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An outdoor concert at Caffè Florian

Venice's Caffè Florian is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Italy: It was founded in 1720, nearly four decades before the collapse of the Venetian Republic, and it has long been popular with well-heeled tourists who are willing to pay stratospheric prices for historic atmosphere.

Along with Caffè Quadri and Caffè Lavena, its rivals on the Piazza San Marco, Caffè Florian offers live outdoor music to its customers and passersby in decent weather. Guests at Florian's tables pay a whopping six-euro surcharge for music, but tourists who are just wandering through the square can enjoy the "Dueling Orchestras" for free.

In the video below, you'll see and hear the Caffè Florian's musicians playing on their bandstand overlooking the Piazza. (Note the middle-aged waiter on the left at the beginning of the video, who resembles the late Ed McMahon in his Johnny Carson Tonight Show days.)


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