Every day in Rome we would frequent a cafe with a garden patio. Their coffee was alright, but we were mostly interested in their wifi. It is pretty rare to find a cafe with wifi in Europe, but still the sights and sounds are quaint. In the morning, the ladies chat over a cappuccino at the bar. The businessmen rush around them to get a pack of cigarettes before they hop on the metro. In the afternoon, a few old men hang around reading their newspaper. It isn't until the late hours that the teenagers stop by to have a place to sit and socialize with friends. Like in France, it is during these later hours that the cafe turns into a well-frequented bar.
The coffee was decent, certainly better and cheaper than anything I can find at the typical cafe in France. A cappuccino costs 1 euro at the bar and 2 for table service. It isn't overly bitter, although the milk hasn't quite become sweet yet, and there is often more foam than I prefer. This standard is pretty consistent no matter whether you stop by a touristy spot near the fontana de trevi or a more out of the way place like Casina.
With the reputation that Italy has, I am having a hard time saying I dislike their coffee. Particularly because I did not have a guide, nor is Rome necessarily a representative sample. Italy is the birthplace for the methods of making coffee. The Arabs were the first to build coffeehouses, the French were the first to grow it in their colonies, but the Italians perfected the art of making coffee. To this day, many baristas only trust Italian hand built machines like La Marzocco. While each cappuccino I ordered was not amazingly unique, it was amazingly consistent, and that is something that many countries, cannot say it has mastered.