Gogol wrote most of his Dead Souls at a table in Caffè Greco. Schopenhauer was also a regular visitor to the café always accompanied by his white poodle called Atman (the world’s soul).
He risked being attacked in the café by a group of painters known as the Nazarenes for insulting Germany: he believed it was the most stupid nation on the planet, and the only superiority he recognised was being able to do without religion.
Liszt was also one of Antico Caffè Greco’s many famous customers as he came to Italy every year and frequented the finest establishments.
According to one anecdote a princess invited Liszt to lunch and asked him to play something.
The composer must have felt this was a crass request as having sat down and played a few chords he stood up and said, “Madame, le diner est payè,” then marched out of the room and the building without a second glance.