Neapolitans have loved coffee for centuries. People used to roast coffee in the ‘bassi’, the typical ground floor homes in the dark lanes, completely open to the street. Passersby were enchanted by the aroma coming from these shops, which mingled with the sweet scent from the pastry shops.
“Il caffè” represents more for the Neapolitans than just an aromatic and stimulating beverage. It symbolizes Naples like the Vesuvius or the pizza, and it is the symbol of friendship and sociability. People like to offer it to guests, have it during a little break, in a bar, or after dinner with the family.
A Neapolitan is generally very critical when it comes to judging a coffee. It is said that Naples has the best Italian coffee, even though “de gustibus non disputandum est” or “in matters of taste, there can be no disputes”.
In Naples, with its rich diversity of neighborhoods, coffee bars hold a special place as gathering points for all: senators, families with grandchildren, street artists, businessmen and beggars. Coffee in Naples is an excuse to dialogue, to tell stories, not like in other more hectic Italian cities.