Fiorio first opened its doors in 1780. The population of Turin then was seventy thousand people within the city walls and eighteen thousand in the suburbs and on the countryside. There were thirty two streets, illuminated by 630 street lights, which intersected each other at right angles, resulting in 139 blocks.
In Turin of those times, Caffè Fiorio had great success and, in a short while, it earned the reputation of being a reference point in the town’s social life, which was also enhanced by the splendor that Via Po was enjoying. Its long history aside, Fiorio is one of the most important cafés in Turin, one of those which have best conserved the city’s atmosphere and traditions. Who has not come across the fact that it was at Fiorio where the city’s public opinion was being shaped during those years when Turin was actively contributing to the Unification of Italy? It was so important that the sovereigns, both Carlo Felice and Carlo Alberto, and their ministers used to ask «What is being said at Fiorio?» to tap the public opinion. Although today it no longer enjoys a privileged position in national politics, the heart of the city life still beats at its halls. Like any café with self esteem, it has its own rhythm, and hectic hours succeed hours of peace. Families which fill up the halls on a Sunday afternoon follow groups of friends who chit chat and clerks who enjoy a coffee break. Of course, there are the hours of solitary clients, who seem to agree with Hermann Kesten, «I do not notice solitude even at a deserted café. The ghosts of past clients sit at the tables, or the ghosts of the future clients.»
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