"Cova", which opened in 1817 beside the famous "La Scala" theatre, was founded by Antonio Cova, a soldier under Napoleon who had first 'campaigned' as a pastry cook in the Galleria De Cristoforis.
From the outset the establishment became an after-theatre rendezvous for actors, writers, musicians, professors and public figures. A highly select clientele indeed frequented Cova's locale: the cream of urbane, aristocratic society who enjoyed meeting to comment on operas and performances and discuss political issues over coffee and mouth-watering pastries.
A retreat for members of high-society whose elegant conversation played out to the accompaniment of wistful violins and velvety flutes, they sat around its tables savouring cocktails and debating the "making of Italy".
The shop played a leading role in the Five Days of Milan insurrection as a meeting place for patriots who would bring about the expulsion of the Austrians in March 1848.
The “Cova” and “La Scala” theatre were among the buildings damaged during the W.W.II bombings of 1943. But there was an air of regeneration and joy at the Cova, and in 1950 the celebrated Café moved to premises in via Monte Napoleone.
Now an in-vogue venue combining art, work and pleasure in a warm, suffused atmosphere, a meeting place not only for the townspeople of Milan but also for an international clientele where an espresso coffee or a tea savoured in the comfort of a neo-classical lounge became a mainstay of high-society life.
In the nineties, Cova exported its tradition abroad into new cultures as far afield as Asia.
In 1994 Cova inaugurated its first café-restaurant in Hong Kong, followed later by several "pastry boutiques" which, due to traditional pastries and impeccable hall-mark Italian service, rapidly enjoyed success in the Far East.
In one of the world's largest shopping malls, a huge complex in a modern, technological architectural style, Cova began serving its classic espresso, soon becoming an institution. Success came just as quickly for the Cova chain of restaurants offering the best in Italian cuisine served in an atmosphere reminiscent of its Milan establishment.
Cova opened three shops in Japan venturing into the millennia-old culture of the "Land of the Rising Sun": attention to detail, premium-quality products, a unique philosophy of taste and an ambience at once typically Milanese and international were key to success.
Singapore - a new though not a final frontier - where Cova chose to set up business in an up-market architecturally advanced complex and take on yet another challenge. Downtown Milan in essence, the café won customer favour through its elegance, style and dedicated service, establishing itself as a bridge between age-old tradition and future evolution.
Shanghai. China has never been closer. In the midst of a civilization dating back thousands of years, yet forward-looking and open to myriad future prospects, Cova found fertile ground for its philosophy and opened two elegant premises specifically designed to mirror its famous Milan premises: new, ambitious projects combining dedication, creativity and elegance.
In 2007/2008, Cova received two important awards from Milan City Council and Lombardy Provincial Authority that attest to its ongoing efforts and significant contribution to the city economy. These prestigious acknowledgements, the Milan City Council HISTORIC ESTABLISHMENT award and the Lombardy Provincial Authority LOCAL BUSINESS award were gained thanks to Cava’s ability "in long having established itself as a meeting point for Italian and international customers and its pursuit of excellence.