The end of the Caffè Giubbe Rosse in Florence



The end of 2018 in Florence also sees the end of its most famous historic café. The company that owns the café has been declared bankrupt, owing around 3.5 million euros.

Contributing to this debt has been the colossal land rent in the centre of Florence of 25,000 euros per month plus very significant charges for the occupation of public land the large, invasive and very expensive outdoor terrace built on unfortunate directives of the Municipality and of the Superintendency for architectural and environmental heritage).
Caffè Giubbe Rosse is a café in Piazza della Repubblica. When opened in 1896, the cafè was actually called “Fratelli Reininghaus”. It was named “Giubbe Rosse” (Red jackets or coats) in 1910, after the jackets which waiters wear to this very day.
The café has a long-standing reputation as the resort of literati and intellectuals. Alberto Viviani defined the Giubbe Rosse as fucina di sogni e di passioni (“a forge of dreams and passions”).

The Giubbe Rosse was the place where the Futurist movement blossomed, struggled and expanded; it played a very important role in the history of Italian culture as a workshop of ideas, projects, and passions.
Poets such as Ardengo Soffici, Giovanni Papini, Eugenio Montale, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giuseppe Prezzolini and many others met and wrote in this literary café, an important venue of Italian literature in the beginning of the 20th century.

Important magazines such as Solaria and Lacerba originated here from the writers who frequented the café.
Giubbe Rosse was founded by two Germans, the Reininghaus brothers, in 1896.
Let’s hope someone will step in to rescue this historic part of old Florence!

This article was written on Facebook by Freya’s Florence Tours – Freya Middleton

Foods in Paris

So, I was lucky enough to take a guided tour through the old market streets of Montmartre. OMG.  Hang on!

First stop: an artisan boulangerie:











Next stop, a cheese shop:















Then we chose a shop for dessert, a fruit tart:






















There’s more to come, but we need to pace ourselves!

Hot chocolate and Florence



Did you know that hot chocolate is a Florentine tradition? From its first appearance at the Medici court in the 16th century, the city’s nobles went crazy for the bitter drink, which was served instead of wine or water at meals in Palazzo Pitti.

It experienced a second moment of importance in the 19th century, when some of the city’s now-historic bars served it to travelers, aristocrats and intelligentsia. I recently learned about Hot Chocolate in Florence on a thematic tour of the city with Francesca from the cultural association Tre Passi Per Firenze, organized by Yelp Firenze, and I’ve asked her to tell us more about it. The article below is composed thanks to her research, with my words.


History of chocolate in Florence: where and whom

Christopher Columbus may have sailed the ocean blue in 1492 but it took him until his fourth expedition, in 1502, to discover chocolate. The nice people of the island of Guanaja in Honduras sent some home with him, having also served it to him as a drink, which he found disgusting. Cortés did a better job of diffusing the love for chocolate, having found it in Mexico in 1519 and imported it to Spain in 1528. It took half a century until it became regularly available in Europe – Italy was the second country to adopt it.

The “gift from the gods” was prepared as a drink – the possibility to make chocolate harden into a bar came only later – following the methods brought back via Cortés. The seeds of the cacao were ground into a powder and combined with boiled water to make a bitter drink. Early reports say it was healthy and provided much energy. Its success in European cities, including Florence, was that it provided an alternative to wine and beer when the water couldn’t be drunk unless boiled. It wasn’t entirely to the taste of Italians until combined with cane sugar: Girolamo Benzoni, an important merchant, said in the middle of the 16th century that it wasn’t fit for men but for pigs. He changed his mind when he tasted the sugared version.

For the entire article, see:

A little friendly fallafel competition

Walking through Le Marais yesterday, my guide pointed out 2 restaurants in the old Jewish quartiere.  They are located across the street from each other and both specialize in fallafel.  Each restaurant tries to outshine it’s main competitor, and, judging from the crowd size, I’d say that L’As du Fallafel is winning, at least it was yesterday!


The competition is this place, Mi-va-mi. I love the fact that they are completely upfront in their quest: goutez et comparez (taste and compare).


Paris sweets

Just your average, turn-of-the-century, pastry shop in Paris:



Where they sell devilishly delightful confections.  I was waiting in line to buy their signature loaf of whole wheat bread, and wound up with a few of these temptations as well.  Well, who can blame me?! I mean: look at them!!









Actually, this is no average Parisian pâtisserie!  It is the winner of one of the  prestigious awards for an annual contest for who bakes the best traditional baguette (baguette de tradition) in all of Paris.




Here’s the name/address of the bakery: