Venice is expensive, but sometimes it’s just nice to indulge in your surroundings. The perfect place for such extravagance is Caffe Florian, Italy’s oldest cafe, having opened in La Serenissima in 1720. Located right on Piazza San Marco, the location couldn’t be more central to the typical tourist circuit in Venice, which means it’s easy to get to, but the grandness of the surroundings keep it from feeling too super touristy, which I like. Granted, the prices aren’t exactly budget friendly, but sit back and indulge in a coffee or hot chocolate and don’t worry about it. You only live once, right?

Caffe Florian has attracted a variety of artists and glitterati throughout its day, including playwright Carlo Goldoni and lothario Casanova, as well as Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens. The interior features gilding and extensive paintings featuring a variety of themes, from portraits of notable Venetians like Titian and Marco Polo, to exotic depictions of the Far East.

I love coming here during Carnevale, when the weather isn’t that great and everyone is inside wearing their over the top costumes — the whole place turns into quite the otherworldly experience experience.

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