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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Cafes in Lecce, Italy

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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I'm going to tell you a story about an illicit and dangerous activity.

One that most of you reading this probably partake in without a second thought.

What in the world am I speaking about?

Consuming coffee.

History shows that people have been arguing about this drink for over 500 years.

In fact, there were times when coffee was illegal and one could be killed or jailed for sipping this beverage in public.

Today in Lecce, Italy, cafes are everywhere!

Outdoor cafe in Lecce, Italy

A beautiful gardened cafe in Lecce

Indoor/outdoor restaurants and cafes are traditional in Europe, and Italy is no different.

In days gone by, these cafes tended to be places where the upper classes, artists, and intellectuals congregated. It was where one got "the talk of the town."

Conversations focused on economic life exchange or political topics and this became central to the European way of life.

Outdoor cafe in Lecce, Italy

Cafe and restaurant





Captains of ships frequented this "transatlantic network of coffee houses" where they could read newspapers and discuss current events with merchants and businessmen.

Men from the artisanal classes would also join in and these cafes served as "penny universities" allowing people to share ideas, philosophies, open their perspectives and enrich their mental knowledge.

Naturally, the religiously and politically powerful found the drink - and the coffee houses that served it - to be threatening.

Can't have ideas floating around freely, you know.

That's a very dangerous practice and can only lead to trouble.

In Chapala, Mexico where we live, we would call these exchanges the "taco telegraph."

Want to find out what is going on in town?

Go to a cafe or open bar.

Outdoor cafe in Lecce, Italy

Cafes and restaurants line the streets

At one point in history, the drinking of coffee was outlawed as it was perceived to stir up trouble in the masses. Probably because drinking coffee with its energizing caffeine got people to thinking of their economic situations and to look for solutions to their problems.

You might have heard that the French Revolution was planned in coffee houses, where members of the so-called "intelligentsia," the class of political thinkers and polemics, gathered to plot their rebellions.

But the coffee houses' potential to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information scared leaders long before the French Revolution.

In 1511, Khair Beg, a young governor of Mecca, called for the closure of all coffee houses, fearing they'd be centers of secular uprising. Anyone caught drinking or selling coffee at that time was beaten.


Caffee Paisiello

As with anything the government or religious institutions want to prohibit, certain doctors are promoted to put out information supporting the ban.

Today, we would call that disinformation.

In 1611, two Persian doctors claimed the beverage enabled violent thoughts and vile characteristics and should be outlawed.

In Europe, coffee critics likened the drink to wine and attempted to outlaw it on this basis many times. Some claimed coffee caused impotence.

The Wine and Beer industries felt attacked by the rise in popularity of drinking coffee, and religious leaders asked the Pope to bar coffee as a satanic novelty.

Outdoor cafe in Lecce, Italy

Men enjoying each other's company

The discussion of news, politics and criticizing the government freely and without fear was common.

Coffee houses became go-to places for conversation, socializing, and disagreeing.

They were a new social space that encouraged class mixing and energetic conversation about cities and governments.

Business was conducted and mail was dropped off and picked up.

The houses became so popular for gathering that they started competing with taverns, and detractors came out of the woodwork.

Outdoor seating in cafe Boccon Divino in Lecce, Italy

One lovely cafe after another

 In the Grand Café in Oxford, England 17th-century luminaries gathered to discuss a whole range of ideas based on reason—what we now refer to as the Enlightenment.

It was in coffee houses that our modern ideas of liberty, progress, tolerance, and fraternity were born.

Paris is a cradle of life, and there is a whole "barista culture" that thrives there today.





In the US, coffee houses also became popular meeting places for the politically charged, the same way they did in Europe. Coffee houses were being built before the American Revolutionary war, but unlike the ones in Europe, they were primarily for men.

Even though those in power often considered closing any and all coffee houses, coffee was just too popular and profitable.

Coffee had made its way around the known world, and by the end of the 16th century, the Ottoman court had an official coffee maker, hundreds of coffeehouses dotted Istanbul, and the government officially declared coffee and coffeehouses completely legal.

Hey, thanks Guys!

menu sandwhich board at outdoor cafe in Lecce, Italy

Menu sandwich board

So the bans stopped—although rulers still posted spies in coffee houses to monitor anti-regime chatter, a practice some autocrats maintain to this day.

Some people, no matter what station they hold in life, are afraid of innovation.

Coffee was something new and the houses that served it opened up new spaces for engagement and thought. Something so simple as this can seem to wash away old attitudes and etiquettes.

Such modernization and critical thinking can challenge the norm and be considered provocative.

Outdoor cafe in Lecce, Italy

Cafes are part of the neighborhood

In America in the late 1980s, the computer and telecommunications revolution exploded. A hybrid between the café and the emerging Internet developed in Silicon Valley called the cyber café.

These shops, wired by both caffeine and electronics, proliferated around the world.

Coffeehouses became an integral part of liberal-middle and upper-middle-class culture, sometimes called "Bobo," for bourgeois-bohemian.

These cafes in Lecce show you how common the custom is today of drinking coffee and sharing opinions. For now, there is no more beheading or being sent to prison.

Just a delicious cup of Joe and an amazing pastry!

For more stories, photos and videos of Italy, click here

For more on Retirement Topics, click here and here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on


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