It is extremely sad when an emblematic Café faces the danger of closing down.
HCR has already presented the case of one more Historic Café that closed down in the European Continent, a reality that underlines the necessity and importance of protecting the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Historic Cafés in order to keep it alive and to handle it untouched to the new generations.
The Antico Caffè Greco sometimes simply referred to as Caffè Greco, is a true landmark, an emblematic Historic Café which opened in 1760 on Via dei Condotti in Rome, Italy. It is the oldest Café in Rome and the second oldest in Italy, after Caffè Florian in Venice.
For more than two centuries and a half, the Caffè Greco has remained a significant place of gathering and inspiration for writers, politicians, artists, and notable people. However, in 2017, the owner of the building asked – as it is written on Wikipedia – for a huge raise in its monthly rent.
It is worth noticing that in 2018, the Historic Cafés Route (former EHICA) traveled to Trieste, Italy, in order to participate in the inauguration of the Association for the Protection of Historic Literary Cafes. During that period the Antico Caffè Greco was again facing the danger of closing down, because -again- of a huge raise of the lease.
“For 120 years, leases were gradually renewed. Then, suddenly, the top management of the Ospedale Israelitico decided, in 2017, not to renew the lease, without giving any justification” points out one of the two latest communications of Antico Caffè Greco, as posted on social media:
“CAFFÈ GRECO. The Court of Appeal urged the Ospedale Israelitico to make a request for a lease. At the Ministry the meeting with Undersecretary Vittorio Sgarbi.
Everyone knows the Caffè Greco.
It has stood there, slyly, for almost three centuries and has seen the passing of history, artists, men of letters, rulers and nobles, celebrities from every era; but also many non-famous people, who have loved and love the Caffè Greco, a banquet of culture, art and humanity.
The quote by the famous frequenter De Chirico is famous: “the Caffè Greco is the place where one can sit and wait for the end of the World” And so it was that, to protect the Caffè Greco from speculation, in 1953 Minister Antonio Segni issued a Ministerial Decree of constraint.
In the decree, which declared the Caffè Greco to be of ‘particularly important interest’, we read in clear terms: ‘… the property of the Opera Pia Ospedale Israelitico … for the part of the building, and of Mr Gubinelli Federico fu Giovanni for the part of the furniture and the operating licence…’.�Thus, contrary to what is falsely represented by many sources, there are two owners:
1) Antico Caffè Greco srl: owner of the company with all its assets, including historical furniture, paintings, statues, works of art 2) Ospedale Israelitico owner of the walls, as anyone can verify in the Public Registers (Conservatory, Company Registry).
For 120 years, leases were gradually renewed. Then, suddenly, the top management of the Ospedale Israelitico decided, in 2017, not to renew the lease, without giving any justification.
So why doesn’t Antico Caffè Greco srl move its business elsewhere?
Because the aforementioned Ministerial Decree dictates that Caffè Greco must remain there, in Via Condotti.
As the Avvocatura dello Stato very effectively set out in its intervention before the Court of Appeal, where it clarified the position of the Ministry: Caffè Greco is not moving from Via Condotti 86, that is beyond dispute. If anything, a decision will have to be made on the “quantum”, i.e. a just compensation that the owner of the business, Antico Caffé Greco srl, will pay to the Ospedale Israelitico.
And so it was that the Court of Appeal energetically invited the parties, especially the rather reluctant Ospedale Israelitico, to come to an agreement, postponing the hearing.
And finally, the Ospedale Israelitico seems to have decided to adhere to the invitation for constructive mediation already made by the Undersecretary for Culture Vittorio Sgarbi.
So today we will meet, hoping that the Undersecretary’s prestige will lead to a happy ending.
We have called a press conference for Friday morning at 11.00 a.m., at the Caffè Greco, Via Condotti 86, where we will present the results of the meeting and, whatever they may be, the future plans for the Caffè Greco.
Antico Caffè Greco srl
The Chairman of the Board of Directors Carlo Pellegrini�For any information call the number +39 328 315 1234″