Historic Rome Cafe Frequented by Fellini, Grace Kelly, Al Pacino Saved From Closure

1:14 AM PST 03/26/2014 by Eric J. Lyman
Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection
Diane Keaton and Al Pacino

The Antico Caffe della Pace was supposed to close to make room for a five-star hotel, but a petition and wide media attention helped it escape shutdown.

ROME – The historic Roman bar that featured in To Rome With Love and Eat Pray Love, and where Diane Keaton once slapped Al Pacino so hard it left a welt, has been spared.

The Antico Caffe della Pace, operating just west of Rome's famed Piazza Navona, has attracted scores of Hollywood glitterati over the years, from Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren, and Grace Kelly to Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts, and Robert De Niro.

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During the filming of Godfather: Part III, Keaton reportedly became so angry with Pacino that she floored him with a slap to the face. But the cafe's staff helped avoid a delay in filming by rushing out a bag of ice to keep the swelling down on Pacino's face.

The German religious institute that owns the building refused to renew the cafe's lease in 2009 and it said earlier this month it would close down the Antico Caffe della Pace in order to use the bar as part of a new five-star hotel. The move sparked wide media attention, calls for politicians to intervene, and a petition to save it from closure.

Wednesday it was revealed that the efforts to save the cafe worked: The Pontifical Teutonic Institute says it is willing to recognize "the historical value of the business" and allow it to remain open. Owners say it will continue to operate without interruption.

Twitter: @EricJLyman

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