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Interview with Angelo

Interview with Angelo from MyFace

Angelo, a sales executive born in 1972, creator and founder of the Myface brand and Father and partner of Elisabetta. Ever since he was a boy, Angelo has cultivated a passion for objects and manufacturing. Passionate about mechanics, he stands out for his practical and artistic skills. After his studies he collaborated with the most important discos and entertainment venues in the North East, developing communication and interpersonal relationship qualities: fundamental for his career. His entry into the world of work allowed him to develop skills in sales techniques, becoming a reference point for many companies in the furniture field. An encounter with the world of wood aroused in him an unexpected curiosity. He worked alongside the best master craftsmen during their creations, learning their secrets and skills. Today, more than twenty years later, he is struck by an almost transcendental enlightenment, which took place at home, and launches his vision of Mayface on the market. A unique project of its kind that has no equal in the world. Angelo, with the unconditional and professional support of Elisabetta – an established interior designer – and driven by a decisive, extroverted and fearless character, loves to accept every challenge that life holds in store for him and proudly presents his original, handcrafted idea aimed at lovers of uniqueness and personalisation.

Who is Angelo?

I am a forty-nine year old man, adoptive father of a splendid twelve year old boy of Ethiopian origin and partner of Elisabetta, mother of two wonderful children. I consider myself an expansive and outgoing person. Fortunately I can boast many important and long-standing friendships, with whom I maintain constant, true and sincere relations. This knowledge has been cultivated during my long collaboration with the most important discos in the north-east and beyond. Thirty years of experience have given me many emotions, memories and unforgettable encounters. I like dealing with people, talking to them and always being available. A characteristic of my character that has always accompanied me on my personal and professional journey. I’ve worked in jobs based on direct contact with the customer: starting in clubs, moving on to the supermarket – as a manager – up to my current job as a Sales Executive. I am a creative and dynamic person, I like challenges and I am always looking for new ones. I don’t like to spend my days on the couch and I always try to engage my body and mind. I base my life on the principles of physical and mental activity, which is the real engine of our existence.

When and how did your passion for the art of woodworking begin?

I have always cultivated a passion for everything that is built by hand. Spanners, nails, hammers and screwdrivers have always been my companions in games, inventions and creations since I was a little boy. In our little group of friends in the neighbourhood, I played the role of everyone’s ‘mechanic’. Bicycles and mopeds had no secrets for me and my garage, to the annoyance of my parents, became a real workshop. As time went by, I approached the world of wood, working in close contact with master carpenters. I was fascinated by the potential of this wonderful natural material. Witnessing its transformation, its processing and seeing the creation of objects from its composition captured my imagination and my desire to try my hand at this age-old art. I love its scent and the sensations it conveys: emotions that speak of the environment, of nature, of life. Every part of the wood tells a story through its essences: colour and grain. We can understand its age, type and origin. Listening to its silent voice that tells us about the forest, the earth, the fruits and all that world that only years of life can enclose. Today I am finally transforming this ten-year passion into a concrete project in which I firmly believe and in which I intend to pour my energy and creativity.

How is this artistic professionalism achieved?

Wood is a material that you learn to work; by working it! Unlike iron and glass, it is a warm and lively material, its ductility allowing for softer and more heterogeneous handling. Easily correctable errors are allowed, thanks to these very characteristics. In order to reach a decent level of professionalism, one cannot avoid a long and arduous learning curve. Spending time with craftsmen and masters in the sector is essential for anyone wishing to take up this profession. Secrets, advice and skills can only be passed on by skilful hands, rough mumbling and years of hard work. Obviously, a deep love for wood and an unconditional passion for what we do cannot be missing. When a work takes shape, whatever its nature, the emotion is unparalleled. Imagining, creating, shaping, moulding, giving life to something different from what it was, are unparalleled sensations that fill me with satisfaction, pride and joy.

How did the idea of giving a face to your works come about?

The idea was born right here: in this dining room where we are recording our conversation. It was a normal day like any other and I was having lunch with my partner Elisabetta. It was a beautiful, sunny day, a light breeze filtering through the half-open doors to our garden. The warmth of the sun warmed us gently, and we were intent on our usual chats. I don’t remember for what strange reason, but suddenly, as I moved my gaze towards the sofa, I noticed that the shadow of my profile was cast on a small cushion leaning against the back of the furniture. It was as if it was photographed and imprinted on the cushion itself: I still have the photo that bears witness to that moment. A ray of sunlight, like a long shining arm and an invisible hand, drew what was to become an artistic and original project: unique in the world. Seeing that image was like receiving an illumination, an instinctive and immediate thought: I knew what I was going to create; I knew how I was going to do it; and I imagined every work already done and completed. I turned to Elisabetta and asked her to imagine our two profiles imprinted together and what she thought of the idea of “sculpting” and modelling people’s profiles in wood, creating objects of common use, but personalised through the uniqueness of the “imprint” of their faces. My partner, an interior designer by profession, and certainly persuaded by my enthusiasm, immediately accepted the challenge I was proposing to her: supporting me right from the start and contributing with her usual energy to the implementation of our ‘vision’. We got to work immediately and after the necessary research – which confirmed the uniqueness of the project on a global level – we registered the Myface trademark with the annexed production of complements and objects taken from the person’s profile. This is how the idea and the Brand Myface and the website were born.

What does Myface achieve?

We make handcrafted products out of wood and, in the near future, other natural materials. At the moment we are creating objects that include clocks, profiles without clocks that make up the family group, bottle holders and recently also wall mirrors. Everything is always taken from the personal profile of the client, who sends his photo to our website from which we obtain the distinctive facial features while maintaining the uniqueness of the product.

What do you feel when you make your art and the profile of your client takes shape?

