Places To Think

coffee and a book

Italy’s first online guide for culture junkies. Places to Think ( lists cafes, tea rooms and bistros throughout Italy where calm and quiet is encouraged and culture is nourished.

In Italy it is very common to walk into a cafe and see a TV mounted on the wall with a crowd of people gathered below looking up at it like the Mignons looking at The Claw. It’s either the TG News channel spouting out the bad news of the day, a daytime talk show or the latest football round-up. It is not that uncommon to see TVs in restaurants or bistros either.

In some ways it’s charming and creates a centerpiece topic for the patrons to talk about but in other cases it can be a bother, especially when you just wanted sit down, drink a coffee and read a book, or have a nice conversation with your friends without the distractions.

Valerio Corvisieri and Francesca Silvestri have founded, an online portal listing “Places to think” – a collection of quiet cafes, bistros and tea rooms where culture is promoted.

Both founders are passionate about literature and have also had their own work published.  Silvestri is a publicist and journalist and in 2006 she founded an independent publishing house. Corvisieri is author of several hisiorical essays and articles.

It was at a  book presentation of Corvisieri’s book on the stylist Luisa Spagnoli (ali & no, 2017) when the writer nostalgically brought up the golden age of literary bars and cafes of the 50s and 60s. From that, the two of them started making moves to revive that kind of movement.

The goal of is to highlight places where culture is nourished  such as cultural events, book readings, book presentations, live music meetings and so on.

Places are selected with a unique criteria:

  1. No loud music
  2. No big screen, TV, video with constant sound diffusion, for sporting events etc.
  3. Yes to a minimal and useful space for socializing
  4. Yes to a place in harmony with the territory
  5. Yes to spaces to sit around a table or talk to each other
  6. Yes to the possibility of hosting cultural events, role-playing games and other “thinking” initiatives (optional)
  7. Offer smiles and kindness to those who enter (optional)
  8. For restaurants: yes to a short and seasonal à la carte menu (optional)
  9. For bars: yes to the possibility of table service
  10. Yes to the exhibition of books, works of art or other objects “to think”

How it works:

You can find a quiet cafe in all major cities. Listings are in all cities in Italy; Milan, Turin, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Bari and all in between.

Click the link “Locali Iscritti” and type the city you are visiting.  Or you can use the zoom feature and zoom in on the area you are looking for. The website is not available in English, but from your desktop using Chrome, you can click right and select “Translate to English”.

If you are looking for a safe-haven in Milan, here are some of the cafes, tea rooms and bistros of Places for Thinking listed in Milan:

MaMu – Magazzino Musica

Via Francesco Soave, 3, 20135 Milano MI, Italia

Bar/Cafè /Tea room, Cultural center, Book store


Via Padana Superiore, 163, 20090 Vimodrone MI, Italia


Mondadori Bookstore – Occasioni d’Inchiostro

Via Ettore Ponti, 21, 20143 Milano MI, Italia

Book store

Nuvole in Cantina

Via Canaletto, 11, 20133 Milano MI, Italia

Wine shop, Book store


Via Bernardo Davanzati, 2, 20158 Milano MI, Italia

Bar/Cafè /Tea room, Book store, Restaurant/Bistro


Celia Abernethy

Celia is the founder and managing editor at Originally from New York, she now spends her time between Milan and Lake Como sharing her discoveries and experiences living in Italy. Follow @CeliaAbernethy on Twitter