Entrance to Starbucks in Florence, Italy. Full of people ordering and drinking coffee.
Home » Italian Culture » What Do Italians Think Of Starbucks? + All You Need To Know Before Visiting Starbucks in Italy

What Do Italians Think Of Starbucks? + All You Need To Know Before Visiting Starbucks in Italy

Last updated on February 16th, 2024

Since its first store opened close to 50 years ago in Seattle, Starbucks has opened branches across the globe. But why has it taken so long for the company to establish itself in Italy?

It’s simple: coffee is a religion in Italy and Italians would never turn their back on local coffee culture and traditions. 

Living in Italy for close to 15 years has taught me a lot of coffee in Italy and I can’t deny that I embrace the Italian way of drinking coffee 100%.

But despite the slow start, Starbucks eventually came out on top and won the battle. With now more than 30 stores in Italy, you’ll surely see its iconic window fronts and cups during your visit to major Italian cities. 

Let’s take a look at Starbucks in Italy, including some of the main differences and similarities between Italian coffee, Starbucks coffee in the US and Starbucks coffee in Italy.  

I will also provide detailed practical information on:

  • What Italians think of Starbucks in Italy
  • Starbucks locations in Italy
  • US Starbucks VS Italian Starbucks Vs Italian coffee culture
  • Cup sizes & coffee drinks
  • Food at Starbucks in Italy
  • Italian Starbucks prices
  • Merchandise at Starbucks in Italy
  • Starbucks at grocery stores in Italy

What Italians Think Of Starbucks In Italy

hand holding starbucks cup in front of Duomo in florence on a sunny day with blue skies in background.
My cappuccino that I ordered at Starbucks in Florence

As a general statement, most Italians don’t want anything to do with Starbucks, especially the older generations. 

Italians grow up with a very specific coffee culture: one rooted in a completely different feeling and experience at il bar

Although this is the case, you may find Italians at Starbucks in Italy. Why? They are interested in what the fuss is all about. Many are asking themselves, Ma il caffè sarà buono da vero? (Can the coffee actually be that good?)

Younger Italians are particularly interested in trying the world famous frappuccino while others might be interested in bringing home a Starbucks mug. 

I like to compare a Starbucks experience to a Hard Rock Cafe experience. 

Is the food really good at a Hard Rock Cafe? NO. 

Do you know what you are going to get and is it reliable? YES. 

Is it comforting for people? YES. 

Do they like to show they have been with a t-shirt or mug? YES

Starbucks is no different.

Should You Go To Starbucks In Italy?

It’s hard to say. If you know Starbucks well because you are American then no. You came all the way to Italy so drink some Italian coffee, please. 

Are you from a country that doesn’t have Starbucks or is it a special treat for you? Starbucks in Italy may be for you. 

Consider the wait as well. At some Starbucks locations in Italy the line is always long like at train stations. I really would discourage you from waiting in line for 30 minutes for a coffee beverage that you can get literally anywhere in the world. Capisce? 

History Of Starbucks In Italy

Starbucks in Italy first opened in 2018 in Milan after a long struggle to get all the permission and licenses they needed. 

Initially there was a lot of pushback from Italians, ultimately leading to several local protests in Milan. 

Fact: Percassi is the owner of the local Starbucks franchise in Italy.

In the end, the Starbucks opening in Milan has proved to be a success, outshining even their most beautiful USA storefronts. 

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Milan, as it’s called, located in Piazza Cordusio even has an affogato bar (coffee with gelato), a cocktail menu and locally made breakfast pastries.

As of the start of 2024, there are 36 Starbucks locations in all of Italy, most of which are located in Northern Italy with the exception of one outside of Naples and one in Bari.  

Italian Coffee Vs Starbucks

Coffee cup and saucer sitting on wooden counter at bar in Italy.

Italian coffee culture is much different than what I have experienced in the USA or Canada. 

Drinking coffee in Italy is generally a very quick affair, not something to linger over. For breakfast in the morning, Italians order an espresso or cappuccino with something small (usually a sweet pastry) and eat it at the bar or sit down for a short time to read the daily headlines. 

