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Italy, Rome. The Caffe Greco cafe is threatened with closure – the managers are asking for support

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The historic Caffe Greco in Rome is on the verge of closure – so its managers are asking for support to prevent eviction. This is the result of the intensification of the court dispute between tenants and the owner of the property, i.e. one of the hospitals in the Eternal City, which has been ongoing for several years. The reason for the dispute is the amount of the rent. Evictions have already been attempted several times.

On Tuesday, a press conference was held at the famous premises of the cafe’s managers, who presented her with the situation. Senator Maurizio Gasparri attended Tuesday’s meeting and announced that he would intervene in defense of the premises, inter alia, with the Italian Ministry of Culture and the prefect of Rome.

Caffe Greco in Rome – threatened with closure

– This is not an ordinary place, you can’t arrange anything else here. This place has priceless historical value. We must help – said the senator, dean of Roman parliamentarians.

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The manager of the cafe, Carlo Pellegrini, reminded that in the 1950s the cafe was protected by the Ministry of Culture, but – as he added – it is ineffective in this respect.

He stressed that “it is unthinkable to move Caffe Greco to another place”.

– Anyone can come in here and admire the works of art. For those who just want to see the works of art, we do not ask for consumption. This place has a public function. Intervention is needed in his defense,” Pellegrini said. He appealed to the mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, to take an interest in the fate of this historic establishment.

He declared his readiness to purchase the property from the hospital (Ospedale Israelitico) and admitted that the institution was not ready to sell it.

He pointed out how important the cafe is for Poles because of the numerous Polish souvenirs. He also recalled that Hans Christian Andersen lived above the cafe.

During the meeting, attended by activists of Roman associations and coffee shop supporters, it was emphasized that the Eternal City may lose its only historic cafe.

The former mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, reminded that the city center is protected by UNESCO and therefore, in his opinion, the intervention of the Italian Ministry of Culture is necessary. “We must defend the heart of Rome in every possible way,” he added.

A place close to Poles

The ambassador of the Republic of Poland came to “Caffe Greco”. Italy Anna Maria Anders, who also decided to express solidarity with the managers of the premises in their battle to preserve this place.

Ambassador Anders told PAP that she personally has a fondness for this place, because she used to come here with her parents. – There is a Polish hall here, there is a memorial in honor of General Anders – she noted.

– Nowadays, it is especially necessary to defend what is of value and importance for culture and history. Caffe Greco cannot be replaced by anything else. All the paintings and memorabilia gathered here are of great importance in this historic place, added the Polish ambassador.

Founded in 1760, the café near Plaza de Espana has over 300 works of art, making it the world’s largest private art gallery open to the public. There are many Polish souvenirs in it and that is why this place is often visited by tourists from Poland.

Caffè GrecoShutterstock

The tenants stressed that the cafe was in danger of closing, despite the protection provided by the Ministry of Culture in 1953.

In their view, this time around, closure seems truly inevitable unless, they argue, there is a mobilization of intelligence, institutions and politics and commitment to prevent it. They noted that this would damage the image of Italy and Rome, where the historic café occupies an important place on the tourist map.

Already in 2019, the Polish embassy in Italy expressed concern about the possible closure of “Caffe Greco”. This place was visited by Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Henryk Sienkiewicz, and the brothers Aleksander and Maksymilian Gierymski. In 2006, thanks to the efforts of Polish diplomacy, a photo of Czesław Miłosz, a memento of the presence of General Władysław Anders, the commander of the 2nd Polish Corps, was added a year ago.

Main photo source: Pen_85 / Shutterstock.com

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