Yes, sampling all those fancy coffees and amazing cakes all over Vicenza was hard work. But someone had to do it.
For there are few things in life as nice and soul-satisfying as sitting down for a coffee and a chat with a cherished friend, a loved one or a gaggle of acquaintances. It is a whole social ritual, isn’t it?! Arranging to meet, choosing carefully the right cafe and then, once there, ordering a coffee just as you like it plus a lovely little something giving you a bit of a sugar rush.
Interiors, location, quality of food and drink plus accessibility with a baby buggy all count. And it could put such a dampener on an otherwise great date chancing upon the only cafe in town where they serve bad coffee (yes, it happens in Italy, too) or where the owner meets you with a surly face, doesn’t have a printed menu and pretends he can’t understand you when you say in your best Italian ‘cafe deca con panna, prego‘, whilst he is greeting with a big smile a couple of passing locals (yes, this happened, too).
So, after a rigorous testing process spanning over a year and a half, these are six of the best coffee shops in Vicenza where you will feel utterly spoiled in terms of coffee and cake selection. Plus, during my several visits to each one of them customer service has been consistently attentive.
The six coffee shops below are listed in alphabetical order. Go on, I dare you to try them all (of course, if you haven’t already) and don’t forget to let me know what you thought of them.
Bar Al Pellegrino
Here you will be absolutely spoiled. This spacious bar has it all – mouth-watering cakes, brioches and lunch food made on the premises, artisan gelato in many different flavours and the most scrumptious menu of coffee-based drinks several of which are served topped with lashings of whipped cream. Add to this the huge outside terrace lined up by green trees and shrubs which affords the most amazing view of Vicenza. It is a really lovely relaxing place. The bar is right opposite the Sanctuary of Monte Berico and right at the end of the big Palladian arcade leading up to it. When the church bells ring, you can see them dance in the bell tower straight from the terrace. Just a couple of days ago I had the best cafe crema there, which was basically like a coffee-based slush puppy. It was very tasty and refreshing in the hot afternoon. In the bar they also sell Dolce di Monte – a traditional for the Monte Berico area cake, which would make a great present. If you are with a buggy, there are some steps leading to the front door of the bar, so just walk a couple of metres down from it to the other entrance. The bar is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and it doesn’t close for riposo the rest of the time.
Address: Viale X Giugno 14, Vicenza
Tel: 0444 321444
A great cafe just next door to the splendid Teatro Olimpico. In fact one of its entrances is right between two statues in the garden leading up to Palladio’s masterpiece. If you visit with a baby or a toddler in a buggy, opt for the other entrance on Via Leva degli Angeli, as there are no steps there. Caffe Olimpico has a great selection of cakes, sweets and brioches, plus a a fab fancy coffee menu in addition to its regular menu with other drinks and bites to eat. It has a lovely lunch list and a wellness bar with smoothies and freshly squeezed juices, too. It has two main spacious rooms with some great Palladio-inspired prints on the walls. The atmosphere is light and friendly. Doesn’t close for riposo.
Address: Via Leva degli Angeli 5, Vicenza
Tel: 0444 546267
This bar-cum-patisserie has a great central location in the heart of Vicenza, a stylish interior and a yummy selection of sweets, brioches, cookies, American-style pancakes and light savoury bites. Add to this a great list of coffee- and tea-based drinks and a whole fruit bar, where they can whisk you a nice smoothie or a freshly-squeezed juice from seasonal fruits. Plus they make cioccomenta – my favourite mint-flavoured hot chocolate drink to which I dedicated a whole blog post here. La Triestina can get really busy with people crowding the bar area. If you don’t fancy having your coffee and brioche the Italian way, i.e. standing up, there is an outside and an inside seating areas where it is usually very easy to find a comfortable spot. Access with buggies is smooth, too. If you need a little pick-me-up you can get some quality chocolates sold by the weight. They also sell luxury boxes of chocolates and – around Christmas – boxes of sugared chestnuts, in case you need to buy a quick gift. A great place for people-watching, La Triestina is visited by a never-ending stream of stylishly dressed Italian ladies with their perfectly coiffed hairs, strings of pearls around the neck and a hand clutching a Prada bag. The cafe is not pretentious at all though, so even I and my trusty jeans feel absolutely at ease in it. Hence I pop in as often as I can. Doesn’t close for riposo.
