Coffee became widespread in Europe only starting from the 17th century, thanks to Venetian merchants who traveled the naval routes connecting the East with Venice and Naples.
The spread of coffee caused religious problems: it was considered by religious figures as the “devil’s drink” due to its energizing and stimulating effects. Therefore, ecclesiastical condemnation was proposed, exerting pressure for Pope Clement VIII to ban its consumption.
Before prohibiting its use, the Pope decided to taste it himself and was positively impressed. He then decided not to ban its use, but even to define espresso as a “Christian beverage“.
Once its economic potential was discovered, the first coffee shops emerged. Espresso, in addition to being appreciated for its healing properties, also became a valued social beverage.