Since 1750, Caffé Lavena has sat at the foot of the clocktower on Piazza San Marco. And unlike its neighbors, Gran Caffé Quadri and Caffé Florian, Lavena is far more affordable (unless you sit outside on the piazza). It's one of those Venetian institutions where the coffee is delicious and the spritz is crisp and cheap. The interior architecture is the sort of garishly opulent 18th-century Venetian flourish one might expect: green marble tables, high-back velvet upholstered chairs, and Murano glass chandeliers. It's nice to sit upstairs looking down on the busy café or outside at the tables people-watching, but I prefer to stand at the bar where the service is fast and efficient.
By Rocky Casale, AFAR Local Expert
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