Looking for the best cafe near Spanish Steps?
There are a couple of historic, famous spots, but there are also a few other hidden gems where you can enjoy a coffee break in Rome's shopping zone.
And as we all know, when we shop, we also need a break from shopping.
Whether you are in the area for shopping, sight-seeing, or because you are staying here, here are the best places in the neighborhood for a coffee (or tea) break.
On this page, I'll give you options for
In the 18th and 19th centuries, nearby Porta del Popolo was one of the main entry points into the city.
Inns, taverns, and cafés sprung up area around the Spanish Square (the steps were built in 1725).
This was the era of the Grand Tour, and Europeans were flocking to Rome.
Rome, and in particular, this area around the Spanish Square became de facto gathering spot for artists, poets, musicians.
Some vestiges of this bygone era survive, such as the Keats/Shelley Memorial House.
And a few cafés have managed to survive along with them:
Since its founding in 1760, it is the oldest bar in Rome (it's the second oldest in Italy, after Venice's famed Caffè Florian).
The café soon became a magnet for literary and artistic luminaries of the day. Patrons included Stendhal, Goethe, Byron, Keats, Hans Christian Andersen, Wagner, Casanova, and many others.
The dark-paneled cozy rooms and tux-wearing waiters harken back to the glory days of this historic place in Rome.
If you love coffee/tea, why not take a dedicated tour or class that focuses on this theme?
Babington's Tea House has been at its enviable spot at the bottom of the Spanish Steps since 1893 when it was established by two English women. It's a lovely spot to enjoy coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or even an apertivo.
I love their club sandwiches, delectable baked goods, and their weekend brunch complete with eggs, pancakes, and scones.
While it could also be argued that the above historic cafés have a lovely and unique atmosphere, the below spots are my favorite places to enjoy a coffee/tea/hot chocolate near the Spanish Steps for their location and/or particular atmosphere.
Probably the winner of the best-ambiance category for a cafe near the Spanish Steps is Cafe Canova Tadolini.
The location's origin is historic while the café is more modern.
In 1818, sculptor Antonio Canova opened this studio to collaborate with his favourite pupil, Adamo Tadolini.
Eventually, the studio passed to the heirs of the Tadolini family and stayed active until 1967.
As you sit in this unusual cafe, surrounded by many of the plaster models that were used to create commissions that have filled private and public art collections around the world, you might feel as if the artist has just gone off to check something, and will be back any minute.
Caffè Canova, obviously named for the sculptor whose studio was once just down the street (see above), is your basic Roman bar.
But its vantage point right on Piazza del Popolo gives it a cachet as one of Rome's prime people-watching spots.
As is always the case, sitting outside will cost you. If you just want a coffee/bathroom break, you can certainly head inside and spend the usual 1€ or so for a coffee at the bar.
You can sit outside or inside. Coffee drinks will costs around 5€ or more, but they come with sweet snacks and the sense that you can take your time.
And frankly, 5€ is not really that much of a splurge for such a lovely experience (although prices start climbing when we move from coffee to aperitivo!)
Bialetti is the classic Italian brand of stovetop espresso makers. Get yours here:
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If you find yourself at the top of the Spanish Steps, you may want to pop in to this lovely bar/restaurant for a coffee or even light lunch.
It's most appealing when you can eat outside and enjoy the rooftop views.
There is a cute little fountain in the middle, with live turtles. It's a small detail but I find it's one of the things that makes me love coming here.
While the Spanish Steps neighborhood is well known as Rome's Shopping Zone, the Rinascente flagship store that recently opened nearby has upped the ante even more.
And besides the lovely top-floor eateries and Up Sunset bar on the roof, there is also a bar/café in the basement. Why would you want to have coffee in the basement?
Well, so you can sit right up close and personal with a 2,000-year old aqueduct. This aqueduct was built during the time of Rome's first emperor, Augustus.
It still functions today and feeds the Trevi Fountain as well as the Barcaccia fountain at the base of the Spanish Steps, among others.
Now that is coffee with a view.
If you love coffee/tea, try a tour with this theme!
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