- Located in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, Caffe Florian claims to be the oldest cafe in Europe.
- Opened in 1720, it just celebrated its 300th anniversary.
- On sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Conde Nast Traveler, and the cafe’s own Facebook page, visitors have praised its location, decor, and overall atmosphere — but also complained about high prices, uncomfortable seating, and large crowds.
- Here’s what reviewers say a visit to the famous cafe is like.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The world has changed a lot in 300 years. One thing that hasn’t: the St. Mark’s Square location of Venice’s Caffe Florian — the oldest cafe in Europe (according to its own website), which opened in 1720.
Beloved by the likes of Goethe, Lord Byron, and Charles Dickens, the cafe is as famous for its Art Nouveau architecture as it is high prices and large crowds — at least according to reviewers on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Conde Nast Traveler, and Caffe Florian’s own Facebook page.
From a unique atmosphere to good food and drinks alongside high prices and large crowds, here’s what a visit is really like.
Caffe Florian has been a Venice institution for 300 years — and is right on St. Mark’s Square.
Being in the heart of Venice, online reviewers have praised its location, where it just celebrated its 300th anniversary. Conde Nast Traveler calls it “a charming, if touristy spot.” TripAdvisor user Jane M. praised the “great location next to the square.”
The cafe suffered extensive damage during recent record flooding in Venice, but remains open.
In November 2019, photos showed the majority of the cafe underwater from flooding. However, the cafe posted a message on its Facebook page a few days later saying it was open.
Even before stepping inside, the crowds are evident.
The word “touristy” features often in many reviews, such as on Caffe Florian’s own Facebook page.
And you don’t even have to go inside: the cafe’s outdoor seating is very popular, though it’s expensive.
According to Lonely Planet, outdoor seating can cost €6 ($6.62) extra. But, the review adds, “dreamy-eyed romantics will hardly notice.”
To escape the crowds, one visitor recommends arriving right when the cafe opens — which, according to Caffe Florian’s Facebook page, is 10 a.m. from Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. from Friday to Sunday.
Visitors are greeted by well-dressed staff.
In a review on Conde Nast Traveler, Andrea Whittle said of the waitstaff: “They can be a bit harried during peak tourist season, but otherwise they’re friendly, professional, and well-versed in multiple languages.”
In a five-star review for Yelp, another user said the staff’s level of service was “optimal.”
There are several rooms, or “halls,” to sit in — and they’re covered in art.
Caffe Florian’s own website describes preserving the past with its decor — and it’s something almost every review praises. Overall, Caffe Florian has a TripAdvisor rating of 4.5 stars — out of five — for its atmosphere.
Some reviewers have said the seating is not as plush as it appears, however.
A number of TripAdvisor reviewers have called the seating “uncomfortable.”
The cafe’s coffee and desserts have earned high praise — but they’re not cheap.
In a Facebook review, Ann Wade said her October 2019 visit featured “the best cakes/desserts ever,” especially recommending the tiramisu. Also on Facebook, Thunthoch Laksulapan called it “like Mecca” for coffee lovers.
But the prices can be high.
As Maggie P. says in her Yelp review, a single flavored coffee cost €12 ($13.20). “Expensive,” writes Teresa Josephine Fleming in a Facebook review. “But you could see and taste why.”
A menu on Caffe Florian’s website states afternoon tea costs €34 ($37.50) per person, and cakes start at €18-21 each ($19.80 to $23.15) — and the prices don’t include service charges.
There is also a bar that does fancy cocktails.
On TripAdvisor, Caffe Florian scores four stars out of five for its food and drinks. Lonely Planet says drinks are served on silver trays, while Conde Nast Traveler’s Andrea Whittle says Aperol spritz and Negroni are particularly popular cocktails, especially in late afternoon.
While eating and drinking, other diners might be wearing elaborate costumes, especially during Carnival.
Venice is famous for its Carnival, which takes place each February or March. During this time, masked balls take place throughout the city, featuring revelers in historic costumes — and Caffe Florian is one of the centers of the action. During this time, it’s not uncommon to be sitting next to someone looking like they’ve time-traveled from the 18th century.
Art exhibitions and performances by an orchestra commonly take place — but they can cost extra.
Conde Nast Traveler says a fee will show up on visitors’ bills if they visit while the orchestra is playing. That’s something TripAdvisor reviews highlight, too, pointing out a €6 ($6.62) fee if sitting down while a performance is going on. It’s one reason why Caffe Florian has a rating of only three stars (out of five) on TripAdvisor for value for money.