In the introduction of his novel “The Charterhouse of Parma” Stendhal wrote “C’est à Padoue que j’ai commencé à voir la vie à la vénitienne, les femmes dans les cafés. L’excellent restaurateur Pedrocchi, le meilleur d’Italie.” These words were used to describe one of the most important vernacular architecture in Padua: the Pedrocchi Café.
The Pedrocchi Café is a café that opens its doors in 1831 for the first time. It is described as a very eclectic building not only because of its decorations, but also because of its plan, which reminds of a harpsichord.
The architect who created it was Giuseppe Jappelli. He was able to integrate different existing buildings and facades into a unique structure. The peculiarity of the Café Pedrocchi is its architecture: it blends the neoclassical style in the Venetian Gothic, with references exotic Egyptian in order to reproduce the romantic atmosphere of the epoque.
The Pedrocchi Café can be divided into two different sections: the ground floor and the noble floor (they are linked together by a staircase). For what concerned the ground floor, it is characterized by two arcades with Doric columns and by the presence of four lions carved by the sculptor Giuseppe Petrelli. Moreover, in the ground floor, it is possible to find a very particular succession of rooms: the White Room, the Red Room, the Yellow Room, the Green Room. The Green Room and Yellow Room owe their name to the fact that inside of them the price of certain goods were fixed. Red Room, instead, is the core of the Pedrocchi Café, in which the original counter is located. Close to the counter there are the bas-reliefs and the clock, which have a very important symbolic function: they remember visitors the Pedrocchi Café is a “Café without doors”, it never closes. Last but not least the White Room, which faces the Bo, one of the most ancient university in Europe. This room has a very strong relationship not only with Italian history but also with literature: looking carefully at the wall, it is possible to find a hole made by a bullet fired in 1848 by Austro-Hungarian soldiers against students during a revolt against Habsburg dominion. Moreover, this room is the setting chosen by Stendhal for his novel “The Charterhouse of Parma“.
The second section, the noble floor, is the upper floor, in which there are the so called Sala Etruscan, the Greek Hall and the Saletta, the Renaissance Hall, and the Hall Ercolana or Pompeian, followed by the Egyptian Hall and, at the end, the Hall Napoleon, dedicated to Gioacchino Rossini, an Italian composer.
The Pedrocchi Café is not only a very beautiful café in the core of Padua, but it is firmly linked to the history of the city. This detail makes the Pedrocchi Café very important to people who live in Padua.
In 1800 Padua was controlled by Austria. During the Italian Risorgimento, the revolutionary ideas related to independence that were born here, led to an attack by Austrian troops on the café in 1848 to break the revolt and resistance. The Pedrocchi Café also host a very interesting museum (Museo del Risorgimento e dell’Età Contemporanea – it is located in the noble floor) which displays the history of Padua from the beginning of the Risorgimento to the Second World War.
Not only a magnificent vernacular architecture but also a lovely place to drink something special
The Pedrocchi Café is a unique building, in which it is possible to sit and drink something very special and eat some very delicious cakes. The speciality of the Café is the coffee enriched with mint flavoured cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder (the recipe is a secret). Another speciality you cannot miss out is the Stendhal zabaglione, which was very appreciated by the French author.
So let’s have a coffee at the Pedrocchi Café!
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Cignitti, A. (2013). Storia del Caffé Pedrocchi di Padova. [online] Rocaille – A Blog about Decadence, Kitsch and Godliness. Available at: http://www.rocaille.it/padova-belle-epoque-caffe-pedrocchi/
It.wikipedia.org. (2016). Caffè Pedrocchi. [online] Available at: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caff%C3%A8_Pedrocchi
Turismopadova.it. (2016). Caffè Pedrocchi | Turismo Provincia di Padova. [online] Available at: http://www.turismopadova.it/it/pointofinterest/caff%C3%A8-pedrocchi
Venice, Padua, Veneto & Italy: food, lifestyle, language & more. (2016). Let’s have a coffee at the Caffé Pedrocchi. [online] Available at: http://mycornerofitaly.com/caffe-pedrocchi/