Caffè Canova Tadolini: the astounding sculptures café in Rome


Last Updated on March 6, 2024 by Laura Teso

After writing an article about the Canova Museum, I thought of also saying a few words about Caffè Canova Tadolini in Rome. It is a surprising place created in one of sculptor Antonio Canova‘s Roman studios, inside a palace dating back to the XVII century. He left it to his favorite student, Adamo Tadolini. Hence the name. The elegant rooms of the café offer the chance to grab a drink or have a meal immersed in art: sitting among statues and plaster casts. 

Caffè Canova Tadolini in Rome: the back story

It was January 1818 when Antonio Canova, at the height of his fame, left his sculpture studio to his spiritual heir, the promising Adamo Tadolini.

The property was located in an area of artists and artisans workshops, on the corner between Via del Babuino and Via dei Greci. It was divided into two levels. The atelier was on the ground floor, while the upper floor was used as a housing for the artist.

From 1818 to 1967 the Atelier hosted 4 generations of sculptors from the Tadolini family, who handed down their art from father to son. The studio experienced a period of abandonment after the death of the last sculptor, Enrico, in 1967

Caffè Canova Tadolini
Caffè Canova Tadolini

Only at the end of the 1990s did the Benucci Antiquarian Gallery purchase all the works, which number around 500. To safeguard them and make them known they had the idea of creating a café-restaurant for art enthusiasts.

The rooms therefore preserve the memories of 2 centuries of Italian sculpture. They display plaster casts of works exhibited in the most important museums around the world. You can also admire preparatory models, marble and bronze sculptures, sketches and preparatory models, tools of the trade. After the restoration, the owners decided to maintain the peculiar chaotic atmosphere of the place unchanged. In fact tou can see different works placed next to each other, flanked by the workshop, which has remained intact.

Caffè Canova Tadolini
Caffè Canova Tadolini

I have never been to Caffé Canova Tadolini in person. But it seemed like a very particular place that might interest you. So I decided to write this short article just to let you know it exists.  

All the photos in this article are by Caffé Canova Tadolini.

Opening hours and location

Café open every day from 8 am to 12 am.

Restaurant open every day from 12 pm to 11 pm.

Via del Babuino, 150, Rome

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