Pure emotion!!! From the moment I receive the customer’s image to the final delivery, it is a succession of emotions and sensations. Everything starts with a simple square wooden panel. The study of the profile received, the vision of the project, the carving and its realisation are part of a process that involves me completely. During the processing of the wood, my journey begins through scents and smells that take me to the woods and nature.  The essences of oak, larch, walnut and many others envelop the studio, transporting me through paths and forests. Sometimes I personally deliver the finished work into the hands of the client. The joy of seeing the amazement of the client who recognises himself in the object is unparalleled. The thought of having been able to create a unique and unrepeatable singularity and the knowledge that it will accompany my client for the rest of his life, fills my heart with pride and satisfaction.

What are the main difficulties in launching a new proposal like yours on the market?

Certainly reaching people and arousing their interest is the hardest and most difficult part of launching a new product. I come from the ‘old’ school of sales reps where the importance of human contact and on-site promotion was the essence of the sale itself. I still prefer this aspect of marketing over other interactions. I always carry a sample of my work with me so that I can show it, if necessary, to anyone who finds it interesting. In my profession, I am often in direct contact with potential buyers and I make sure they are always present. I remember with irony and amusement when I passed by a possible client 20 times to acquire him for the simple purpose of selling about 20 cents worth of material. I succeeded, perhaps due to the customer’s exhaustion. Today, ten years later, this company has become one of my best business partners. However, one cannot exclude the modern techniques of digital communication and dissemination that make it possible to reach otherwise unreachable distances. Many of our works are ordered on our website and then shipped to their destination.

How do you overcome the most difficult moments?

Love what you do, believe in your possibilities and follow your convictions. I believe that the secret to overcoming the difficulties of an increasingly complex market lies within us, in the way we position ourselves and in our entrepreneurial instincts. I am a person who constantly looks to the future and does not like to stop at the first obstacle. Every wall I have come up against in my personal and professional life I have managed to climb, stopping only when I felt I had arrived. Of course, there are situations that are beyond our capabilities: we have to be able to recognise them and, if the case calls for it, abandon them and create new ones.

Why choose to own your own handicrafts?

Without a shadow of a doubt because of its uniqueness and customisation. At this moment there are no other similar realities in the world that use the same creation technique as ours. Owning a Myface artefact means bringing a unique and unrepeatable detail of ourselves into your home. Each of our works represents the client himself, his singularity and what differentiates him from other people. We have studied a series of objects that also allow a “domestic” use and internal design of the creations. I think that craftsmanship combined with the value of Made in Italy and Made in Veneto can contribute to the spread of our Myface brand.

Observing your works, one notices that they remain completely natural without any complementary accessories. Why this choice?

Our choice was a conscious and deliberate one. I believe that Myface can be differentiated from other competitors precisely because of the unique way in which it is made and the style we have chosen. The profile is a distinctive feature of ourselves, our facial fingerprint. Each work has its own precise, unique and unrepeatable identity. We receive many requests to make profiles of famous and well-known people, but we do not accept them, because we do not want to fall into the circle of pure economic and mass commerce. Our watches do not have numerical indications. However, we want to give a sense, even a practical and useful one, to the works, but not just a domestic purpose. Myface objects tell a story, a particular moment in our lives. It tells about ourselves, our loved ones and photographs moments and feelings. We do not use colours or coverings that can hide the essences of the wood, its characteristics, its scents and the tactile sensations it transmits. We are concentrating our energies on studying and designing creations for the whole family for purely aesthetic use without any secondary purpose that can replace the more classic paintings, decorating our spaces and making them unique and personal.

How do you choose the materials for your works?

Let’s say that the decision-making process is always evolving and is also based on the customer’s requirements. Initially, the choices made are the result of careful research and study of materials already used in this field. I went to different places, including commercial ones, to understand the correct use and the most common types of wood suitable for my purpose. Today I use essences of Oak, Canaletto Walnut, Larch and others, which fully satisfy me. We are thinking of expanding our proposal by using other materials, always of natural origin. Elisabetta plays a very important and essential role in this process. Her professionalism as an interior designer guides our choices by indicating the type of wood, the shade and the right combination.

Italian and Venetian craftsmanship fascinates and is appreciated all over the world. In just a few weeks of activity, you have already received expressions of interest and orders at an international level. Where do the most interesting ones come from?

Undoubtedly, Made in Italy – in our case Made in Veneto – is one of the most well-known, sought-after and appreciated brands in the world. At the moment we are receiving more expressions of interest from abroad than at home. This is certainly due to the fact that abroad our craftsmanship is particularly sought after, while perhaps a little taken for granted in our country. We sent to Canada, where the presence of our compatriots and Canadian citizens of Italian origin is particularly large. Many people with distant relatives and Italian blood press to receive a piece of Italy and our manufacturing. We sell in Germany, France and even a little in Eastern Europe at the moment in Bulgaria. Interested people upload their profile picture to our website, the picture is processed and then, once the work is finished, the item is sent to the requested destination.

Husband, Father, Sales Executive and now his own entrepreneur. How do you manage to combine family and professional commitments? And how important is the support of the family?

I have a job that often takes me away from home and takes up a large part of my day. Elisabetta is also very busy with her job and what little free time we have left is dedicated to our children’s lives, their space and activities. Our life is, let’s say, normal: hectic, busy and happy. We built the Myface project completely by ourselves: starting with the presentation website and ending with the complete works. I remember the sleepless nights spent with Elisabetta sitting at the table trying to build our image. Intense moments, endless discussions, fierce confrontations, heated arguments. Ours is a dualism that completes us, unites us and allows us to grow in spirit and mind. Elisabeth is more harmonious, more sensitive, more concentrated on colours, combinations, and the most aesthetic part of our project. I was wrapped up in my purely commercial and practical thoughts. I could not have built Myface on my own, and I owe every member of my family gratitude and thanks for the help I have received, the patience I have endured, and for being the essence of my life.

Plans for the future?

We want to focus our energies on the growth of Myface, not only on the commercial and economic side, but above all on the personality and uniqueness of the brand. We will push to make our work known and spread by becoming a recognised brand and style. We are evaluating some proposals for collaboration with important local businesses. Our journey has only just begun, but we are confident and driven by optimism and rosy expectations.

