25 September 2006

Caffe' Heaven

There are 78 bars (coffee shops) here in Ascoli Piceno. In Italy bars serve primarily coffee and pastries with stand-up service and maybe a few tables if you want to relax a bit. I did a search on the Italian version of the yellow pages on-line, pagine gialle, and it brought up a list of 78 bars in the city of Ascoli Piceno. This means there is one bar for about every 800 people - that is a lot of coffee. Searching the on-line yellow pages for Albuquerque brings up a list of 31 coffee shops, but Albuquerque’s population is ten times greater than Ascoli Piceno – no wonder I felt espresso deprived in Albuquerque!

This means that if I were to go to a different bar for my morning caffé and afternoon caffé everyday, it would take me more than a month to try every bar in town. I can attest to this high concentration of bars in Ascoli as within a 10 minute walk of our apartment I have noticed at least 15 bars and I am sure there are more to be discovered.

The bars here in Ascoli are mostly the small neighborhood establishment with a short counter and barely enough room for five or six patrons at one time. On the two main piazzas there are the “fashionable” bars with waiters and table service, these are the places “to be seen”. The neighborhood one that we have chosen as our favorite for our morning caffé and pastry is Bar Guido which is also a pasticceria where they make their own pastries on the premises and always have a large selection to choose from. The two ladies who work behind the counter (who always wear matching outfits) always greet us with a smile and have already memorized our morning orders.

Needless to say this is coffee heaven!

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