LIFE/Taylor Allyn: Viterbo moves slowly

life coffe

Life in Viterbo moves slowly. You leisurely walk down cobblestoned streets and stop at a bar for a caffe or an aperitivo, spend a couple hours relaxing and chatting with friends in a warm atmosphere. There’s no hurry, and there’s definitely no coffee to-go.

In America, coffee is quick, flavored, and watered down. In Italy, it’s much simpler. You have espresso, with or without milk. Macchiatos, caffe lattes, and cappuccinos are popular options. As an American, the lack of to-go is refreshing. Everything is much calmer, much more relaxed. You are forced to enjoy the moment, sip your coffee, and find a moment to pause in a busy day. I think the atmosphere in Viterbo is reminiscent of its coffee: simple, relaxed, and refreshing. It’s a breath of fresh air to not be rushing everywhere, to not have to shout your order in a crowded Starbucks.

The concept of a café (or a bar, to Italians) that serves alcohol is an interesting deviation from the American norm. I haven’t been to a single café in Italy that doesn’t also offer a full range of alcohol. The reverse applies as well; every establishment is also selling coffee. Last week I even went to a Japanese restaurant that served me complimentary coffee at the end of my meal.

As an avid American coffee drinker, I have to say that I am enraptured and enamored of Italian coffee, and the rituals that accompany coffee drinking. For example, it’s uncommon to drink milk in your coffee after noon. I, however, can enjoy a cappuccino at all hours of the day. And so it’s a little odd to me, as I enjoy a cappuccino at noon or 2 o’clock, that Italian customers around me are enjoying aperitivos, and white wine.

The small-city vibe that Viterbo emanates fits in perfectly with the tranquil and relaxing atmosphere of coffee drinking. There’s a café underneath my apartment that I have been to almost every day for the past month to drink a cappuccino with my roommates. The couple that owns it remembers what I like and I only have to nod my head that yes, I am in fact ordering yet another cappuccino. The unique closeness of the city rivals nothing else. It’s small enough that I can be remembered by café owners and bartenders, and chat with the gentleman who lives on my floor over my coffee. I have only been here for a little over a month, but Viterbo already feels like home. And I know that I will dearly miss the coffee when I return to America.


Hi everyone, I am a literature student from Norfolk, Connecticut. I study Italian, history, and art history at the Università degli Studi della Tuscia. In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, and exploring the world!

Ciao tutti, sono una studentessa di letteratura di Norfolk, Connecticut. Studio Italiano, storia, e storia dell’arte all’Università degli Studi della Tuscia. Nel mio tempo libero, mi piace cucinare, leggere, e esplorare il mondo!

Anche, mi piacciono gatti J