Opposite the mass of chairs and chrome tables that mark Caffe Florian’s expansion into the Piazza San Marco is a similar incursion of similar chairs (though in a slightly different hue), which represents Il Grand Caffe Quadri’s turf.  Each provides a similarly expensive service delivered by sharply dressed waiters to the sound of a small orchestra playing light classical and cinematic favourites.  The two slug it out for business from the tourist masses, much like the pigeons that share the square with them.  Florian has its artworks to differentiate it, Quadri the only restaurant in the square.   Each has its own list of historical and celebrity patrons.

It’s clearly a model that works, for just around the corner in the Piazzetta, Caffe Lavena provides more of the same; the grand survivors of a trade that in the 18th Century saw 20-30 coffee houses operating here.

Venezia-10

 

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