What advice can you give to young people who want to take on a challenge like the one you have undertaken?

Difficulties are necessary for personal and professional growth. In order to keep our minds alive and active, we need daily challenges that put us to the test and give us excitement and self-esteem when we overcome them. To our young people I say: accept them!!! Do not retreat in the face of the obstacles that life inevitably throws your way. Face them believing in yourself and in the people close to you. Follow your dreams, follow your passion and heart, love what you do and your road to success will surely be downhill.

Interview and writing by Abiti Luciano; Graphics Layout Matteo Durante

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Myface is a young company born in 2021 from the passion and creative spirit that has always distinguished the character of its founder Angelo. Inspired – by what we can define as a true enlightenment – Angelo creates unique works of art using wood as a raw material: a carefully selected material that he knows deeply and that accompanies him throughout his professional and personal life. Myface is aimed at art lovers, at all those who want to personalise everyday objects and utensils such as clocks, mirrors, bottle holders and many others, designed and created by Angelo’s creativity. Each work is made from the customer’s profile, giving uniqueness and personality to the work itself. An ambitious, unique and artistic project. A clear example of how passion, experience and imagination can come together, realise a dream and give life to a young and daring entrepreneurial activity; daughter of old arts now almost forgotten: where hand, sweat and ingenuity shape originality and wonder. Today Myface launches its proposal on the regional, national and international market. A unique project, never before realised, which once again finds its cradle in the Veneto, the birthplace of great enterprises and successes. The future looks bright for the company, which is already looking forward to new partnerships and increasingly sophisticated offers to its customers.

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Interview with Marco Zanatta

Interview with Marco Zanatta of Zanatta Caffè

Zanatta Marco, owner of the Caffetteria Centrale in Silea and founder of the Zanatta Caffè brand and the Zanatta SWEET & SAVOURY brand. Marco was born in Treviso in 1970 – the fruit of the love between Daddy Plinio and Mummy Lidia. Marco’s family was a normal one: his mother a housewife and his father a worker. After finishing primary school, Plinio decided that Marco, like his sister Antonella, should be given the opportunity to attend a private secondary school and enrolled him in the Pio X Institute in Treviso. The impact with the new reality shocks Marco, who, however, shows good learning skills and a good relationship with his teachers. However, something troubled him. He feels that he does not belong to a particularly select environment – such as that which such a prestigious institute has in store for him – and he misses his friends from the neighbourhood. This hidden unease that Marco feels does not escape Mama Lidia and Papa Plinio. Suddenly and unexpectedly, one morning Marco gets into the car with his mother to go to school, but the road is not the same and neither is the building where Lidia stops the car. Marco returns to the school benches of his town and finds his childhood friends. A turning point that will mark his personal and professional life forever. Among his schoolmates Marco met a beautiful young girl called Manuela: the woman who would become his wife twelve years later. In 1984, listening to the advice of his professors, Marco, although oriented towards artistic studies, chose to undertake a professional path and enrolled in the Hotelier Institute Giuseppe Maffioli in Conegliano, following courses in the cooking sector. In 1989 Marco graduated as a cook and was ready to enter the world of work, having already signed a seasonal contract for a restaurant in the tourist town of Jesolo. Unfortunately, fate dealt him and his family a terrible blow with the premature loss of his father Plinio. Marco decided to stay by his mother’s side and look for a more territorial job.

The loss upsets Marco but generates an unexpected reaction in him and the awareness that the future rests on his shoulders. The most important call of his life suddenly arrives. Manuela, the girl he had met when he was very young and with whom Marco had established a more than friendly relationship, contacted him to offer him a job as a counterman at the famous and elegant restaurant “Ai Soffioni” under the Loggia in Piazza dei Signori in Treviso. Marco accepted and the meeting with the managers at the time proved decisive for Zanatta’s professional future. In 1995, on 27 May, Marco and Manuela crowned their dream of love and got married. It was a love story that had begun twelve years earlier, during their school days, and which found its fulfilment in the happiness of both. In January 1997, Marco and Manuela received a very interesting offer: to take over the management of the Caffetteria Centrale in Silea. The café was owned by Renzo Taffarello, and had been run by several different managers without ever really taking off. The young couple accepted the challenge and opened their new business on 8th March 1997. The first few years were not easy, but Marco and Manuela, with the help of their family, managed to emerge and break through to the hearts of the Silesi. In 2001 Marco, with foresight, bought the building that houses the Cafeteria. The work continued with almost unexpected success and Marco increased his staff with new recruits. Soon the Caffetteria Centrale became a point of reference for the whole town. In 2013, the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis began to make itself felt, even in their own sector. But Marco’s character, confidence and positivity, which have always distinguished him, pushed him towards a further challenge. Against all odds, Marco decided to broaden his offer and the range of possible customers. He therefore transforms his Personal Branding, centred only on his personal figure, into a broader entrepreneurial Brand. In 2013 he founded the Zanatta Caffè brand, personally studying and selecting the origin and blending of the raw materials. He relies on a historical collaborator: the Galliano Caffè roasting company in Quinto di Treviso. The launch on the market proved positive and Marco’s courage was soon rewarded. In 2018, Marco associated the Zanatta SWEET & SAVOURY brand with the Zanatta Caffè brand. Another intelligent intuition which completes the company’s offer by uniting two complementary worlds: coffee and biscuits. In 2018 Marco was contacted by Alessandro Angelon, Managing Director of an important company producing and supplying croassanteria products, to talk about his professional experience. Marco accepts and presents to a selection of students from Italian hotel institutes his Master’s course entitled: From Dream to Business Reality. A parenthesis that brings him closer to the world of young people and gives Marco the opportunity to pass on his story, experience and professionalism to aspiring business managers. In 2019 Marco, who is very active in the social and public sector, founded together with other traders and professionals in the area, the association A.I.C.A.SA. APS (Associazione Imprenditori Commercianti Artigiani Silea – Association of Silea traders and entrepreneurs), taking the reins as President. The association deals with the territorial, commercial and economic promotion of the activities present in the Municipality of Silea, through aggregative, cultural and communicative initiatives. In 2021 the A.I.C.A.SA association, ASCOM and the Silea Town Council concentrated their forces and set up Silea Terra d’Acqua: a public-private association, entrusting the presidency to Marco Zanatta. This marked the start of a project in favour of the commercial community, which reached its zenith when it was granted DUC status, allowing its members to identify Silea as an Urban Trade District. Marco’s commitment to social issues also manifests itself through support for local associations such as: ADELANTE, which assists children with Down’s syndrome, and others, providing concrete support to families. He also allocates part of the company’s turnover to support various local sports projects. Today, twenty-five years after the start of his adventure, Marco Zanatta continues his work in the cafeteria and manages the company administration with the same passion as on the first day of opening, alternating his presence in the cafeteria with his countless public and private commitments. The company now has twelve employees, more than twenty product references, several points of sale and a constantly growing turnover.

