Highly recommended in Venice, though touristy as hell, is Caffe Florian on Piazza San Marco, the oldest cafe in Italy still in operation. Established in 1720, Florian instantly transports you back to tales of yesteryear where one imagines well-heeled Venetians came together dressed up in impeccably tailored suits or dresses to talk about the issues of the day while sipping on a strong cup of coffee. Not much going on in the styles stakes these days, it’s predominantly tourists in wind jackets paying a visit.
The rule of thumb here is, do as the Italians. Everything around Piazzo San Marco is extremely expensive, Caffe Florian is no exception. If you sit at a table or out on the terrace like a proper tourist, you will pay double the amount an Italian pays for his coffee or pastry. If you want to spot an Italian or two giving themselves a much needed caffeine boost, stand at the bar and be prepared to be dazzled by the coffee at half the price served by one of those ‘last of the mohicans’ waiters. Somewhat older men in their white jackets, black trousers and matching bow tie who practically invented the word service. Despite droves of tourists frequenting the joint, this is Italy at its finest.