Once at the Agolo di via delle Oche and via dei Calzaiuoli, there was a loggia, still visible from the arches of the shops. The loggia belonged to the family of the hatyaries of the Guelph part, and like so many wealthy of the time having such a building was a sort of presentation ticket to the population, parties, weddings and receptions of various kinds were made inside it. But this was called or rather nicknamed “La Neghittosa” (from the Latin neglectus -Svogliato -Pigro), then a meeting place for time and listless, later transformed into the tavern was in the centuries absorbed by the houses. In the first half of the 1700s and more precisely in 1733 the Swiss family Gilli opens in via Calzaiuoli “La Bottega dei Pani sweets”, a real world of various sweets, jams, pastry. Given the great appreciation by the Florentine population, Andrea Gilli decides to open in 1893, another luxurious pastry-confectionery from the name of “Maison Gilli”, on the plan of the property of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (current Piazza della Repubblica) at the corner of Via degli Speziale in front of the famous Caffè-Concerto Trianon (current Rinascente).
After the death of Luigi Gilli, the eldest son sells his activities to the Frizzoni family also of Swiss nationality. Despite the sale of shops and chocolate of the shop in via Calzaiuoli, the coffee located on the corner with Piazza Vittorio Emanuele remained the favorite place from the average and high bourgeoisie. In 1917 during the First World War, Settimo Frizzoni opens the new coffee adjacent to a Another famous city coffee that of Paszkowski. After some modernizations Gilli became a room with two rooms, one used as a pastry shop while the other with a tea room, and the outdoor area. In a short time he became the meeting of the best artists, painters and writers of the time such as Marinetti, Boccioni, Carrà, gifts, lungs, Ferroni ….. the place remained (thank goodness) intact with his Belle Epoque -style furniture , perhaps the only one in Florence, we can see the monumental counter made by the shop of Gino Coppodè, Murano chandeliers and the various windows with the clock still working. On the ceiling within the stucco frames are inserted of the paintings depicting gentlemen of the past (Paolina Bonaparte -madame Rècamier) made in 1906 by the painter Ezio Giovannozzi. Even after the war the restaurant was a meeting place for the young Florentines and the first tourists who visited the city. Among other things, the famous photo “American Girl in Italy 1951” by Ruth Orkin (the girl who passes on the sidewalk in front of Gilli and attracts the attention of a large group of young men, was taken at the corner with via Roma.
In 1974 the family Marchetti bought the café in via Calzaiuoli, transforming it into a self-service snack until recently, after it was acquired by the Victoria’s Secret company. What do we say … we hope and we wish that the oldest coffee in Florence can have a long life . When we order the “Negroni” cocktail today, none or almost, it should be remembered, that this drink famous all over the world as pizza was born in our city: Florence. Everything began to the Casoni coffee, a renowned room of the time or the 1919. (Becoming Caffè Giacosa and Finally Cavalli). Count Camillo Negroni known globetrotter character, asked at the barman (Angelo Tesauro or Folco Scarselli, most likely the latter had a more reinforced version of the “American” to Count Negroni) sip) to prepare his favorite drink in memory perhaps of his past abroad. This cocktail became famous throughout the city and beyond …. “The fashionable American of Count Negroni”. From the intuition and the improvement of Count Negroni himself, the drink is now known all over the world. Another piece of the city of Florence for the Italian Style. And for those who want to make cocktail here is the classic recipe. Pour some ice into a low glass, add a 1/3 of Gin a 1/3 of Bitter a 1/3 of red vermut, mix everything gently for 15/20 seconds, garnish with a slice of orange.
If you want know more about other stories of Florence come with us to discover several pars an secrets of our beautiful City. we are running a Florence free tour, from Santa Maria Novella square, meeting point in front of Minerva hotel.