Who is Marco Zanatta?

I am a fifty-one year old man married to Manuela for twenty-six years, after a ten-year engagement. Our life together started when we were teenagers and still gives me the same emotions and feelings that have intertwined our lives. I was born from the union of Mum Lidia and Dad Plinio, two extraordinary parents who I will never cease to thank for what they were able to pass on to me: principles that I have never stopped following throughout my life. I have a sister Antonella, two wonderful nieces and nephews and two lovely great nieces and nephews. I consider myself a quiet person who bases her existence on fundamental values such as: humility, respect for others and altruism. If I can, I try to help those who are less fortunate than me or who have not had the same opportunities in their professional and private lives. I feel that I am a particularly lucky person, who has been able to take life’s teachings and treasure them. “Don’t be afraid to be brave” are the words that have accompanied me, and will continue to accompany me, throughout my journey. A thought that I try to convey to the many people I meet in my private and public life.

What was the study path taken by young Marco Zanatta?

After primary school I had the good fortune, thanks to the encouragement of my parents, to get to know two different secondary schools that shaped my character and in some way conditioned my future choices. I began by attending a well-known public school in Treviso: the Pio X Institute. Dad had a simple and dignified job, but he wanted the best for us children. He decided to give me the chance to attend one of the best institutes in the province. My results and my relationship with the teachers were very satisfactory, but I felt that I did not belong to that particularly select world. My mother’s intuition and my father’s love made it possible for me to go back to Marco Polo Middle School in Silea, together with my old friends. I would have liked to dedicate the next few years of school to studying art. But I followed my teachers’ advice and chose a vocational school. I therefore opted for the Giuseppe Maffioli Hotel Institute in Castelfranco, following the training course to become a cook. During this period, in addition to cooking, I also developed a strong interest in the Sala-Bar sector, which aroused an unexpected fascination in me. In addition, by combining teaching and apprenticeship, I was able to gain awareness and be ready to enter the world of work. After three years of study and a diploma as a cook, I wanted to continue for the next two years to complete my training. Unfortunately, in June 1989, we suffered the premature loss of my father. I was eighteen years old and my mother was left alone to take care of her family. I decided to finish my studies and look for a job to provide concrete support to the family. My father’s death was a tragic and difficult moment. But it made me grow in character and as a man. I found within myself the awareness and courage that Father had passed on to me throughout my life. Through his examples, his looks and his silences, he was able to transmit more than a thousand words. I like to think that this strength, which grew inside me and which I still keep in my spirit, was nothing more than Dad’s last gift to me.

Do you remember your first steps into the world of work?

After the loss of Dad in 1989 I had found a job as a seasonal cook in the tourist town of Jesolo. Everything was ready for my departure, when I met Manuela during a walk in the centre of Treviso. At that time Manuela and I had agreed on a break in our relationship. However, our affection remained unchanged. Manuela was worried that I would have to leave my mother alone and told me that the bar where she worked was looking for a barman to join its staff. I immediately accepted, happy that I would be able to stay with my mother. I was hired after an interview with Mr. Motirosso Renato, who, together with Ms. Lorena, owns the bar “Ai Soffioni” in Piazza dei Signori in the centre of Treviso. An elegant and refined café with a particularly select clientele. Initially, my inexperience, my young age and the historical nature of the place caused me some difficulty. But thanks to Mr Montirosso’s great professionalism and his teachings, I managed to overcome the most critical and difficult moments. I will always thank Renato for having been my mentor and for having believed in my abilities right from the start. A few months later I was entrusted with tasks of responsibility, which I would never have thought could be delegated to such a young and inexperienced boy. Our working relationship lasted nine years, during which I had the opportunity to learn and grow both professionally and personally.

When did your passion for coffee begin?

Let’s just say that I have two great passions in my heart. One matured at a young age and the other grew up in the work environment. The first one I am referring to is certainly cooking. I have always had a particular interest in artistic works and all expressions of art. I consider cooking to be a wonderful path of transformation and creation. Imagine a simple food that magically becomes a work of art and is presented as such. I have always been fascinated by the imagination and creativity that every great chef, or small cook, manages to convey when presenting their dishes. A canvas of colours and sensations that only passion, dedication and study can paint. The second, of course, has become coffee: my reason for living. This passion developed during my work experience at the “Ai Soffioni” coffee shop. I realised that the preparation and service of a good coffee was not limited to the simple use of a machine. Behind every cup there is a story and a fascinating preparation worthy of being told to the customer. The origin of the single bean (important for deducing quality and taste); the composition of the blend (whether single origin or made up of several selections); roasting and cooling times; grinding (coarse or fine), weight (important for an adequate dose of product); maintenance and cleaning of the machine (essential for an excellent final result) and the art of preparing a coffee that only the skill, experience and hand of the Barista can guarantee. All this fascination grew inside me and made me more and more curious, to the point of pushing me to undertake various training courses and increase my knowledge of this ancient and fascinating drink.

