I felt like Grace Kelly waiting for Cary Grant to walk through the door as I sat in the Caffé Pedrocchi. All I needed was a Grasshopper or some other drink from the 1950’s in my hand. The caffé is that elegant and the atmosphere is that retro. It was a nice daydream since the reality is that I was sitting in the same clothes I had been wearing for two weeks. But, it was nice to dream.
Populated with weary tourists looking for a place to relax and energetic locals catching up with friends the Caffé Pedrocchi is a great place to spend an hour or two catching your breath before you move on to your next activity.
Caffé Pedrocchi History
When Caffé Pedrocchi opened in 1831 it was the largest caffé in Europe and was visited by artists from all over Europe including Stendhal and Lord Byron. Many have called it the most beautiful caffé in the world.
I can’t imagine much has changed since it opened. It is still an elegant place to relax and enjoy an espresso (or any one of the many pages of coffee and chocolate drinks they offer) a gelato, a glass of wine, a mug of beer, a cup of tea or a more potent drink if you need to gather your strength for more sightseeing. You can also order light pastries or a small sandwich or both, you are on vacation after all.
The Caffé Pedrocchi is the heart of Padua visited by locals and tourists alike.
All drinks coffee and stronger come with a substantial plate of appetizers. To me it is the best bargain in the city – a snack and access to clean restrooms all for the price of a drink. There are any number of things you can take from the Pedrocchi as souvenirs. I came home with paper napkins, drink coasters and toothpicks in packaging with the Pedrocchi label.
As many times as I have been to Europe and seen dogs in restaurants and bars it never ceases to surprise me. I am always very impressed with how well-behaved the dogs are. Never in my years of visiting Europe have I seen a dog fight break out in a restaurant although I did once see a rather heated altercation break out between two men.
We went to the Pedrocchi every day and sampled everything from wine, to a Sprtiz (made with Prosecco and Compari) to a gelato and coffee. Some days we had a combination of several of the above. The staff remembered us from one day to the next which was a nice touch.
The caffé is divided into two sections.
You can sit inside and be served by the wait staff or you can order from the bar and either stand at the bar or take your order to the outer room and sit at one of several tables located there. It is always cheaper to order from the bar but then you can’t enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant. No matter where you sit you are entitled to a token which gets you into some of the nicest and cleanest restrooms in the city.
Padua was heavily damaged during World War II and the Pedrocchi was not spared.
It was completely rebuilt and reopened in 1998. For more on the history of Padua you can visit Il Museo dei Risorgimento located right next to the Café in the same building.
In the spring the Pedrocchi becomes a doorless café by throwing open its doors open on to the piazza. The Pedrocchi often hosts live music in the evenings.
The Caffé is open 7 days a week and accepts all major credit cards.
And, just in case you are interested Grasshoppers (a drink made with creme de menthe and cream) are in fact on the menu along with any number of other mixed drinks you have seen the characters in Mad Men enjoying.
Location: Piazza Cavour