98. I Am on The Train, I Am Going To Milan…

Caffe Giacosa98. I Am on The Train, I Am Going To Milan…

I’m pretty relaxed so I will tell you the story of the Café Giacosa

Caffè GiacosaAbout ten years ago, a real estate agent asks me if I am interested in having a shop in Florence, my hometown! The shop is the legendary Café Giacosa, a magical corner of Via de’ Tornabuoni and Via Della Spada. Caffè Giacosa is one of the early coffee houses dating back to the early twentieth century. Old dark walnut furniture, an interior that exudes the true flavor of the old Florence! The excellent pastry is produced in their own patisserie situated on the first floor.

I’m really surprised that this historic establishment is closing down its activities. I speak with the owner to find out the real reason why he is closing and he tells me that the owner of the shop in the prestigious building Viviani della Robbia, an old person from Prato without scruple and with no interest in what this tradition means to Florence, has only one goal – to get more money from the rental of the premises! At the expiration of the lease he is tripling the rent. This is bringing it to a figure untenable for a Coffee house!

I am very indecisive. As a good Florentine I am excited at the prospect of securing that corner but something puts the brakes on my decision. After few days I get another phone call from the estate agent who solicits my decision since Giorgio Armani is also interested in that space. I have one day to decide!

Only a fashion house can support a rent so high! OK I’LL TAKE IT! I never expect such a strong reaction from my fellow Florentines… It is not the first time that such a thing has happened… other famous coffee houses have closed, leaving room for other activities! The Bottegone of Piazza Duomo, the Gambrinus, the Bruzzichelli. The charm of the coffee houses that were part of the history of Florence can now only be admired in the old yellowing photos of the Alinari photographic archives!

I find the Florentines and the local newspapers against me, accusing me of not loving my Florence! Had Giorgio Armani, who is not from Florence, taken this corner all this talk would not have happened. The Florentines are by nature xenophiles, with different standards for people from elsewhere! It is so bad that I even begin to fear for my children going to school.

I am in New York and my assistant calls me to tell me that the Mayor of Florence is anxious to talk to me. I am sure of the subject. I can imagine why the mayor wants to talk to me! I anticipate him. Here is a crisis with an opportunity. I call my manager and ask him to inquire if the small shop adjacent to the one I have taken for the boutique is for sale. I want to buy it at any price. I want to keep alive the historic “Caffe Giacosa”. I do not want to lay off the 14 people employed in the patisserie and I want to walk tall in my city!
Caffè GiacosaI pay too much for the small shop on Via Della Spada but I am able to join the two places together. I decorate the new Caffe Giacosa with old wood and a bit of Cavalli fashion… CAFFE GIACOSA by Roberto Cavalli achieves new heights!

Roberto Cavalli

13 replies
  1. Maria Grazia
    Maria Grazia says:

    In Treno!!! …. incredibbile da credere 😀
    questa storia mi ha fatto emozionare…
    Sign. Roberto lei ha un Cuore Grande.
    …e bellissime Foto!!
    con Affetto

  2. nadia tesser
    nadia tesser says:

    ho letto le dolcissime parole del suo blog caro dolce e gentile Sig. Roberto e mi sono commossa ,Lei è una grande e bellissima persona, lasciamo la sua parte artistica che tutto il mondo ci ammira e di cui ne vado fiera … ma conoscere le meraviglie che lei ha dentro il suo cuore che nessuno conosce è ancora più emozionante …grazie per la sua sensibilità e per tutto l’amore che sà trasmettere e dare !!!

  3. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    Thank you dear Roberto for this story about Café Giacosa!!! It is very interesting to read how did you create this institution. It is my dream (which I hope to come true) to sit in Café Giacosa and maybe meet you there :))))

  4. Maria Grazia
    Maria Grazia says:

    La sto seguendo anche su TWITTER!!!!
    Oggi vedo in lei un vero guarriero…
    se é veramente pronto a voler cambiare questo Sistema italiano….
    gl ‘italiani ne sarebbero riconoscente.
    Sarei la prima a volersi arruolare dalla sua parte…per il momento ci diamo una mano qui in Svizzera
    per non essere indifferenti alle indignazioni e la vergogna che sta distruggendo questo Grande Paese,la mia madre Patria!!! con lettere al ministero italiano,con manifestazzioni,grazie anche al movimento di Beppe Grillo….
    Ci stiamo lavorando!!!!
    Con lei sarebbe un PIACERE!!!!
    se mi vorrebbe contattare: maria.chilelli@gmx.ch