When do you decide it is time to take a risk?

I would not speak of risk, but rather of courage. The word and feeling that has always accompanied me through life’s challenges. I had been working with Manuela at the “Ai Soffioni” café for nine years and we had been married for two. One day I received an unexpected visit from a dear friend, Riccardo Schiavinato. Riccardo suggested that I consider taking over the management of the Caffetteria Centrale in Silea, owned by Mr Renzo Taffarello. The café had changed hands a few times over the years but had never managed to take off satisfactorily. We were known to the owner, our customers at the Soffioni, who was pushing hard for us to come in and take over the café. After discussions with Manuela, we decided to accept this challenge and hand in hand create our future. The separation from Mr Montirosso and the “Soffioni” was very difficult. But Renato never failed to support us, especially in the first months of opening.

Do you remember your fears?

Yes, of course. When you go through significant changes and decide to embark on an entrepreneurial path such as ours, there are of course concerns. I don’t like to talk about fears, because I am convinced that fear does not help us face the challenges that life holds in store for us. I prefer to talk about courage: the courage not to be afraid. The greatest anxiety was not being accepted by the Silesi. We had come from an experience in a club in the centre of Treviso and we had learned a rigorous working method based on a particularly elegant and refined style. We were worried about intimidating new customers. Our anxieties proved to be well-founded during the first few years of business. However, as time went by, things improved and our new travelling companions began to appreciate us for who we were and what we could offer – with or without a tie.

How do you overcome fears?

In order to overcome any fear, it must be transformed into an opportunity for growth and, if necessary, change. In our case, we made a very precise choice. We put ourselves at the disposal of the territory and its needs, adapting to its demands. Many times the mistake we make is to focus on what seems right and proper to us, without a broader view of the situation. We do not necessarily have to follow a precise textbook orthodoxy. But we do need to be ready for any innovation that the market requires: to diversify our approach, reception and service strategies. Fears and difficulties must be faced, studied, understood and overcome. We must not and cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by the first obstacles. Preparation, planning and diversification are the weapons at our disposal. Time, passion, dedication and professionalism will be rewarded and accepted. As in our case: when, after years of getting to know each other, we were able to return to present ourselves with the style and elegance that today distinguishes Caffetteria Centrale di Silea.

How important was the support of the family when making difficult choices?

I consider myself a very lucky man. I have always had moral, ethical and educational support from my family, which has helped me in all my decisions. Dad Plinio and Mum Lidia have never let me lack their support and freedom of choice. They have always encouraged and spurred me on to follow my ideas and convictions, giving me courage and initiative without putting obstacles in the way of my desire to emerge. Even in the saddest moments our family has experienced, I have never perceived mistrust or fear for the future I was building for myself. Then Manuela appeared in the path of my life: my real strength, the shoulder on which I leaned and continue to lean. Many people do not believe it is possible to work and share the same life. But in reality there are tangible examples that this combination is possible. The important thing is to be able to separate the two worlds and never be absent from each other. I can firmly state that I would probably not be able to live and talk about this wonderful adventure today if I did not have an extraordinary woman like Manuela at my side. Last but not least, I cannot forget two people who have dedicated their time and heart to our project in the same way: Manuela’s parents. The first years of activity were really hard to cope with. The hours in the cafeteria were endless, and the tasks were countless. First Piera and then Eliano made themselves available by supporting us with their work in all the necessary tasks. I remember that period very well, when our families would gather from the early hours of dawn until late at night. Today my in-laws are no longer with us, but their memory remains indelibly in my heart. Every day I dedicate to them, and to my father, a thought of affection and gratitude for all they have done for me and for Manuela.

Were there any particularly difficult moments during your career?

The biggest difficulties in our sector, as in many other professions, come above all from relationships with people. Personally, there have been times when I have found it difficult to relate to people with whom I could not get along. But experience, dialogue and a positive spirit have always helped me to overcome these character adversities. From a professional point of view, I remember the post-crisis period of 2008, when the aftermath of the economic crisis and the loss of many jobs began to affect the café-bar sector. But as I often like to remind myself, we must be able to seize, even in difficulties, the possibility that they represent an opportunity for growth and development. At that time, contrary to what was advised, I decided not to stand still and to react. I transformed what had previously been a ‘Personal Branding’ based and centred only on our figures, into a Brand that went beyond Marco and Manuela. I therefore decided to found the Zanatta Caffè brand and invest resources and energy in this project. Today, twenty-five years later, I can consider myself satisfied and proud of not having given in to the obstacles that inevitably arise along the way.

We know that, in addition to your profession, you are very involved in other equally important areas such as solidarity, sport and associationism among businesses in your municipality. Can you tell us something about it?

Living a territory means participating in and sharing the many initiatives that the place itself, and the people who live there, propose and create. I have had the good fortune, thanks to our activity, to know and meet many of the people who are the protagonists of these realities. I have chosen to devote myself to them, in the conviction that I can give back a part of all that this wonderful city has given me. There are sports, solidarity and cooperation associations that must be supported and made known so that they can continue their work for the benefit of many. Thanks to a very dear childhood friend, Piero Pool, who suffers from Down Syndrome, I got to know the ‘Adelante‘ association: led with great dedication by its President Matteo Nadali. Adelante is mainly concerned with supporting young people and their families. Together we organise events and meetings to promote fundraising and to make the association known to the residents of Silea and beyond. An experience that gives me new emotions every day. Paradoxical as it may seem, it is perhaps more what we receive than what we try to give these children. Their expressions of affection and the sincere love they transmit fill our hearts and repay us for all our efforts. Talking to many parents, a common concern emerges: talking about their children’s future at the inevitable moment of separation. With Adelante we try to answer this question, guaranteeing, as far as possible, security and relative serenity for these families. As far as sport is concerned, we support local teams. They are very important for us in Silesia, for our children and for all those who participate in them. In the economic and commercial sphere, there is no lack of initiatives and our commitment meets that of many other entrepreneurs and traders in the area. We have founded the association “AICASA“, which stands for “Associazione Imprenditori Commercianti Artigiani Silea” (Association of Silea Entrepreneurs, Dealers and Craftsmen), with the aim of making ourselves known within our municipal boundaries. We promote joint advertising, communication and territorial promotion initiatives. We are active in various sectors and have about eighty members. As President of AICASA, I feel responsible for this role and for the trust that our members have placed in me. Today, AICASA, ASCOM and the municipal administration of Silea have joined forces in a common project, giving life to the public-private association called “SILEA TERRE D’ACQUA” and obtaining official recognition from the Veneto region as a DUC: Urban Trade District. I have also been entrusted with the role of President of this association and I hope to live up to the expectations and trust that the administration and members have placed in me.

