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It’s difficult not to notice them, next to one other in the middle of Florence, defining the edge of Piazza della Repubblica. I’m referring to coffee Gilli and coffee Paszkowski concert, which dominate the entire area with their windows and outdoor space. Two desks with desk buddies, rivals and allies at the same time, mirror and flag of an increasingly heated Florence who lives at the counter from morning to late evening. They are managed by the same family, entrepreneurs Valenza, Marco, and Sonia. From managing a little tavern in Florence to conquering before coffee Paszkowski performance and then Caffè Gilli. Two sites with distinct beginnings.

Gilli and Paszowsky: From Past to Future

Gilli is one of the oldest and most prominent Italian clubs. It opens in 1733 on Via dei Calzaiuoli, from the Swiss family of Luigi Gilli. Then it was known as “Bottega dei dolce dolce”. He then moved to Via degli Speziale, and finally to the current Piazza della Repubblica. It began as a confectionery and later specialized in pastry shops, cafeterias, and even celebrations.

Paszkowski, however, had a different story. It originated as a central coffee between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1903, he became a point of reference not only for the city, but also for the intellectuals of the day; he converted into a brewery and a refreshment station, and he purchased the name Paszkowski specifically to become the Ambassador brand of the Paszkowski beer, which spread until the 1930s.

Paszkowski is, in every way, a literary café that invites intellectuals like Preciolini, D’Annunzio, Soffici, Papini, Montale, Saba, and Pratolini. The Valenza family purchased coffee in 1979, and they chose to relaunch not only the cafeteria, but also catering and mixing, while never forgetting the tradition of concert coffee. What are the advantages of the two rooms? What should I try in one and what in the other?

The food and beverage offer

Caffè Gilli, with over a century of experience, has lost nothing in terms of authenticity and quality. Today, it is a point of reference in Italy and around the world for confectionery manufacture, with such traditional offers as the famous Gilli cake, which is innovative. In addition to the pastry and cafeteria, there is a restaurant with seasonal menus rich in Italian and international dishes, which may be enjoyed in the luxurious interior room or, on bright days, in the wide covered outdoor area.

But the real battle horse of coffee that makes it unique and inimitable is the Negroni, one of the most famous cocktails in the world, whose history appears to be linked to the Tuscan city (was born in 1919 when, in Florence, Count Camillo Negroni asked the young Fosco Scarselli of the Casoni Caffè to add gin to the “usual” drinks based on Vermouth and Bitter that he loved to take sap).

Sitting at tables overlooking Piazza della Repubblica at Caffè Gilli, you can enjoy the classic Negroni or the centenary, with three different preparations to symbolize the past, present, and future, or even the award-winning Neg-Mex, where Mezcal replaces gin and the unusual with the addition of coffee liqueur.

Even at Paszkowski Concert Coffee, the best of the offerings are centered behind the counter. And now, more than ever, the historic local’s cocktail bar continues its research road with Luca Manni’s concoctions, which pay respect to the great mixing classics, in a continual play between past and future. These are drinks capable of enhancing the original recipes of the great classics selected through the personal reinterpretation of the room and the most modern preparation techniques, such as the creation of cordial and velvet, or the use of cottton and vacuum cooking. “The proposal of the Cocktail bar of coffee concert Paszkowski evolves with particular attention both to the most unusual combinations as for the approach of well.

If you want discover more about the city of Florence you can come to our Free Tour of Florence that we are running from Santa Maria Novella square in front of Minerva Hotel