Italian bars give you an important insight into Italian culture. I chose Italy because of my love – coffee. What´s more than going to a mecca of coffee, espresso, cappuccino and having a word with joking and flirting Italian baristers?
As we have pubs in the Czech Republic and people come for a couple of beers, in Italy people go to bars to have their espresso and chat with locals. If you go in your local bar every day or let´s say quite often, you know what´s going on around the area, you know when someone wants to give away new born puppies or if there is any job available in the area.
In a bar you start your day! Having breakfast in a bar is an every day ritual for many Italians. After the traffic jam in Rome it is the busiest place in the mornings. „Cappuccino e cornetto“, „Caffé e cornetto con la crema, per favore“, that´s what Italians are having for breakfast – a coffee and a cornetto (type of a croissant…but this is not a croissant because croissant is French…so we have to call it cornetto because that´s what it is in Italy and actually it doesn´t taste the same.) You can have a cornetto semplice or filled with cream, nutella, chocolate or jam. And the barister will ask you how do you want your cornetto „Vuoi un cornetto con la crema o semplice?“
You should also specify how you want your coffee – well, it is very important to have your coffee the way you like it because it makes a difference! For me I like cappuccino scuro (dark cappuccino). My friend asks for a cappuccino scuro e bollente (dark and hot cappuccino), the others ask for a cappuccino senza schiuma (cappuccino without a froth), then a cappuccino in vetro (cappuccino in a glass). My friend Francesca likes caffé macchiato bollente. If you are lucky and the waiters like you, they will make a heart on your coffee and write that they are in love with you. No worries, it doesn´t mean they want to marry you. It is a way to make a compliment.
One day I observed some German tourists in a bar ordering a coffee and maybe someone will understand me that it was quite funny. The German guy was asking for a coffee „one coffee, please“…in Italy if one says „un caffé“…it means that you want an espresso…so the waiter replied „you want an espresso?“…the German guy didn´t seem to know what an espresso is so he said again „ no, I want a coffee…a big coffee…“…he tried to describe his coffee even with a „double cappuccino“…the confused waiter figured out that maybe he wanted an American coffee (caffé americano) with milk. In Italy a cappuccino is a cappuccino and a coffee is an espresso.
At first I wanted to recommend some bars in Rome but someone inspired me not to do it. When I was looking for a local bar/restaurant in Florence our landlord said…“well, there are not many not touristic places anymore…here used to be but once someone recommends a bar in a guide book it´s not a local place anymore, it becomes occupied by tourists.“ So anywhere you go, I wish you will always find your own bar…your local coffee heaven.