First Rome Starbucks to Open in 2020

Update January 2021: 2020 had other plans for many of us, including Starbucks. The first Starbucks in Rome is now planned for 2021 and the location seems to be Piazza San Silvestro – which is essentially between the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.

It is happening. The first Rome Starbucks is set to open in 2020 in Prati, very close to Vatican City. 

There have been rumors of Starbucks coming to Rome for many years, but the brand shied away from opening cafes in Italy until finally taking the plunge with its first-ever Italian Starbucks in Milan in 2018. Built inside a historic post office, the Milanese coffee shop has drawn crowds who come to try the fresh-roasted coffee. But my guess is that most really come to marvel at the over-the-top design. 

First Starbucks in Italy

If Starbucks really has secured a location on Piazza Risorgimento (rumors say they will open in the old Maraldi bookstore), it really doesn’t need anything else. The square, which is set between St. Peter’s Square and the entrance to the Vatican Museums, is one of the busiest in the city. 

The bookstore has been closed for 5 years and is part of a worrying trend of hundreds of bookstores that have closed throughout Italy in the past decade. However, its size means it could easily be modernized to take on a look based on the Milan Starbucks store design. 

Modern will be the way for Starbucks in Rome to go if it wants to compete with the much better coffee available at nearby Pergamino. However, its location (which is already prestigious in Rome) means that it will have access to a huge number of international tourists who are already familiar with the brand and ready to pay the price for a takeaway Frappucino.

The appeal of Starbucks is likely to convert some Romans as well, but more gawkers who want to try it as a treat rather than a daily habit. Prices for coffee in Italy are much lower than for the drinks that Starbucks typically serves and it is unlikely that locals will be willing to give up their €1 cappuccino on a regular basis. 

To me, the opening of Starbucks in Rome feels inevitable. I’m not excited but I am also not surprised. My worry (other than the impact it will have on local businesses) is really on the garbage it will generate. I love Italian coffee culture that revolves around enjoying your drink at the counter. However, I know that busy tourists will be much more likely to take their large coffees to go in paper and plastic cups. I expect the Vatican will have to install more bins to deal with the influx.

So how can we be sure that the coffee shop is finally opening? There are already job advertisements for the Rome Starbucks. The managing group is currently seeking store managers to start training in Milan to ready for the launch in the Eternal City. 

Will you be visiting the new Starbucks in Rome?

starbucks rip off in Naples

This post will be updated when the opening date for the first Rome Starbucks is confirmed.

22 thoughts on “First Rome Starbucks to Open in 2020

  1. Shabby Sheep says:

    Hmmmm – I’m not sure that this example of ‘selling sand to Arabs’ will take off or be sustainable although young Italians do love to cover themselves in culture form both sides of the Atlantic – just look at MacDonalds, packed with youngsters not enjoying the Mediterranean diet.

  2. Jessica says:

    So sorry to hear Starbucks is opening in Rome! I am an American and can say that when I go to Rome, I look forward to immersing myself in the Italian culture, including going to Italian cafes for espresso and coffee.

  3. Ali says:

    I’m sure my husband would have to stop. We were in Marseille last year and the man insisted on getting coffee and a pastry. IN FRANCE! We were surrounded by beautiful fresh, French crepes and patisseries and that’s where he wanted to go? I used the bathroom there but you couldn’t pay me to buy anything. He got a Starbucks Marseille coffee mug there too and now it’s his favorite. SMH. I see a Starbucks Rome mug in my future. UGH.

  4. Robert Klein says:

    What an EXCELLENT “SPOT ON” Article. You know and I know that those who shop around Piazza di Spagna and Via CONDOTTI would never even be caught walking in front of STARBUCKS….Love your writings..Keep up the GREAT GREAT WORK..Robert K…

  5. Jacquelyn Laurenda says:

    I will never, ever, ever visit Starbucks in Italy—or anywhere else, for that matter (but for obvious reasons, ESPECIALLY not in Italy). I think it’s tragic that we’ll be seeing mounds of Starbucks trash around the Vatican, and that the whole thing just makes us as tourists seem like even more of a blight on Rome. Aside from the trash problem and the sheer tackiness of having a Starbucks on Piazza Risorgimento, Starbucks “coffee” is just plain awful. It boggles my mind that anyone would prefer that swill over a real coffee in an Italian bar. Why even come to Italy? Just stay home and enjoy your Starbucks on every corner.

  6. Jolly Roberts says:

    Starbucks might finally learn how to make a cappuccino, and bring that knowledge back home. There is nothing appealing about a mountain of dry foam over espresso in a paper cup.

  7. Brandi says:

    I will just keep staying in Lucca and Firenze where there are plenty of trash cans and no starbucks in sight! Tutti Binni!

  8. K says:

    ” I expect the Vatican will have to install more bins to deal with the influx.”
    You said it’ll open in Rome, the Vatican has nothing to do with in-Rome installations 🙂

    Yet, I think the two coffee cultures can cohexist, I mean, more choice isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  9. Nick says:

    September 2020 and still hasn’t opened. Every Italian I ask says it will cater mainly to tourists, that’s why it will be so close to the Vatican. It makes sense, I suppose, if you put it that way.

  10. Giovanni says:

    Dec 2020 and still no Starbucks in Rome, thank god. Keep your sewer brew out of Italy, we don’t want it. I say this as being someone who once lived in the US for many years and had my fill of crappy American coffee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.