The Café Tomaselli is situated in the heart of Salzburg's Old Town on the Alter Markt and has been run for over 150 years by the Tomaselli family. Its vibrant sense of living history, unique location and tempting array of sweet dishes and exquisite coffee specialities make up the charm of this establishment.
Café Tomaselli History
Many stories are associated with the Café Tomaselli. For example the story of Hermann Bahr, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Max Reinhardt, who are said to have come up with the idea for the Salzburg Festival seated at one of the coffee tables at the Café Tomaselli.
The Tomaselli is the oldest coffee house in Austria. According to research on Tomaselli’s history, conducted by the Salzburg historian and university professor DDr. Gerhard Ammerer, the origins of the coffee house can be traced back to 1700. As Ammerer explains in his book “The Tomaselli and Salzburg’s coffee house tradition since 1700”, published by the Christian Brandstätter Verlag in 2006, Salzburg's first café was founded on the Goldgasse in this year. The French-born Johann Fontaine obtained trade law approval to sell chocolate, tea and coffee on the 31st of march in 1700. After Fontaine's death, the café with the vaulted ceiling changed hands several times. In 1753, Anton Staiger took over the establishment. After eleven years, in 1764, he succeeded in purchasing the prestigious building on today's Alter Markt, which Carl Tomaselli later bought in 1852.
The confectioner Carl Tomaselli bought what was then the Café Staiger in the centre of Salzburg in 1852, thus commencing the long coffee house tradition of the Tomaselli. As a young tenor, Carl’s father Giuseppe Tomaselli moved from Milan to Salzburg in 1781, whereupon he obtained the position of court tenor. The singer enjoyed a close relationship with the family of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, playing music with Mozart’s father Leopold and Mozart’s sister Nannerl, attending theatre performances with them, and also acting with them alongside other mutual friends. From the earliest days of the Tomaselli era, the Café was an important social and private meeting point for Salzburg's middle classes.
Otto Tomaselli died in 1925 at the age of 44. His wife Olga continued to manage the establishment alone until it was expropriated by American occupying forces in 1945. The Americans had commandeered the Café and converted it to the "Forty Second Street Cafe". A Red Cross station was also housed in one section of the ground floor. After intensive efforts by Olga Tomaselli, the Café was eventually returned to her in 1950, upon which she passed it over to her children Dipl.-Kfm. Karl Tomaselli and Elisabeth Tomaselli (married name Aigner). It has since remained under the ownership of two families in the Tomaselli dynasty.