How do you choose collaborators and suppliers, and how do you deal with them?

The relationship with my collaborators is fundamental. I have been lucky enough to meet some extraordinary people during my career. Past and present collaborators have been and continue to be the pillars of our business. They have been with us for many years and pass on their professionalism and passion to newcomers. I believe it is essential to establish a constructive dialogue right from the start in order to understand the expectations and spirit that motivates a candidate to join our team. The employee must represent a resource for the company and not a mere cost to the company. If my employee has the will to embark on a common path and achieve shared objectives, he or she will find all the cooperation and support that a good employer owes to his or her partners. This is what I look for in each of them: the desire to grow together, to achieve common goals that go beyond a simple paid service. I always leave a lot of room for manoeuvre to my young people so that they can also make mistakes and learn from their own mistakes. I do not consider myself, as often happens in other realities, to be an ‘imposer’ of rules or methods. Quite the contrary! I periodically meet with all my staff through scheduled meetings where we discuss and reason together, respecting visions, doubts and new ideas that may emerge. I am convinced that this way of working is the ideal approach to create the inner awareness that each person needs to improve and improve in their field of work. I do the same with our suppliers. Obviously the quality of the products is very important in this sector. We must always provide a service and a product that satisfies our customers. I like to build a relationship of mutual respect and, also with our suppliers, a common growth project. Research and development are the basis for building an effective and long-term collaboration.

Marco Zanatta’s strengths and weaknesses.

Good question! I don’t like to describe and judge myself, I prefer other people to do that. But if I had to answer, I’d say that my greatest advantage is sometimes my worst defect: at least I think so! I am a very altruistic person and I have always made myself available to others. Often this attitude is not perceived and understood in the right way. I believe in the word love and what it represents. Love means giving: not only necessarily when you receive something. I consider myself a lucky person, together with my wife we have built something important and now I feel ready to give, what I can, to my neighbour. This attitude has often caused me some difficulties. It has not been understood and perceived in the right way. But this is a part of Marco that I like and that I do not intend to change. One of my faults is certainly the fact that I don’t like unconstructive or trivial criticism. I like to discuss and analyse every doubt or perplexity, as long as it is based on valid reasons. Over the years, this aspect of my character has weakened slightly, thanks to the experience I have gained both at work and in society. Today I prefer calm reflection rather than an impulsive reaction.

His career path has seen continuous growth over these long years. From coffee shop to entrepreneur in the coffee, biscuit and affiliated products supply sector. What does Zanatta Caffe offer?

Impresa Zanatta Caffè s.r.l. offers its customers a 360° presence. As a café we have developed a working strategy that covers the whole day, planning our service over five time slots: breakfast, light launch, afternoon snack, aperitif and after dinner. In this way, we try to adapt our proposals to the needs of our customers. Let’s say that stopping at just the title of cafeteria is a bit reductive. Today, a café must operate throughout the day, optimising space and resources. Even the simple display of products requires study and precise planning, changing with the passing of the hours. The references linked to a specific operating period cannot and must not be present in other time contexts. The display windows speak to the customer and invite him to consume them. Combinations are therefore fundamental in order to whet the guest’s appetite and fulfil his every wish, thus increasing sales. Through the branding of its products, Zanatta Caffè Home offers the possibility of consuming everything that is consumed in a coffee shop at home: from coffee to biscuits. In the field of external sales, the company proposes to build loyalty with those who want to use our products by proposing them to their own customers. We try to export the Caffetteria Centrale model to other establishments, providing brand, products and training. We have studied and selected four blends suitable for every type of establishment: Zanatta Gourmet 100% Arabica (suitable for gourmet coffee and pastry shops); Zanatta Velvet 90% Arabica-10% Robusta (suitable for coffee shops); Zanatta Intense 70% Arabica 30% Robusta (ideal for coffee bars); Zanatta Strong 40% Arabica 60% Robusta (recommended for restaurants-pizzerias and hotels). Our raw material comes mainly, as far as the Arabica bean is concerned, from South America and Central Africa. For Robusta we opt for geographical areas such as South East Asia. In addition, we offer a selected range of confectionery and similar products through our Zanatta SWEET & SAVOURY brand, the result of sought-after and exclusively territorial collaborations.

The importance of communication in your sector according to Marco Zanatta.

Communication is fundamental in our industry. Knowing how to communicate means promoting your products and services. There are many different ways of communicating: from the classic and more dated ones to modern cross media techniques. Although it may seem anachronistic, the ‘word of mouth‘ still works, and is the basis of any exchange of information. That is why we must never neglect the message that comes from ourselves and our behaviour towards the customer. We cannot fail to measure ourselves against the new frontiers of dissemination and therefore rely on experts in this field. Today’s speed and multimedia cannot be dealt with by the inexperienced. If we want to achieve interesting goals, we must rely on information professionals, facing costs and investments necessary for the growth of our company.

Plans for the future?

