Every time I pass through Piazza San Marco for a Photo Tour with one of my customers, I always have a look inside this famous and ancient café where I often found some very interesting photographic opportunities. The inauguration of the Florian dates back to 1720, and that makes it the oldest café in Italy and, most probably, also in Europe and the whole world! So it has preserved its identity for almost 300 years now, and it is still among the most visited areas of Venice, despite the epochal changes, the economic and social upheavals of the Venetian society and depopulation. In particular I am very attached to this historic Caffé as I have the luck, the honor and burden of being the official photographer since 2007. It all started when, on May 3rd 2007, right in the rooms of the Caffé Florian, my first photo book “Venice on the edge of light” was presented to the public and to the press. A special edition of my book was dedicated to Caffé Florian.
What does it mean to be the photographer of the oldest café in the world that, moreover, is located in one of the most beautiful and famous squares in the whole world? It means that I can enter it early in the morning, when the Piazza wakes up, with the shutters still closed and without customers around these halls. It means having access to ancient silver objects, teapots, cups, cigarette lighters (once in the Café smoking was allowed). It also means having time available to notice how mirrors, cleverly arranged on the walls, send back infinite times a reflected image. As a photographer of the Caffé Florian, I have experienced from behind the scenes some of the most important events in Venetian life, and I, who have always preferred to live as a protagonist, but behind the scenes, was able portray the aspects that interest me most undisturbed.
It’s good to remember that, among other things, in the Senato Room of the Caffé Florian at the end of the 19th century, Riccardo Selvatico, intellectual and mayor of Venice had, together with his literary friends, the idea of creating the first Art Exhibition, the actual Biennale of contemporary art.
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