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The Antico Caffè Greco fights against eviction: ‘A historical asset to be protected’

Italy

The Antico Caffè Greco continues to fight against eviction proceedings. The historic café on Via Condotti announces that it has signed an agreement with the Società Dante Alighieri, an Italian cultural institution whose aim is to protect and spread Italian language and culture throughout the world with over 400 branches on all continents. “The event,” reads the note, “testifies to the peculiarity and originality of the Caffè Greco, one of the oldest in Italy (perhaps the oldest) whose birth certainly predates 1760, the year in which its existence is certified in the census registers of the Parish of San Lorenzo in Lucina.

‘The salon and intellectual history of Rome in three hundred and fifty square metres,’ it is then recalled, ‘is the Antico Caffè Greco in Via Condotti, which a Levantine named Nicola della Maddalena founded in 1760 and became, in the 19th century, a meeting place for artists, poets, notables and goliards. A whirlwind of writers, rulers, prelates, wise women, gigolos, journalists, adventurers and politicians. The mind of Rome has lived here for two hundred and sixty years. In the famous ‘omnibus’ room, Liszt, Bizet, Wagner, Goethe, Casanova, Stendhal and even Buffalo Bill passed through. Gogol wrote a novel here; Passini and Guttuso were inspired by a painting. It is a monument of the capital, where all the great thinkers, artists, men of letters and patriots stopped, invigorated by the exchange of ideas and oriental drink, and where the heart of the Risorgimento also pulsated. And if a cardinal sits at the Greco? Legend has it that he becomes pope. It happened to Gioacchino Pecci, who became Leo XIII’.
‘In 1806,’ the café owners go on to emphasise, ‘the price of coffee rose sharply due to the continental blockade imposed by Napoleon. The other café owners in Rome tried to keep the price of cups of coffee constant by mixing chickpea, soya, chestnut or chicory flour with the precious powder. At the Caffè Greco, however, they continued to use only pure coffee. The price doubled and the cup became smaller (the one that is still used today), but the unmistakable aroma of real coffee decreed the definitive success of the café’.


But in the meantime, the eviction procedure initiated by the Israelitic Hospital goes on. “A battle that has been going on for several years now, which sees the Ministry finally intervening with a decisive stance in averting eviction. In fact, an impasse would be created, which would lead to the destruction of the Caffè Greco cultural asset, protected by no less than four Ministerial Decrees”.
“Scrolling through the Court Proceedings,” the note explains, “we see that the Court of Appeal has confirmed, in clear letters, the inseparability of the complex known as ‘Caffè Greco’, consisting of real estate, furniture, and operating licence, as identified in the Ministerial Decree of 1953. This complex constitutes the cultural asset ‘Caffè Greco’ protected in its entirety and inseparability by no less than four decrees of the Ministry, starting with the aforementioned one of 1953 up to the most recent ones. For the purposes of the Cultural Heritage Code, therefore, any modification of the walls, furnishings and decorations is prohibited, as well as the activity carried out there, which could only be seen as the removal and demolition of the cultural asset”.

‘In this context,’ it goes on to say, ‘it is all too clear that the execution of the eviction, albeit confirmed by the Court of Appeal, and now examined in the Court of Cassation, where several issues of constitutional illegitimacy have also been raised, would inevitably violate the unity thus described. Which translates into an impossibility, at least partial, of executing the eviction. The restriction in fact operates by affecting the intended use, preventing the landlord from assigning the property to another use, the tenant from removing or removing the movable property and furnishings contained therein and, in any event, both from changing the intended use of the business as a whole. As, moreover, also expressly stated by the recent judgment of the Regional Administrative Court, the Ministerial restriction, in addition to the assets (premises and furnishings), also includes the operating licence, making the commercial destination unchangeable by limiting the possibility of the destination of the property, which must be compatible with the commercial activity carried out”.

“As evident, therefore, the execution of the eviction, possible only within the limits outlined above, would lead to a paralysis of the mutual claims, which could have no other outlet than that of the blocking of the premises (which could not be rented) and the closure of the activity (which could not be exercised), until the parties find a new economic agreement on the price of the lease. It is therefore clear,” the note concludes, “the need for a fair agreement that should be sponsored by the mayor of Rome and the Lazio Region, which has a specific obligation to identify agreements between the parties, based on Regional Law 12-2016, unfortunately disregarded, which states in Article 14, paragraph 3: ‘The Region also promotes and encourages the signing of agreements between municipalities, business owners and owners of the properties concerned, in order to promote the rebalancing of rents.

Source: IL TEMPO

Photos: Antico Caffè Greco – Facebook

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