In 2017, we invested heavily in the new look of the Central Cafeteria, redesigning the entire interior and exterior. A decision we have made over the years and which has brought us much satisfaction and appreciation from our customers. As far as the future is concerned, I would like to be able to delegate the management of the Cafeteria and dedicate my energies to the development of the Zanatta Caffè brand. In recent years we have been an incubator of ideas and projects, and I think the time has come to develop them. Today we are launching an important collaboration with a young confectionary start-up “Il Pasticcere del Cuore” led by 25-year-old Stefano Codognotto. Together with his father Maurizio Codognotto, a long-standing representative of a well-known food distribution company, Stefano has recently set up his new business space, equipping it with cold rooms and everything necessary to start up this company. We want to address the entire HORECA sector by supplying coffee and confectionery products, as well as catering services.

What advice would you give to young people entering the profession?

A few years ago I took part in Master’s courses as a lecturer and had the opportunity to deal with many young students. Important decisions come very early on, and already after the first years of study it is important to direct our minds to what we really want to do. Parents – the most difficult job in the world – play a very important role in these choices, but they are often influenced by their own expectations or dreams. I recommend looking beyond that and understanding what our children are really interested in and focusing on their physical and mental well-being. Even choosing a career path and taking it seriously can lead to successful results in life. Opening up a dialogue with teachers is just as important as listening to their advice. But it always depends on our children, their dreams and what they are passionate about. Let’s not push them in directions they don’t want to go. All I can say to our young people is to follow their dreams with commitment and passion. Set goals and pursue them. Passion, study, teaching and dedication will make the difference. Focus your energy on what you believe in and the doors to success will surely open.

Interview by Abiti Luciano; Layout Matteo Durante

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Zanatta Caffè

Zanatta Caffè

About UsContacts

Zanatta Caffè is a territorial reality founded and conceived by Marco Zanatta: owner together with his wife Manuela Talia of the Caffetteria Centrale in Silea. Its history began on 8th March 1997 when Marco and Manuela, after nine years’ experience at the historic “Ai Soffioni” café – then run by Renato Montirosso and his wife Lorena – decided it was time to take a risk. They therefore took over the management of the Caffetteria Centrale in the town of Silea: an elegant and welcoming town overlooking the beautiful waters of the River Sile. The first few years of business are very hard and intense. But Marco and Manuela did not give up and continued to serve their customers, offering quality products and impeccable service. Their efforts were soon rewarded and the much hoped-for results soon arrived. The relationship with the citizens is solidified and soon the Caffetteria Centrale becomes a reference point for many residents. The services offered by Marco and Manuela, their kindness, professionalism and elegance cross the municipal borders and contribute to a constantly growing evolution of their business. In the following years the Cafeteria became a meeting place for many young people and the centre of Silese nightlife, and not only.

Turnover increased and Marco and Manuela expanded their staff, hiring and training new personnel. In 2013 the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis began to be felt even in the “Horeca” sector (hotel-restaurant-cafeteria). But Marco’s intuition, born of the entrepreneurial spirit that has always distinguished him, proved to be right and far-sighted. Coffee consumption at the Caffetteria Centrale remains very high and attracts unexpected interest. After an evening dinner, and on the advice of Umberto Golfetto, an old family friend active in the coffee sales sector, Marco made the decision that would change the future of his company forever. He founded the Zanatta Caffè brand and launched himself into the world of entrepreneurship. The company entrusted the roasting of its coffee to Galiano Caffè of Quinto di Treviso. Marco studied blends, proportions and the origin of the raw materials and proposed his product on the market. The success is immediate and the response positive. In 2018 the Zanatta Sweet & Savoury brand was born, combining two different but complementary realities: coffee and biscuits. Today, twenty-five years on from the first coffee served, the Zanatta Caffè s.r.l. company has twelve employees in the cafeteria sector, several Zanatta Caffè points of sale, four selected blends in beans for bars and restaurants, a line of capsules for home consumption, more than twenty references of related products and a constantly growing turnover.

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Interview with Gaetano Cutrignelli

Interview with Gaetano Cutrignelli – Professional Barman Classic; Technical Training Collaborator

Born in Bari in 1971 Gaetano (Nino) Cutrignelli is a professional Barman and a teacher-trainer for young people aspiring to the profession of Barman. His career started way back in his early teens, when he developed a passion for liqueurs, their history and provenance. At the age of eleven, he began collecting small bottles of liqueurs of various labels. He spends his days literally hanging from the counters of the bars in the centre of Bari, spying on the master barmen of the time. He was fascinated by their immaculate white uniforms and elegant black bow ties. The composure, elegance and subtle austerity of the Masters attracted him and captured his imagination, marking the decisions that would condition his future life. In 1985 Gaetano enrolled at the Istituto Alberghiero Statale “Armando Perotti” in Bari. After the first three years of practical training, he completed the following two years, acquiring skills and competences in administration and management accounting, and the diploma of Qualification of Waiter and Bar Operator: a certificate recognised at European level. During his time at school, Gaetano spent his summers working in the best hotels in the area. During the winter periods, in addition to his ordinary lessons, he follows his teachers in additional courses promoted by AIBES (Italian Association of Bartenders and Supporters). He accompanies them to the premises where they provide evening service. The tasks are the simplest and most humble, but for Gaetano they represent the first steps into the world to which he has always dreamed of belonging. Between 1985 and 1989, while at school, he worked at the five-star Villa Hotel in Bisceglie in the province of Bari, as Commis de Bar. This was a very important experience for Gaetano, which gave him unforgettable moments, such as the pleasant encounter with the singer-songwriter Vasco Rossi. In 1989, at the end of his study period, he took part in a Master’s course that took him to Frankfurt to work for the Sheraton hotel. It was a long trip where Gaetano learned the fundamentals of mixing techniques and perfected his skills as a bartender, working alongside two pillars of the profession, Vincent Bertrand and Mark Wagner.

