Padua’s famous café is a neoclassical building designed in 1831 by Giuseppe Jappelli; measuring a total of 3,550 m2, it is the largest cafe in the world.
Certainly the most prestigious customer review it has ever received was that written by Stendhal. The French author was a regular client here, and commented: “The café run by the restaurateur Pedrocchi is the best in Italy, and almost as good as what one finds in Paris.” These words can be found engraved on a copper plaque created by the Padua-born painter and engraver Giorgio Peri, which you can see in the café’s atmospheric Sala Bianca. The author of Le Rouge et Le Noir was also a great fan of Pedrocchi’s zabaione.
And on the subject of Stendhal: it is not exact to say that he wrote La Chartreuse de Parme, because he in fact dictated it. Having locked himself away in his Parisian apartment – and told his housekeeper to tell any callers that he had gone hunting – he dictated the novel to an acquaintance. All in all, he was shut away for 52 days – on a hunting expedition that certainly brought back a magnificent prize.
Nowadays the café is also a restaurant, and has broadened the range of its speciality dishes. Fortunately, there has been a sharp decline in the superstitious belief that any student who sets foot in Caffè Pedrocchi will never manage to get a degree. The statistics on university degrees and visits to Pedrocchi have shown no such correlation…