The history of Caffè Pedrocchi is nearly as rich as its pastries. It began in 1769 in Padua when a café proprietor, Pietro Zigno, brought his nephew, Francesco Pedrocchi to live with him at the age of 14. Pedrocchi began to work at his uncle’s café and decided to open up one of his own on New Years Eve in 1772.
Pedrocchi passed the café’s property to his son, Antonio, in 1799. Antonio had a vision and began to buy the buildings next door, hoping to make a café unlike Italy ha ever seen before. With the help of architect Giuseppe Jappelli, his vision was completed when Caffè Pedrocchi opened its doors in 1831.
Keeping it in the family, Antonio’s passed down the café to his adopted son in 1891, obligating him to keep the café on the property and maintain it with love.
This café is known far and wide as “the door-less café” because it remained open from 1831 to 1916. After the first world war, many original furnishings of the café were lost. It remained closed throughout the majority of the 80s and 90s, but finally reopened in 1998.
It is located in an imposing neoclassic building and, throughout its history was unknown for being the ‘it’ place where artists, writers, and intellectuals would gather. Its visitors included Gabriele d’Annunzio, Eleonora Duse, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Stendhal and Alfred De Musset.
One of the most fascinating facts of this café, is its famous Green Room- the room was reserved for poor students who were encouraged to sit there and read without worrying about waiters pestering them for orders. The room was so well-known, it even became the root for an Italian saying- “restare al verde” which literally means “staying in the green” and is used to describe being broke!
There are many other fun facts and rumors regarding Caffe Pedrocchi, including the belief that when the café was being expanded, Pedrocchi found ancient treasure in the excavations that made him incredibly wealthy. While this may not be one hundred percent true, there were several Roman finds that are now displayed at the Eremitani Museum.
Nowadays the café is open for people to come and enjoy connecting with history while sipping on coffee and delving into the delicious desserts. The green room is still off-bounds for waiters and remains a place where people can sit for hours.
The specialty of the café is the Caffe Pedrocchi which includes a coffee in a medium size cup along with mint flavored ice cream and a dash of cocoa powder.
From the specials, to the décor, to the incredible history, every part of Caffe Pedrocchi is magical in its own way.