Venetian habits permeate our day without us noticing or knowing, in the first place. Take the coffee break, for example. Venetians came across kafa – coffee in Syria as early as in the 11th century.
The Merchants of Venice brought kafa back home to taste privately, but it was only in the 16th century that coffee shops opened along the format of those in Constantinople. Caffé Florian wasn’t even the first to open, in town, the spice experts turned apothecaries by then, used coffee to heal any symptom of fatigue or bad mood and circulatory issues.
But then it’s not just coffee. Venetians structure their days the way they have always done.
Around 11 am, you’ll find them flock to a bar-caffé or pastry store where they eat “their real breakfast”. That is, coffee and tramezzino or other delicious treats, both sweet and salty. That’s what remains from the ancient ombra break. There’s a second ombra time in the late afternoon, and that’s the time when Venetians love drinking a tiny glass of wine and eat bruschetta. This ritual is called “i giri de l’ombra”.
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