  5. Cavallino
    Cavallino says:

    Si Roberto.. devo ammettere che sei stato proprio onesto e di cuore. In più avere il bar della boutique è un prestigio che non tutti gli stilisti hanno…, quindi hai preso due piccioni con una fava. . ! 😉
    Lo trovo fantastico. Solo una curiosità…da dove deriva il nome “Giacosa”? E’ un cognome fiorentino o vuol dire qualcos’altro? XOXO

  6. Francesco
    Francesco says:

    Grande Roberto!!!
    Senti che storia….mica la sapevo tutta!
    Mi ricordo che lessi sui giornali qualcosa, e sinceramente non capivo bene cosa fosse successo al “mio” caffègiacosa (15 anni fà spesso lavoravo in centro e andavo a fare colazione al caffè giacosa), poi ho letto che Cavalli aveva preso Giacosa e lo avrebbe riaperto…spettacolo!!
    Ed è vero….purtroppo noi Fiorentini (non tutti ma diversi) siamo parecchio “buboni”, ci si lamenta di tutto e tutti, specialmente dei “nostri” (che siano compaesani, giocatori, sindaci ecc. ecc.) a volte a ragione, a volte (come nel tuo caso) a grosso torto!!
    Comunque sono stato spesso a mangiare al giacosa, l’ultima volta poche settimanre fà…..è sempre buono uguale (a me mi sembra un pò più buono…e poi le paste…mmhhh…..un mi ci fà pensare!!! ehehe) ma con un sorriso in più…. 🙂
    Ti saluto a presto!
    Un Abbraccione!
    PS: Ma il famoso cockatil Negroni è nato al caffègiacosa agli inizi del 900 giusto?

  7. Ziad
    Ziad says:

    Very interesting post indeed, fashion and tradition both blending in perfectly, it suits you Mr. Roberto owning this nice place. By the way, very stylish photos of you in that black suit with the scarf you posted on Twitter, flawless elegance, this is how men should dress, sfortunamente, not many have achieved the true sense of fashion and style @ the same time. It’s hard for a designer to dress both men and women with the same degree of excellence but you pull it off. It’s only the Italians who get it, indeed the best in la moda e le macchine veloce. I strictly dress Italian, no French, English, or American. Main best 3 houses in Italia in my opinion would be Cavalli, then Dolce and finally Gucci.

    In bucca all’luppo,

    Cari saluti da Dubai!


  8. susana
    susana says:

    Cuantas cosa lindas para leer,las emociones propias de una persona integra,perdon es lo que emite en sus expresiones.Dicen que el Ser cuando tiene el Poder de expresar,crear y mostrar,es el alma que manifiesta sus estados.Ud.es un elegido,sus dotes de creador exquisito mustran que un ITALIANO AUTENTICO

  9. Natalia Schaupp
    Natalia Schaupp says:

    Hi Roberto,
    it´s very interesting to read your blog (who would have thought that I read a blog!!) and especially the story about the coffee shop. It´s a pity that real estate agencies and owners only think of raising the rent. It´s the same EVERYWHERE. We encountered the problem in Vienna (where lots of the nice small cafés close) and it´s the same here in Ireland. We are trying to open a restaurant introducing Austrian cuisine and the charme of Viennese culture to Irish (coffee, pastry …) to Irish but it´s not easy … especially because we definitely don´t want to live forever in this country but as we can´t find a decent house in Vienna it seems as if we´ll have to stay another year here … or just try another country .. we haven´t decided yet.
    I hope you are fine. I am sure you are enjoying your little baby-granddaughter!!!! I am looking forward to reading more about your efforts to keep alive real Florentine culture.

  10. AnnaSofi
    AnnaSofi says:

    Mr. Cavalli the photos of your Caffe Giacosa are wonderful! It was not an easy decision for you to make but I’m convienced you have made the right one! I’m so proud of you that you saved the legendary caffe and made it a truly historical event for your city. The interior of Giacosa Caffe is awesome. I am absolutely in love with those cups decorated with zebra prints, it’s very Cavalli!
    Cannot wait for your next post!


    I ♥ U


  11. Mirko
    Mirko says:

    ogni qual volta passo da quelle parti non può mancare un attimo di relax al caffè Giacosa dopo lo shopping nella sua boutique!!!
    è un posto eccezionale che unisce la storia di firenze con la tua arte!
    straordinariamente unico!

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