The main exception is when Italians meet for coffee on their day off or out of office hours. In this case, they might sit and chit chat with a friend but they will actually drink their coffee beverage quickly. There is next to zero coffee study/work culture. 

Italians like to separate business and pleasure. Coffee is pleasurable so they don’t work while they drink espresso. 

The other main difference in Italian coffee vs Starbucks or American coffee culture is the price and sizes. Coffee is cheap, about €1.10 per espresso or €1.30/50 for a cappuccino in Italy. 

Italian sizes are quite modest, considered small to some. An espresso is about 1 oz while a cappuccino is no more than 4 oz. 

Where To Find Starbucks In Italy

Inside the Starbucks at I Gigli mall in Florence, Italy. Shelves on right display mugs and cups for sale and on the left pastries are displayed at the counter where a worker serves a line of guests. People wait in line and sit at tables.
The Starbucks I visited at the Gigli mall in Florence

Starbucks in Italy is always investing in new infrastructure and storefronts. You may find more locations than these. 

Take a Closer Look: Read about Starbucks in Florence.

Address of Starbucks in Italy, ItalyName / Geographical ReferenceHours*
Piazza della Stazione, 41 50123 FirenzeSanta Maria Train Station Daily 7:30 am – 8:00 pm
Piazza dell’Unità Italiana, 50123 FirenzeUnderground shopping center at the Santa Maria Train StationDaily 7:30 am – 8:00 pm
Via de’ Cerretani, 48 R, 50123 FirenzeClose to Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo in the historic districtDaily 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Via San Quirico 165, Campi Bisenzio, FI 50013Giglio Shopping CenterMonday – Saturday 9:00 am – 10:00 pm Sunday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Via Giovanni Giolitti 2, Roma, RM 00185Roma Termini Train StationDaily 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Via Giovanni Giolitti 40, Roma, RM 00185Underground At Roma Termini Train StationDaily 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Via della Guglia 57 00186 Roma RM, Roma, RM 00186Starbucks Montecitorio(close to Trevi)Daily 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Via Cola di Rienzo 23 00192 Roma RM, Roma, RM 00192PratiDaily 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Via Alberto Lionello 201 Roma, RM 00139Porta di Roma (Outskirts of RomeNot available
Via del Ponte di Piscina Cupa 64 00128, Roma, RM 00128Castel Romano Outlet (outside Rome)Daily 9:30 am – 8:00 pm
Via Gaetano d’alesio 6,  Livorno, LI 57126Livorno Porta Al MareDaily 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Via della Moda, Serravalle, AL 15069Outlet Serravalle8:30 am – 9:00 pm
Via alla porta degli archi 6,  Genova, GE 16128San VincenzoMonday-Friday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Via Torino 160 10036 Settimo Torinese TO, Settimo Torinese, TO 10036Torino Outlet VillageDaily 9:30 am – 8:00 pm
Via Bruno Buozzi 5, Turin, TO 10121Close to Train Station Porta NuovaMonday-Friday 7:30 am  – 7:30 pm Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 10128, Torino, TO 101128Stazione Porta NuovaDaily 6:30 am – 8:00 pm
Aeroporto Milano Malpensa, Varese, VA 21010Malpensa Airport MilanDaily 6:30 am – 8:00 pm
Via Giuseppe Eugenio Luraghi 11 20044 Arese, TO 20044Starbucks AreseDaily 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Via Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler, 61, 20151 Milano MIMerlata BloomDaily 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Viale Milanofiori, Assago, MI 20090Milanofiori Centro Commerciale Shopping Center Daily 8:30 – 9:00 pm
Via Milano 5 20085 Locate di Triulzi MI, Milano, MI 20085Scalo Milano OutletDaily 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Piazzale Francesco Baracca, 10,  Milan, MI 20121Starbucks VercelliMonday-Friday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Piazza Cordusio 3, Milan, MI 20123Milan Roastery (first Starbucks in Italy)Daily 7:30 – 10:00 pm
Via Torino 21 20123, Milano, MI 20123Cerchia dei Navigli neighborhoodMonday-Friday 7:30 am – 8:00 pm Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Via Durini 28, Milano, MI 20121Starbucks DuriniMonday-Friday 7:30 am – 8:00 pm Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Corso Garibaldi 118, Milan, MI 20121Starbucks GaribaldiMonday-Friday 7:30 am – 8:00 pm Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Viale Francesco Restelli 5, Milano, MI 20124Milano RestelliMonday-Friday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Piazza Luigi di Savoia 1, Milan, MI 0000Starbucks Centrale Daily 6:30 am – 8:00 pm
Via Zambonate, 4, 24122 Bergamo BG, ItalyStarbucks Bergamo (not far from the train station)Monday-Saturday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm Sunday 8:00 am – 7:30 pm
Via Portico 71, Bergamo, TO 24050Bergamo OriocenterDaily 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Via Rovato, Erbusco, BS 25030Starbucks Erbusco (drive through option available)Monday-Friday 6:30 am 7:00 pm Saturday-Sunday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm
Piazza Cascina Moie 1 2 25050 Rodengo, Rodengo-Saiano, BS 25050Franciacorta Outlet VillageMonday-Friday 9:30 am – 8:00 pm Saturday-Sunday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Via Luigi Einaudi 5 25030 Roncadelle BS, Brescia, BS 25030Brescia Elnos Shopping CenterNot available
Galleria Pellicciai 2, Verona, BS 37121Galleria Pellicciai (Città Antica neighborhood)Daily 7:30 am – 8:00 pm
SP 336 Sannitica Marcianise CE 81025, Marcianise, NA 81025La Reggia Designer Outlet outside of NaplesDaily 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Via Argiro 112, Bari, BA 70121Murat neighborhood in BariDaily 7:00 am – 9:00 pm

