Active since 1750 under the name Regina d'Ungheria, in the late-19th century it became popular with intellectuals in the city thanks to Carlo Lavena, who took it over in 1860. Today Lavena is one of Venice's most beloved historical cafés. With a privileged view of St. Mark's Basilica, it's a pleasure to spend time sitting at the outdoor tables, but it's the interiors that make it unique. An elegant wooden counter, marble tables and a majestic Murano glass chandelier attract attention. A plaque commemorates one of its most famous regular customers, the composer Richard Wagner (a friend of Lavena's). To start the day, well-made espressos and cappuccinos are accompanied by a wide assortment of baked goods and pastries (all on display). To follow they offer a selection of savory snacks to wash down with drinks and cocktails made by professional barmen. Lavena also makes and sells its own ice cream and chocolate.