Friday, June 10, 2016

Caffè Meletti: An Art Nouveau Gem in Ascoli Piceno





Set within an elegant neoclassical arcade on the Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno, Caffè Meletti is one of the most famous and beautiful historic cafés in Italy. Founded in 1904, it quickly became an institution and haunt for celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Sartre, and became the set for films such as 'Les Dauphins' by Citto Maselli in 1960, and 'Alfredo, Alfredo' with Dustin Hoffman in 1974. Named after owner Silvio Meletti, who developed a process that combined the slow evaporation of alcohol and the highest quality local aniseeds from Ascoli Piceno to create a liqueur with a delicate flavour: Anisetta Meletti. Not only did Anisetta become well known for its unique flavour, but also for the series of posters and printed ads created by several great artists, which later became works of art in their own right. The famous nineteenth-century art nouveau interior designed by Enrico Cesari, was recently restored in 2010, returning the café to its former glory after years of closure, protecting the delicate ceiling frescoes by Ascoli Pio Nardini, the original brass and frosted glass lighting, the soft green velvet banquettes and round tables finished with white Carrara marble to the beautifully carved wooden bar with Murano glass chandeliers, and now looks exactly as it did at the opening 103 years ago. In 1981 Caffè Meletti was declared by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Environment "of local historical and artistic interest," thus protecting it for years to come — Saluti!




Set within an elegant neoclassical arcade on the Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno, Caffè Meletti is one of the most famous and beautiful historic cafés in Italy

Italian Art Nouveau entrance to Café Meletti

Restored in 2010 to its former splendour with the ceiling frescoes, painted by Ascoli Pio Nardini,
  wood work, staircase and other details looking exactly as they did 103 years ago



Cioccolato Calda all'anisetta Meletti - Hot Chocolate with Meletti Anise

Selection of lovely Biscotti

Bottles of Meletti Anisetta for sale in the café, one of which we brought home 

Not only was Anisetta well known for its flavour, but also the series of posters and printed ads created by several great artists, later featured as works of art in their own right

An earlier sepia tone poster

One of the more humorous style of posters

Dustin Hoffman in Ascoli for the filming of Alfredo Alfredo — after tasting the anisette 
he said to the bartender, "Ernesto, another Aniset!"