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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Road closures as major fire breaks out west of Rome

Public transport was disrupted and traffic diverted on Wednesday afternoon due to thick smoke after a fire broke out in the Malagrotta area between Rome and Ostia.

Road closures as major fire breaks out west of Rome

Via di Casal Lumbroso was closed to traffic to allow emergency services to battle a blaze that broke out in the area west of Rome on Wednesday afternoon, according to local news reports.

“From 2pm firefighting teams have been at work in the Casal Lumbroso – Massimina area due to a vast brushwood and vegetation fire: two warehouses were also affected by the flames, several homes evacuated,” stated the Italian fire brigade on social media platform X.

Rome transport company Atac said bus services to the west of the city, including lines 89, 702 and 720, were disrupted due to fire and thick smoke in the areas of Via di Casal Lumbroso and Via Ardeatina.

READ ALSO: How long is Italy’s latest heatwave going to last?

Trenitalia announced delays on its Rome-Napoli services as a section of the line south of Rome was reportedly closed.

A thick column of smoke was photographed by passengers at nearby Fiumicino Airport, and was also clearly visible from the Hydromania water park.

Residents in central areas of Rome meanwhile reported a smell of smoke and ash in the air.

Meanwhile another fire had reportedly broken out to the east of the city centre in grassland at the edge of Via Prenestina, spreading to a nearby wooded area.

The blazes reported on Wednesday were the latest in a long series of wildfires to have broken out around the capital in recent days and weeks amid a prolonged heatwave.