Venice Coffee Culture: Guide to The 8 Best Venetian Cafes

May 16, 2024

Let’s be honest, you can’t go to Italy and not try the coffee, and Venice is no exception. Whether you’re a certified coffee-addict, or just like the occasional cup of Joe, there’s no better place to wet your whistle than Venice; it’s the first city in Europe where coffee was introduced after all.

So if you’re serious about getting into the Italian coffee scene, follow our guide to the best cafes in Venice

Sunrise in Venice square lined with tables and chairs for coffee fanatics.

Start your day off right with a morning coffee in Piazza San Marco. Photo credit: Lukas Krasa

Origins of Venice coffee culture

Interestingly, the history of coffee is tied to Venice. During the 17th century, Venetian merchants took the curious powder with them from Istanbul and brought it back to the city, with much excitement. Unsure what to make of the strange concoction, it was at first sold as a medicinal elixir, used to cure everything from “head maladies” to smallpox. Soon however, it was marketed as an “exotic” new beverage and the merchants began selling it exclusively to wealthy citizens – charging a scorching mark-up while they were at it.

Coffee, initially prized by the upper class, faced suspicion for its stimulating effects. The Venetian clergy condemned it, but when Pope Clement VIII tasted and liked it, he declared, “we should cheat the devil by baptizing it.” Whether true or exaggerated, this legitimized coffee for Catholics globally, leading to its rapid spread in Italy and Europe. It soon became a popular breakfast drink, replacing alcohol and contributing to the birth of the modern workplace fuel.

Freshly roasted coffee beans.

Taste the rich history of coffee. Photo credit: Wojciech Pacześ

Venice’s coffee scene

It’s only fitting that the first coffeehouse in Italy (and Europe) opened in Venice. Caffè Florian, was founded by Floriano Francesconi in 1720 and marked the beginning of a new era. Coffeehouses gained enormous popularity throughout the 18th century in Europe and became a place where people from all walks of life came together and new ideas were born. 

Because of this cross mingling of society–from the upper class to laborers–coffeehouses gained the nickname “Penny Universities”–places where people could gain a vast amount of knowledge and insight for the price of a coffee.

However, if you’re looking for a place to study in Venice or somewhere with a good wifi connection, you might be out of luck.

Shot of espresso being pulled into white ceramic cup.

Do as the Italians do and drink espresso. Photo credit: René Porter

Coffee shops to work from in Venice

Though it’s common in other parts of Europe for freelancers and students to work from coffee shops, the trend really hasn’t caught on in Italy

This has a lot to do with Italian coffee culture. Most Italians drink coffee standing at the bar and usually in the form of espresso. Not only is this much cheaper but it helps to encourage a real appreciation for your drink. 

However, if you absolutely need somewhere to work, try a library or a cafeteria, like the Querini Stampalia. Then, with your work done you can take the time to indulge in a guilt-free coffee afterwards. If you want to experience Venice coffee culture first hand, join us on our Tastes & Traditions of Venice Food Tour, where we kick off the morning with authentic Italian espresso and breakfast at a beloved neighborhood bar.

laptops in a cafe

Venice’s best coffee shops

Caffè del Doge

Located near the Rialto Bridge down a sleepy lane, Caffè del Doge is a spot you definitely don’t want to miss if you’re a coffee fan in Venice. Founded in the 1950s, this unassuming cafe packs a real punch. Using artisan-roasted beans, it offers up a selection of brews bound to tickle even the most refined taste buds. Browse their extensive menu or try one of their richly roasted espressos – you won’t be disappointed.

sun shinning on Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Take your coffee to go and sip it on Rialto Bridge. Photo credit: Vincenzo Landino

Caffè Florian

As the first cafe to open in Europe, one would be right to assume Caffè Florian knows a thing or two when it comes to coffee. Founded in 1720, (if you couldn’t tell from the plush decor inside) this is a true slice of Venetian history. The coffee is certainly on the pricier side, but going to Caffè Florian isn’t simply about getting your caffeine fix. It’s about enjoying the experience and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere within these storied walls. 

Notable for its famous past patrons, including the likes of Charles Dickens and Lord Byron, you’ll be in good company inside this elegant cafe. It was also one of the only cafes during the eighteenth century that would serve women.

Two waiters outside of Caffè Florian in Venice.

Enjoy the ambiance at Caffè Florian for a true immersion into Italian coffee culture. Photo credit: Clay Banks

Torrefazione Cannaregio

In the Cannaregio district of Venice, Torrefazione Cannaregio is a coffee lover’s dream. Neatly tucked into mahogany shelves behind the counter are a vast array of coffees, just waiting to be tried. The awning outside makes this cafe easy to spot, and you’ll be glad you stopped by once you see the range of delicious roasts on offer.

People sitting by the canals in Venice enjoying drinks.

Cannaregio district is full of nooks and crannies to explore. Photo credit: sterlinglanier Lanier

Adagio Caffè & Wine Bar

Coffee or wine? Day-time or night? At Adagio Caffè and Wine Bar you can have it all which is why it should be on any night owl’s radar whilst in Venice. Better yet, this cafe serves delicious Venetian cicchetti and a tempting array of cocktails such as an aperitivo–a real win-win situation. If you opt for an evening drink and want to drink like a true Italian, try a Campari.

closeup of hand pointing at  cicchetti board in Venice

Cicchetti boards pair perfectly with Italian wine.

Pasticceria Tonolo

Nothing beats the taste of something sweet alongside a freshly brewed cup of coffee and Pasticceria Tonolo never disappoints. Load up on some of their delicious cannoli brimming with mascarpone, flaky croissants, or freshly baked jam tarts before a day of Venetian adventure and sightseeing. The only difficulty lies in deciding which Italian pastry best fits your mood. But if you’re around during carnival season, you have to try their speciality frittelles whipped up just for the occasion.

closeup of two cannolis with coffee in the background.

Espresso and cannoli pair perfectly. Photo credit: Jules Morgan

Caffè Brasilia

Truly a hole in the wall cafe, this is a spot that could easily be missed if you’re not careful – but that would be a big mistake. The inviting atmosphere in Caffè Brasilia (Rio Terrà dei Assassini, 30124) is almost as welcoming as the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee that greets you as you walk inside. A great all rounder, this spot is perfect for a light snack during the day paired with a smooth cappuccino.

close up of cappuccino with sugar packets on the side in Italy.

Enjoy a cappuccino in Venice at any time during the day. Photo credit: Channone Arif


Part bistro, part bookshop, one hundred percent wholesome. Sullaluna has a laid back vibe characterized by the rustic furniture adorning this bright little cafe. With a vegetarian menu that caters for vegans too, this is a great spot for vegetarians to grab a bite along with a delicious coffee fix.

closeup of cappuccino outside at a terrace in Venice.

Cappuccinos taste better with a view in Venice. Photo credit: Alisa Anton

Rosa Salva

Founded in 1870 by Andrea Rosa, Rosa Salva began life as a mobile catering service, delivering freshly made fare to Venetian villas along the Brenta River. Today, they have cafes dotted in various locations throughout the city. Whichever you choose, it will make for a great spot to soak up Venice’s rich atmosphere and watch life go by – especially if you’re an espresso fan.

closeup of espresso in a vintage espresso cup

Espresso should be drank black. Photo credit: Salomé Chaussure

Update Notice: This post was updated on November 19, 2023.

Once you’re caffeinated, you’ll want to use your newfound energy for a day of sightseeing – and there’s no better way to see all of the Floating City’s top attractions than our tours of Venice.

by Aoife Bradshaw

View more by Aoife ›

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