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Gran Caffè Margherita

Gran Caffè Margherita is one of the symbols of Viareggio and represents an important piece of the town’s history. It is located on Viale Regina Margherita, the famous Passeggiata (Promenade) that runs alongside the sea and the bathing establishments, next to restaurants, pizzerias, stores and high-fashion boutiques.



ADDRESS: Viale Regina Margherita, Viareggio (LU)

The building houses a restaurant, a coffee bar and a bookshop

The original 1902 building was made of wood, as were all the other waterfront buildings. In 1917 a dramatic fire destroyed them completely in a matter of hours, devastating what was the soul of the city. In 1928 the Café was rebuilt in masonry, and two of the greatest exponents of the Italian Art Nouveau style worked on the ambitious project: the engineer-architect Alfredo Belluomini and the painter-decorator Galileo Chini, who enriched and decorated the exterior structure with his precious ceramics.

 The entrance façade has an arabesque style, with two symmetrical turrets that characterize its silhouette, crowned by onion domes embellished with yellow and green ceramics; between the two towers, on the top floor, there is a large panoramic terrace, with green ceramic balustrade columns.

One of the café's most frequent visitors was Giacomo Puccini, who in 1921 had moved to Viareggio to a villa near the west pine forest. After the days spent working on the drafting of his last unfinished masterpiece, Turandot, he loved to come here to meet friends or simply to rest: "And dear friends of the Maestro, both Italian and foreigners "- we read in a memorial plaque affixed in 1949 -"convened at this table chosen by Giacomo Puccini as a meeting place to have fun in the simplicity of cultured conversations after the diurnal toil around his immortal art."

The Café over the years has been a lively meeting place for men of culture, intellectuals, artists, aristocrats and protagonists of society news: the most elegant and sought-after salon in Viareggio.

Today the historic establishment houses a restaurant, a café and a bookshop. Here gourmets come to spend pleasant evenings over fresh fish dishes or for an aperitif among friends. Passionate readers can, on the other hand, "get lost" in the large bookstore in search of their favorite book and start reading it while sitting at the bar tables sipping a fruit cocktail.