Starbucks set to open first coffee shop in central Rome

American coffee chain Starbucks is set to open a three-storey outlet in Rome’s historic centre in April as it continues its expansion across Italy.

Starbucks set to open first coffee shop in central Rome
A Starbucks cafe in Milan. The US multinational continues to expand in Italy and is now preparing to open its first outlet in central Rome. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

A new Starbucks cafe will open its doors in downtown Rome at Piazza Montecitorio, opposite the Italian parliament building, Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper reported on Thursday.

A Starbucks ‘coming soon’ sign appeared this week on the facade of a former restaurant close to Palazzo Montecitorio, the seat of the Italy’s lower house of parliament.

Renovation work is currently underway and the new branch is expected to open by the end of April, Repubblica reported.

The US-based multinational has long been rumoured to be opening an outlet at an unknown location in Rome’s city centre following its success in Milan and elsewhere.

Starbucks has 25 outlets in Italy so far, despite predictions that it would not last long in the country famed as Europe’s coffee capital and the home of espresso shots drunk standing at the counter at family-owned bars.

READ ALSO: ‘Unexpected flavour’: Starbucks launches olive oil coffee in Italy

So far, only one of these outlets is in the south of Italy – a branch opened at the Castel Romano shopping mall on the outskirts of Rome in April 2022.

Starbucks’ locations in Italy are mainly in and around Milan and other parts of northern Italy, which is more affluent and has a higher ratio of international residents than the south.

But local media has frequently speculated about the opening of more branches in Rome as part of Starbucks’ plans to expand in Italy throughout 2023.

Starbucks also planned to open an outlet near Rome’s central Termini train station, La Repubblica reported in September 2022, though there’s no sign of it yet.

READ ALSO: Where, when and how to drink coffee like an Italian

Starbucks has been in Italy since 2018, when it opened a branch at Piazza Cordusio in Milan, saying it was entering the Italian market with “humility and respect”.

The multinational caused a stir in February when it launched a range of olive-oil infused coffee-based drinks at its Italian stores.

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Will Rome restrict access to Trevi Fountain to stop unruly tourists?

There were renewed calls to limit access to the Trevi Fountain this week after videos showed a man diving off the 18th-century monument to a round of applause.

Will Rome restrict access to Trevi Fountain to stop unruly tourists?

Italian authorities have long warned visitors that Rome’s monumental fountains are not for swimming in, but now local politicians say “the time has come to restrict access to the Trevi fountain” as rules are being ignored.

Rome’s tourism councillor on Friday called on the Italian government to limit access and prevent people from swimming in or climbing on the historical monument, after videos shared online showed a man diving off the side of the Trevi Fountain into the waters below last Thursday.

Calling it an “indecent spectacle”, Tourism Councillor Alessandro Onorato said in a video statement that the incident was “yet another tourist making a mockery of the historical and cultural heritage of our city and our rules.”

Italian newspaper La Repubblica shared the video, noting that other visitors did not intervene, and reported that both Italian and foreign tourists instead filmed the stunt on their phones.

Onorato said laughter and “complicit applause” the man received from the crowd was also “very concerning”.

The man turned out not to be a tourist but a local resident who had already been fined for a similar stunt and given a ‘Daspo’ – an anti-social behaviour order banning him from the area – once before, according to national broadcaster Rai.

He reportedly received another fine of 450 euros after being stopped by police on Thursday.

READ ALSO: ‘Selfies and ignorance’: Italy’s Colosseum slams badly-behaved tourists

Onorato urged the Italian government to provide “concrete help” to stop unruly behaviour and said “fines from police and the numerous appeals for common sense are no longer enough.”

“Tourists cannot do whatever they want with impunity, respect is required and we really must preserve the most precious places in the world,” he said.

(Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Onorato said the “most appropriate solution” would have to be decided with local safety authorities and government ministries.

This is far from the first time Rome’s politicians have called for access to the Trevi Fountain to be restricted.

A previous plan to erect a one-metre-high glass and steel barrier around the fountain to protect it from unruly visitors was abandoned in 2020 after arts and heritage experts called the idea “foolish”.

Every summer, hapless tourists face fines of hundreds of euros after falling foul of Rome’s strict ban on taking a dip in public fountains.

READ ALSO: From selfie brawls to midnight swims: Tourists behaving badly at the Trevi Fountain

Since 2015, a city ordinance has provided for fines of up to 450 euros for anyone caught swimming in or otherwise misbehaving on Rome’s historic fountains.

And under nationwide laws, anyone found to have damaged the centuries-old Baroque monuments – or any other site of historical and artistic interest in Italy – could be prosecuted and face a fine of up to €15,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years.

These penalties may soon become harsher, as ministers in April approved plans to increase the maximum fines.

Several people risked prosecution in July after a spate of incidents in which visitors to the Colosseum were caught carving their names or initials into the wall of the ancient monument.