If you have wandered slowly through Trastevere, there is a good chance that you may have stumbled upon Antico Caffe del Moro. If you have found it, then you have probably also taken a photo of the cafe’s old sign. If you did, you had good reason to. It is not simply photogenic – the cafe and its sign are historic.
The coffee shop has long been a gathering spot in Rome. Antico Caffe del Moro first opened in 1873. It took its name from the street on which it was founded: Via del Moro.
The first coffee shop in Europe was Caffe Florian, which was founded in Venice 100 years before Antico Caffe del Moro in Rome. A century later, this coffee shop sprouted up in the Trastevere district. Many people still like to sit in for a coffee or a drink because the interiors show off the historic nature of the building.
However, it is infinitely more fun to people watch at an outdoor table under the Antico Caffè del Moro sign. The sign. Remember I mentioned the sign?
I have taken many photos of the sign because it LOOKED vintage, but it turns out it is much older than I would have guessed. Antico Caffe del Moro has one of the oldest cafe signs anywhere in the world. The sign that hangs on the weathered wall is original and dates back to 1896.
At the time, Italy was engaged in the First Italo-Ethiopian War. Italy lost. The cafe’s sign shows Italian soldiers offering a glass of Fernet Branca to three Ethiopian women. The amaro (bitter liquor often used as a digestive) is advertised beneath the painting. Fernet Branca was founded in Milan in 1845.
The historic nature of the sign makes the graffiti on it even more frustrating!
While it is a cafe by name, these days Antico Caffe del Moro is actually more of a wine bar and restaurant. They have 1,000 different bottles (from 360 producers) available by the glass.
Looking for more recommendations in the area? Here are the best restaurants in Trastevere.
You might also enjoy Antico Caffe Greco, the oldest coffee shop in Rome with an amazing location near the Spanish Steps (but no original signage).
Antico Caffe del Moro
Via della Pelliccia, 25
(Corner with Via del Moro)
Rome, Italy (Trastevere)
Open every day from 11:30 am to 2 am