Address: Corso Palladio 116, Vicenza
Tel: 0444 321196
Pan Ti Voglio
Here you have the perfect combination of a bakery, patisserie and something called ‘stuzzicheria‘ in Italian which I can roughly translate as an ‘appetiser bar’. Honestly, I thought I was in heaven the first time that I visited this lovely place in Vicenza. It is very well appointed with a modern-meets-rustic feel to it. They have it all: scrumptious mini cakes and macarons, mouth-watering slices of pizza and an unbelievable selection of pastries and danishes. Come on, they even have a ‘Brioche of the Month’ which for May happens to be ‘Strawberries and Crema Cotta’. The cafe is a little bit away from the centre of town. You can walk it there from Corso Fogazzaro in about 15 minutes or take bus number 9 which stops right in front of it. There are also several parking places right by the front window. It is very busy with people constantly popping in to buy large plateaus of pizza slices and brioches. Yet, sitting on one of the small wooden tables feels very relaxed and people take their time to read their newspapers and savour their coffees. At the sweets counter they even offer free samples (which is quite unusual in this part of Italy). There are vegan choices, energy seed bars, gluten-free bread, cookies in nice cellophane bags, all the modern stuff plus free wi-fi. It is very easy to go in with a buggy, although the seating area is rather narrow and long with small tables quite close to one another, so you may need to move a chair or two to accommodate the buggy. It is open Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm. On Sunday it opens at 8 am and shuts at 1 pm. Doesn’t close for riposo.
Address: Strada S. Antonino 12, Vicenza
Tel: 0444 024122
I first told you about this lovely little patisserie last year in my blog post ‘Ten Things You’ll Love in Vicenza (My Insider Tips)‘ and it keeps being a firm favourite of mine. The sweets and cakes there are outstanding and I am really partial to their hot chocolate which is traditionally served unsweetened and it gives you a fabulous oomph. The seating area is outside underneath a historical arcade which is nice and breezy when the sun is out glaring in full force. On colder days blankets are provided so that you can cover yourself whilst you sip your drink. Or you can have a quick coffee standing up at the bar inside just like the Italians. You can easily wheel your buggy inside to place your order and then sit outside and wait to be served. All sweets and chocolates are made on the premises by the family running the patisserie. They also make jams and cakes of traditional and innovative flavours. Their seasonal offerings for Christmas and Easter are absolutely lip-smacking, too The patisserie closes on Mondays and for riposo the rest of the week.
Address: Corso Antonio Fogazzaro 163, Vicenza
Tel: 0444 545447
This is a lovely local patisserie off the central part of Vicenza. It has a great selection of handmade chocolates in addition to a fabulous line of cakes, sweets and light savoury bites to eat. The best bit is that the sweet pastries and little cakes come in two sizes – mini and normal, so that if you want to reign your sugar consumption a bit, you can get just a bite-sized treat. It is all made on the premises. The interior is nice and modern and they provide newspapers and magazines in Italian for you to leaf through as you sip your coffee. Access with a buggy is very easy and there is enough space inside to place the buggy by your table. This is the patisserie I got my husband’s birthday cake from and it was truly delicious. They also sell a nice line of small gifts, so that if you are looking to buy something quickly for an acquaintance’s birthday or special occasion, you can easily pick something here. Closes for riposo.
Address: Via Borgo Scroffa 73, Vicenza
Tel: 0444 514329
Have you been to any or all of the above coffee shops in Vicenza? What was your experience? Is there a really splendid coffee shop which I have missed? Please, let me know!