A wonderful institution - also known as Caffé Lamarmora - with original decorations on the façade from the 1930s, in the heart of Iglesias in south-west Sardinia. The name of the town sounds Spanish, and many of the buildings and narrow streets look Spanish, but the name is actually an adaptation of the original Latin name, Villa Ecclesiae. The older name Metalla, as it may have been known by the Romans (no one is certain, for Metalla may have been at a different location) indicated its origins as a mining centre, and its silver and lead were famous as early as Phoenician times. After a long Roman occupation, the town was ruled for many centuries by Pisa and then Aragon.
As for the name of the café (to revert to the English spelling), and of the piazza on which its stands, Alberto Ferrero La Marmora was a 19th century naturalist who wrote the most important early study of Sardinia, including its geology and mineral wealth. He was born in Turin, and like his presence, many of the advertisements bear witness to the years when Sardinia was part of the Savoyard kingdom ruled from that city.