*Subject to change

US Starbucks Vs Italian Starbucks

US StarbucksStarbucks In Italy
Visually the same as Italian StarbucksVisually the same as American Starbucks
More expensiveLess expensive but still expensive compared to Italian coffee sold at bars and cafes
Coffee for here or to go with drive thru optionsCoffee for here or to go (if you order it for here, your coffee will still be served in paper cups). Only 1 drive thru in Italy
6 cup sizes: demi, short, tall, grande, venti, trenta4 cup sizes: short, tall, grande, venti
Wider selection of domestic coffee beveragesItalian speciality drinks such as Oleato plus classic coffee beverages
Larger seasonal menu change (Holiday specials, summer teas, etc.)Small seasonal menu (Christmas drinks or more iced options in the summer)
Order, wait for drink, DIY tailor coffee as you like Order, wait for drink, MAYBE have possibility to tailor coffee as you like depending on location
Bottled beverages and prepackaged snacks for purchaseSome bottled beverages and prepackaged snacks for purchase
Pre prepared yogurts, fruit and salad options for sale Pre prepared yogurts, fruit and salad options for sale 
American breakfast combos (coffee, egg sandwich, juice at one set price)Italian breakfast combos (coffee, orange juice and Italian breakfast pastry at one set price)
Cookies, cake and desserts for saleCookies, cake and desserts for sale (some the same as USA and some different)
Hot and cold menu with sandwichesSmall menu for hot and cold sandwiches 
Merchandise for sale with specific store location itemsMerchandise for sale including location specific souvenirs (for example, Starbucks mug with the city line of Florence on it)

How To Order Coffee At Starbucks In Italy

hand holding up of coffee with Starbucks window in background.
Just as in the USA, they write your name on the cup, as they did here for me with my name Louisa (misspelled!)
  1. Stand in line and choose what food or snacks from the display case and order at the register. Some stores may have the menu posted and others will expect you to scan a QR code for their full menu including current specials.

Vorrei un cappuccino e un brioche vuote, per favore.
“I would like a cappuccino and a plain pastry, please.”

  1. Pay (either with cash or card).
  2. Wait for your name to be called and then finish your drink as you wish with sugar at the self service bar to the side. Depending on the Starbucks, you may need to ask the barista for a bit of milk in your coffee. 

Good To Know: Worried about your Italian language skills? Don’t be! Staff at Starbucks in Italy will always speak a basic level of English. 

