domiziano (coffee, hot milk, hot chocolate).
Chiostro del Bramante
Tucked inside this art history museum, close to the Piazza Novana, drink inside or along the cloister walkway. Try the Bramante Coffee (coffee, chocolate cream, frothed milk and chocolate) or the Macchiatone (long coffee topped with frothed milk).
Faro – Luminari del Caffè Via Piave
Described as Rome’s first specialty coffee shop, it offers a choice of beans and variety in brewing including syphon and AeroPress. Stylish and contemporary, you can sit and drink at your leisure, but it does get very busy.
Close to the Parthenon and used by celebrities like John Travolta, Sasha & Malia Obama, Giolitti sells great coffee and gelato. Just take care to get in the right queue!
Located on Via Merulana, Panella is both a bakery and a coffee house. Unusually there is no service charge if you sit on the high stools but be prepared to queue as it is very popular. Try the caffè freddo – a cold sweet coffee, slightly bigger than the usual espresso along with some of the superb artisan breads and pastries.
Dating back to the 1920’s, this atmospheric café in the Piazza del Popolo has kept its historical interior. Good coffee, especially espresso.
Modern and upmarket, Roscioli can be found on the Piazza Benedetto Cairoli. Well known for its high-quality coffee using mixes from Guatemala, and Africa and even offers decaffeinated! Cakes are good (especially the Roman specialty maritozzo cream filled bun). It is also a good breakfast choice. Check your queue – one is for full service, while the other for bar service.
Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè
Located close to the Parthenon, Sant’ Eustachio imports its own coffee beans from co-operatives in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Brazil, creating very intense coffees using water from an ancient aqueduct and a sweet, espresso foam whipped with sugar. Want to find out more about coffee? Book a short coffee course held at the café, learning about legends, curiosities, espresso history, different types of coffee and of course – specialty tasting of their Gran Caffe.
Sciascia Caffè 1919
Over a century old, this is an old-style coffee house four minutes from the Vatican museums, complete with wooden panelling, period artworks and vintage machines. Try the Sicilian blood orange grantitas, or an espresso served in a porcelain cup lined with melted chocolate reflecting its house belief that good coffee ‘must be as black as night, hot as hell and sweet as love!’
Stravinskij Bar, Hotel de Russie
Dating from the nineteenth century, this is a garden oasis close to the Piazza del Popolo. Patrons have included Brad Pitt.
A family business founded in the early 1900’s near the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, it is well known for coffee selecting, roasting, blending and grinding.