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A tribute celebrating the history of Caffè Florian

 

To celebrate the rich and esteemed history of one of Venice’s iconic venues, we turned to comic storytelling for the next Florian Edition.

Celebrating Caffè Florian provides a unique opportunity to narrate Italy’s history in an original and creative manner.

 

The historic Caffè Florian, which opened its doors on December 29, 1720, beneath the Procuratie Nuove, would have celebrated its third century in the challenging year of 2020.

To celebrate its splendour, we had to wait, like everyone else, for better times.

After a long procrastination, this work has eventually been edited: a memorable 304 years birthday!

 

Floriano Francesconi, our protagonist and storyteller, guides us through this captivating narrative.

Our compass is none other than the founder himself, whose name graces the arches of the Procuratie Nuove arcades.

Floriàn, as they say in Venetian dialect.

He was among the enterprising young men who established a coffee shop in the 18th century.

Enthralled by the aroma of precious beans, arriving in Venice from the East, he championed the new trend that introduced Byzantine customs.

His Caffè became an exemplar of democratized encounters among enlightened minds in a space accessible to the public.

The exchange of ideas, culture, and knowledge transcended the confines of noble Venetian drawing rooms.

 

The Caffè, as a hub for social interaction, heralded a genuine social revolution—a crucible for monumental shifts in society!

acquerelloBN_1859

“To the kind patrons who honor the centuries-old Florian” – Greeting card from 1859

Undoubtedly, Florian possessed a distinctive human quality that distinguished him from his competitors. Remarkably, even three centuries later, we continue to invoke his name when referring to the coffee house in St. Mark’s Square.

His innate talent, deeply embedded in the fabric of Caffè Florian, has ensured that he endures in the hearts of patrons across every era.

“‘Andemo da Florian!’” has been the refrain of Venetians since 1720!

fumetto 300-pag. 1_ITA pag. 7

I was aware that I had created something unique: a man takes leave of this world more peacefully if he is aware that he is leaving a good memory of himself.

Screenshot 2023-12-18 171503

Valerio Held “Caffè Florian, Floriano Francesconi sitting in Sala Orientale”

The Art of Storytelling by cartoonist Valerio Held

 

Valerio Held, a cartoonist with Venetian DNA, is the author of the strips of Mickey Mouse, the mythical Mickey Mouse created by Walt Disney.

In his drawnings we find the tradition and the future. He represents the Venetian school that for more than sixty years has narrated the adventures of Mickey Mouse and his great family with his drawings. He has always imparted a Venetian soul to his characters, so it is easy to imagine with what enthusiasm he took on the story of the Venetian Café, one of the oldest in the world, and how much empathy there was with the character Floriano.

Floriano’s presence has always lingered within the Caffè; one can feel his legacy and fame.

And eventually, we catch a glimpse of Florian’s smile.

The story proceeds with a real script developed in cartoon panels. The dialogues are entrusted to screenwriter Giorgio Figus and guide the reader through the salient events of the Florian’s story.

The decision to use a comic strip extends beyond the historical narrative: it aims to forge a profound emotional bond with the reader.

Beyond the story, the reasons for comics

 

The uniqueness of this art form lies in the harmonious interplay between images and words, resulting in an engaging and delightful reading experience.

In our endeavor to share the captivating tale of Caffè Florian, no more effective communication method could be found to reach both the young and the old.

 

We like to imagine that it will be read together by grandparents and grandchildren, by parents and children.

 

Three hundred years later, its magic still endures: Caffè Florian possesses the power to create occasions for connection.

The expressions of Florianoand his heirs, Valentino and Antonio, convey their passions, challenges, and joys that have infused Caffè Florian throughout the centuries.

Miraculously, we feel as though we can touch them.

Magically, we breathe the same air they do within the comic frame

The Café of Great Events and Renowned Personalities

 

Illustrious visitors of the Caffè inhabit the comic exactly as they did in real life.

 

The playwright Carlo Goldoni observed human interactions for inspiration in the renewal of the Commedia dell’Arte. He studied Floriano for his propensity for empathy and proposed him as a human model to be emulated in a decadent Venetian society at the sunset of the 18th century.

 

The man of letters and seducer Giacomo Casanova, in the company of women who could not resist his charms, secretly carried out espionage activities for the Council of Ten, the security ministry of the Venetian Republic.

 

Count Gasparo Gozzi wanders the halls of the Florian in search of information and gossip to edit the new issue of the Gazzetta Veneta, a newspaper that he merges and edits in the Sala delle Stagioni.

 

The journalist and man of letters Niccolò Tommaseo, known for his speech on freedom of expression and his role as a fighter in the revolution for Italian unification, met in the Sala del Senato with Daniele Manin to organise the revolution. He was freed on 17 March 1848 with Daniele Manin from the Piombi, following a popular uprising, and began the adventure of the Republic of San Marco, which managed to maintain its autonomy from the Austro-Hungarian Empire for seventeen months.

 

The mayor Riccardo Selvatico, together with his coterie of artist friends, had the idea of creating an art exhibition that was spread across various locations in the city.

They were comfortably seated in the Senate Hall and gave life to the Venice Biennale.

 

All these characters come to life in the comic strip and you seem to meet their gaze and feel their breath.

Renaissance frescoed ceiling of the Sala delle Donne, known today as the Senate Hall LRIMG_6804

At Caffè Florian, wishes come to life.

 

Immerse yourself in 304 years of history, where every cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea narrates tales of passion, sorrows, triumphs, and dreams realized within these very walls.

 

As a true incubator of ideas, this historic Caffè in Venice weaves its story into the fabric of History and everyday life in Venice.

1848 Florian

The Florian was a point of reference for patriots during the uprisings of 1848

A journey through history in a comic book

 

Comics, as a medium, blend narrative and artistic techniques, seamlessly merging textual and visual elements. This fusion allows for concise communication of information while simultaneously evoking emotional responses.

This narrative approach serves as a potent tool in education and outreach. Its immediacy engages readers, inviting them to mentally inhabit the characters’ world—imagining themselves seated at the table, woven into the fabric of the story.

Reading “Florian 300 – The Caffè Florian in Venice” offers an engaging and stimulating experience, where the weight of historical events harmonizes with the lightness of the narrative method.

From the fall of the Republic to the libertine spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, from Napoleonic disillusionment to Austrian occupation, the Risorgimento, the Unification of Italy, and the birth of the Biennale d’Arte, this comic strip affectionately portrays the city institution beloved by people worldwide.

A whirlwind of time, spanning science, literature, revolutions, gossip, and politics, unfolds—an art of living the polis unique to a city that once asserted itself as the Serenissima, a small yet powerful island with a resolute sense of identity.

Caffè Florian stands as a legacy for all who feel connected to the world surrounding this historic Caffè.

Floriano, Valentino, Antonio, and their successive heirs safeguard not only a legendary professional heritage but also a rich cultural legacy.

 

The comic is available for purchase on the official website in the Edizioni Florian section.

Florian 300 - retro copertina

The history of the Caffè Florian in a comic strip for everyone, children and grown ups

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fumetto 300-pag. 1_ITA
Florian 300 - retro copertina
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  • anniversario 300 anni
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