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Italy’s Ditta Artigianale Opens Coffee School in Former Florence Monastery

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The main bar at the Ditta Artigianale cafe and coffee school at the former Sant’Ambrogio monastery on via Carducci in central Florence. Courtesy photo by Sofie Delauw.

A municipal restoration project of a centuries-old monastery of the Sant’Ambrogio church in Florence, Italy, has resulted in a literal new school for coffee.

Florence’s Ditta Artigianale, whose quality-forward cafe on via Di Neri was the first of its kind in the historic city in 2014, has opened its third café at the Roman Catholic church complex, which is believed to have been built within the 5th or 6th centuries.

courtyard Sant'Ambrogio

Courtesy photo by Sofie Delauw.

The progressive coffee purveyor has also teamed up with popular Japanese coffee equipment brand Hario and Italian espresso machinery brand Simonelli Group to launch an on-site coffee school, the Scuola del Caffè.

The coffee complex opened earlier this month following four years of renovations to Sant’Ambrogio, funded by the city of Florence and the building’s owners. Additional partners in the coffee school project include Italian coffee company Caffè Corsini and the Florence commerce agency Confcommercio Firenze.

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The Coffee School area. Courtesy photo by Sofie Delauw.

The approximately 3,200-square-foot cafe was designed by local firm Studio Q-bic, with collaboration from landscape architect Nicolò Mori and Maura Masini, who restored an ancient well on the premises.

The coffee school, which occupies the former Sant’Ambrogio monastery refectory space that overlooks the main cafe, is scheduled to begin classes in September. The school, which is pursuing Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) certification as an education facility, is being directed by Ditta Artigianale’s Simone Amenini with education also coming from Italian Barista Champion Francesco Masciullo.

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“I believe that this is a new page for the history of coffee in Italy,” Francesco Sanapo, the three-time Italian barista champion who co-owns Ditta Artigianale along with Patrick Hoffer, said in an announcement of the opening. “Here at Ditta, we believe it’s fundamental to create a new and more professional background for those who stand behind the counter and that it is necessary to move beyond the figure of the barista who works with no real technical knowledge of the product in favor of a new role model, capable of guiding the customer into a gustative experience and who is not limited simply to preparing a fast-consumed espresso.”

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Courtesy photo by Sofie Delauw.

The cafe itself operates daily until midnight, with a broad range of single-origin coffee offerings through various espresso, pourover and other filter coffee applications, plus a full cocktail bar and freshly prepared pastries, breakfast and lunch items.

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Courtesy photo by Sofie Delauw.

Ditta Artigianale Carducci and the Scuola del Caffè are now open at 2-4 via Carducci on the eastern edge of central Florence. Tell us about your new coffee shop or roastery here.