8 Historical Places in Italy That Will Take You Back in Time


It doesn’t have to be hard to stumble upon historic places in Italy – you’ll find everything from Etruscan, Greek and Roman ruins to Baroque churches and contemporary masterpieces. But it’s not just these places that imbue the country with history. In fact, the European nation is home to 200 restaurants, hotels, and cafes that are officially registered as historic sites, and most of them opened at least 150 years ago. Where can you follow in the famous footsteps and have a coffee at the same table where Umberto Eco once sipped his, or go out for an aperitif in a bar where Hemingway raised a glass?

Each with their own unique story, these 200 landmark establishments are beloved aspects of Italy’s historical heritage, and many are as popular today as they were a century ago. All have seen artists, celebrities, royalty and politicians pass through their rooms – and now it’s your turn. Here, AD explores eight of our favorite centuries-old historic places in Italy, perfect for your next trip.

Venice’s legendary Caffè Florian overlooks Piazza San Marco.

Photo: Cafe Florian

Cafe Florian, Venice

Giacomo Casanova brought his dates here. Playwright Carlo Goldoni was a regular from childhood. Ernest Hemingway loved cocktails. Caffè Florian in Piazza San Marco, Venice, is a place full of history and charm. It opened on December 29, 1720, and today the local spot is one of the most famous bars in Italy. With 300 years of history behind it, it’s easily one of the oldest dining establishments in the country (the restaurant even lays claim to the title of oldest cafe in the world, although there are other contenders with solid credentials). arguments that they deserve this recognition).

The café was opened by Floriano Francesconi under the porticoes of the famous Procuratie Nuove, and its windows overlooking the square give every room a magnificent view of one of the city’s emblematic monuments. Over the centuries, illustrious personalities such as Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Goethe, Rousseau, politician and poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, and writers Silvio Pellico and Ugo Foscolo have sat at its tables. At Caffè Florian, each room has a story, although the Sala del Senato, adorned with gilding, purple velvet and mirrors, is perhaps the most important, since the Venice Biennale was conceived here.

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Patrick F. Williams