In collaboration with:

By Cinzia Dugo

Dear Moon...

Take a warm and humid summer evening, a longing to go out and admire the view of the lights of the city that, every evening, seem to be trying to compete with the celestial vault for a record in night time splendour, further intensified by the reflection of your image in the calm waters of the Arno. Choose whatever form of transport you prefer to make your way to the Florentine acropolis, dominated by Michelangelo's hero forcedly surrounded by the prying eyes of thousands of tourists; the route takes you along a silent tree-lined boulevard whose fascination is as great as its utter lack of night-life. Having got this far you suddenly realise that there is nowhere, in this direction at least, where you can stop and quench your thirst or placate your hunger or even a bar table where you can just sit down, until you reach the square. However an ancient light has recently returned to illuminate this stretch of the road that has been left in deserted obscurity for so long. The recent re-opening of a well-loved historic bar, the Caffè Fontana, once so popular with famous artists and writers like Rosai, Sciascia, Prezzolini, Pratolini and many other protagonists of the 20th century cultural palimpsest, makes it possible to come back and dream, remember and relive the past. After years of oblivion and bureaucratic adversities, the doors of this beautifully restructured coffee bar are once more open to the public which, whether simply nostalgic or desirous of experiencing deep feelings, can enjoy the same atmosphere that made it so famous at the time of the Belle Epoque when it was a refined meeting place for Florentine society.

Chalet Fontana in 1896

In those days, although the chalet was just a small hut, built in 1896 by Tullio Fontana, who worked as a night watchman but had a passion for cycling, its regular clients included many famous personalities as well as members of the local aristocracy. Like many other Florentine coffee bars of the early 20th century, it consolidated tradition with performances and important cultural and society events. The enlarged and renovated premises have now returned to their past splendour thanks to the modern and professional touch of its new managers Luciana and Gaia Montera, who create a really welcoming and hospitable atmosphere. The original bar counter, in carved wood of 1896, previously in the Caffè Gambrinus, together with the wrought iron gate of the same year, is a remnant of the chalet's former glory; the rest of the furnishings are the result of clever and refined interior design. Caffè Fontana is not only open for breakfast or cocktails, but also for lunch or dinner, and now has a pianobar with live music on the lower floor. The bar's magnificent garden is the perfect place to spend a delightful evening during the summer months.

Dear, lazy and solitary moon, this is when you can join us, lay aside that maternal look - so unsuitable for such a fascinating "voyeur" like you - relax and enjoy the wine and dancing in the pleasant company of those who have always dreamed of your presence, just like the Caffè Fontana that, after all, has known you for a long long time...

©MEGA Via Lombroso 6/5 a
50134 Firenze
fax +39 055 412931