A visit to Venice came with two absolute must do items to be ticked off my list. A Gondola trip and a visit to Caffe Florian. For both of these you just have to forget the price and enjoy the experience.
Opened in 1720 in Piazza San Marco, Venice, Caffè Florian stakes claim to being Italy’s oldest Café. Since its opening it has always been frequented by an illustrious clientele ranging from stars of stage and screen to luminaries from art, culture, politics and business. Although steeped in tradition and history it is still the place to go with musicians in the Piazza providing live entertainment.
Before you even order anything there's a 6 euro cover charge for the music (children excluded). This and all the other prices are clearly stated so the huge bill shouldn't come as a huge shock. You really are paying for the experience and ambiance. If you want a quick coffee go elsewhere but if you want to wile away an hour or so listening to fantastic live music in a wonderful setting as part of a memorable experience then the Florian is not to be missed on a visit to Venice.
Having carefully perused the extensive/expensive menu we opted for Ice Caffe, Macarons Florian, Club Sandwich Florian, Strawberry, Kiwi and Pineapple Mousse plus a couple of soft drinks and a Cappuccino. Our order arrived in the traditional manner on a silver tray held high by a waiter dressed in white jacket and bow tie.
The food was both amazing to look at and to eat. The service was very efficient and polite and not overly stuffy. Our waiter was more than happy to take and pose for photos with us. The interior rooms are beautifully ornate and if walls could talk I can well imagine they would have some stories to tell. Well worth venturing inside to the toilets for the excuse to have a good look around.
We ate and drank every last crumb and drop but there was no hurry to move on and we didn't feel rushed to leave. The setting and ambiance are something special and it's a fantastic place to sit and people watch whilst the world goes by.
Don't worry, we'd set aside enough holiday spends to do the Gondola too. It was also a fantastic must do experience and at 80 Euros for up to 6 people for 40 minutes it possibly provides better value for money than Florian. Although you will have to pay more if you want your Gondolier to sing. Music and song clearly don't come free in Venice.