To read about tipping and other dining charges in Italy read Tipping In Italy – When & How Much From A Local and What Is A Coperto?  All About Italy’s Cover Charge.

Cup Sizes And Coffee Drinks At Starbucks In Italy

Digital menu on wall at Starbucks in Italy.

At Starbucks in Italy you will find four cup sizes: 

  • Short (x-small)
  • Tall (small)
  • Grande (medium)
  • Venti (large)

If you are ordering an espresso drink, it will be sold as a single or double shot. 

The menu is very similar in Italy as a Starbucks in America although it has clearly been tailored to fit the local food preferences and traditions. 

Click HERE to see the current general menu for Starbucks in Italy.

Expect to find the same drinks you are used to ordering at any Starbucks on the globe such as:

  • Caffè Latte
  • American Coffee (Americano)
  • Caramel Macchiato
  • Mocha
  • Chai Tea (Latte)
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Frappuccino (various flavors)
  • Hot and Cold Tea

Travelers with Allergies: Starbucks in Italy caters to dairy-free customers. Ask for latte di soia (soy milk) or latte di avena (oat milk) instead of regular cow’s milk. 

If you are interested in trying a domestic specialty at Starbucks in Italy, consider one of the following:

  • Espresso
  • Espresso macchiato
  • Marocchino (espresso with a bit of steamed milk and chocolate)
  • Cappuccino
  • Orzo (barley coffee alternative)
  • Oleato (coffee beverages emulsified with extra virgin olive oil)

Good To Know: Many of their beverages are available both hot and cold. Look for a small snowflake and hot coffee cup symbol indicating the double possibility for hot and cold options. 

Food At Starbucks in Italy

Baked goods, water, and sandwiches on display at the Starbucks counter in Italy.
Starbucks in Florence, Italy

Food options at Starbucks in Italy are very similar to what you will find at Starbucks in the USA. Starbucks always works to tailor their menu to local food traditions and preferences so keep an eye out for Italian specialties (pizza!) as well. 

Original Starbucks food items to order:

  • Donuts
  • Muffins
  • Brownies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Banana Loaf Bread

Italian specialty items for sale at Starbucks in Italy:

  • Brioche (Italian breakfast pastry) with various fillings such as pastry cream, jam, hazelnut chocolate, pistachio. 
  • Schiacciata sandwich
  • Focaccia sandwich
  • Hot grilled sandwich (similar to an American panini)
  • Tramezzini

Starbucks Snacks To-Go: At the register, don’t miss their pre-packaged snack counter with nut packages, snack bars, small chocolates and pre-packaged cookies. 

Prices At Starbucks In Italy

Generally speaking, Italian Starbucks’ prices are slightly less expensive when compared to prices in the US.

For example, a Grande cappuccino is €3.30 (tax included) in Italy but in America, a Grande cappuccino is around $5.00 + tax. 

This is not always the case, however. The frappuccino will cost more or less the same price no matter where you are. 

Food prices at Starbucks in Italy hover around the same price point as other foreign Starbucks stores. 

Learn More: For more info about breakfast and coffee in Florence, read Best Coffee In Florence – A Florentine Local’s Guide To The Best Cafés In Florence and Italian Breakfast – A Traveler’s Guide To Breakfast In Italy.

What Else Can You Buy At Starbucks In Italy?

Starbucks merchandise lined up on wooden shelves for sale at Starbucks in Italy from side view.

Merchandise is one of the biggest points of sale for Starbucks in Italy. 

The merchandise will change depending on what city you are in and the time of year. You can always find mugs, coffee to-go mugs, shirts, ready to use Starbucks capsules and whole bean coffee for sale.

Starbucks At Grocery Stores In Italy

Hand holding refrigerated caffè latte cup in front of display at Starbucks in Italy.

Just like in the USA, Italy has started to sell pre-prepared coffee beverages and coffee capsules available for purchase at grocery stores

If you are looking for cold coffee drinks they will be located with the dairy section close to the milk or in a separate Starbucks display cold case. 

For coffee and capsules/pods for machines, check out the coffee aisle.