After his military service in 1990-91 Gaetano actually entered the world of professional work and was hired as First Barman at the well-known “Divinae Follie” club in Bisceglie: a nationally known discotheque frequented by many top artists of the time. The collaboration lasted five years, during which Gaetano held roles of great responsibility, dealing mainly with the Prive’ service, for the most famous guests, and the management of their reception. In 1995 he took part in a stage of the famous “Drink Festival“: a national competition featuring the best Italian barmen, placing him among the top ten finalists and receiving positive reviews from the magazine “Bar Giornale”. In 1996 Gaetano presented a Cocktail of his own creation at the same competition, named “Remember a Day” in honour of the Pink Floyd band, of which Gaetano is a great fan. His resourcefulness, skill and preparation were rewarded by the jury of experts who awarded him the highest step on the podium. An unexpected turning point for Nino’s professional career. The first sponsors arrived, such as ‘la Cointreau’, and he subsequently took part in national and international events. In the same year he took part in the European finals held in the Maltese capital Valletta, winning the bronze medal. With the positive results came the first important job offers. In 1996 he accepted his first important job at the Blue Music Club in Bari as First Barman. At last Nino realised the dream he had had since he was a child and which catapulted him into the world of professional barmen. Gaetano perfected his skills by serving in the best hotels and cocktail bars in Italy. This experience also took him to the Veneto region, to the city of Jesolo. The Venetian land captures and adopts Gaetano’s heart and will become his home in the not too distant future. During this period Gaetano went to the island of Cuba where he stayed for a long time and dedicated himself to the study of some classic Cuban drinks and their preparation. He perfected his knowledge of the famous Daiquiri cocktail by learning the best preparation techniques. In 2000 Gaetano accepted a job offered to him by the marketing manager of Cointreau, moving to the Riviera Romagnola and becoming First Barman of the famous American Bar Luxor chain in Rimini. This marriage lasted thirteen years and enriched him as a professional and as a trainer of young barmen. After the closure of the historic bar in 2013, Gaetano moved permanently to the Veneto region, rediscovering the land that had fascinated him so much. He accepted a job as a barman in charge of the “American Bar” sector at “Le Caprice“, a restaurant and lounge bar just outside Noventa di Piave. Today Nino continues his work with the same spirit as the young boy who climbed the bar counters, collected mini bottles of liquor and dreamed of becoming a professional barman. He also dedicates himself to the training of young people, collaborating with several local hotel schools and passing on his long experience.

Who is Gaetano Cutrignelli?

Gaetano, known as Nino, is a 50-year-old man born in Bari in 1971, to Daddy Michele and Mummy Daniela. I have a sister Marina and three wonderful nephews whom I adore and to whom I love a world of good. I consider myself a very humble person, reserved, meticulous and dedicated to my work and not particularly attracted by the spotlight. I like to call myself a “Nomad”: a man with a suitcase in his hand. I have spent most of my life travelling around Italy doing seasonal work in different regions. Tuscany, Umbria, Trentino, Emilia Romagna, my native Puglia and Veneto, my second home, are the ones I hold most dear to my heart. I am a sociable and polite person, I like to dedicate myself to study, updating myself on new preparation techniques and training young aspiring barmen.

When and how did your passion for this profession start?

My passion goes back a long way. When I was a child, I loved collecting ‘Mignon‘: small bottles of spirits and liqueurs that looked exactly like their bigger sisters. I had reached an impressive number: almost six hundred examples. I would go out to everyone: friends, clubs, bars, markets, always looking for new labels to enrich my collection. I used to spend my days, after school, going into the bars in the centre of Bari to watch the ‘Old Master Bartenders‘. I was fascinated by their work, their skill and the elegance of their bearing. I remember hanging out at the bar counter to watch, spy and steal the secrets of the trade. I would travel with my imagination and see myself handling and mixing liqueurs and serving them to customers. I would spend entire days among my little Mignons pretending to be a professional barman. I would follow this path.

What did you study to become a professional?

Obviously driven by my passion, after completing compulsory schooling, I decided to enrol at the Armando Perotti State Hotelier Institute in Bari. The institute, named after the famous writer, journalist and poet from Puglia, had, and still has, a history of great prestige. I attended the three years of practical training, concentrating my energies on the restaurant and bar sector. I then obtained a diploma of qualification as a Bar and Restaurant Services Employee, recognised at European level. I then attended and followed master’s and training courses for a long period in Frankfurt, where I had the good fortune and honour to learn and improve my skills and cocktail preparation techniques from two sacred masters of the American Bar: French Master Vincent Bertrand and German Master Mark Wagner.

Do you remember your entry into the world of work?

I entered the world of work as a teenager. While studying at the hotel school, I spent my summers working in hotels in the province of Bari. My first experience, and definitely the most significant one, was at the Villa di Bisceglie hotel in the province of Bari. A five-star hotel where I worked as a Commis de Bar. I fondly remember Prof. Scaramuzzi who took me under his wing and taught me many secrets of the trade that I still jealously guard. Those were different times, learning was not easy. Master barmen did not give advice easily and everything you wanted to learn you had to ‘steal’ with your eyes between one service and another. I started with very humble but dignified tasks. I remember that before I could pour my first aperitif or make my first cocktail I must have washed thousands of glasses. But I was a patient, enterprising guy, and the desire to realise my dream paid off in spades. After three seasons as Commis de Bar, I moved on to the role of second barman with more specific duties. I like to remember my experience with singer-songwriter Vasco Rossi, a guest at our hotel. While I was serving breakfast in my room, I received an invitation from Vasco Rossi to play water polo in the hotel pool. We spent the whole night playing together with his band the “Steve Rogers band”, an unforgettable memory. After finishing my studies, and after a period abroad, I returned to Italy and got my first real job in the world of work. In 1992 I was hired at the “Divinae Follie” disco where I was finally able to measure myself against the real challenges typical of our profession. Work organisation, speed, the ability to resolve difficult situations, customer relations, etc. I was entering the dimension to which I had become accustomed. I actually entered the dimension to which I felt I had always belonged.

Was there a particular experience that left a lasting impression on you?

Yes, of course. After my time at the “Divinae Follie” disco – during which I took part in several competitions for barmen, obtaining excellent results – I received several job offers. In 1996 I accepted a very important job at one of the most famous American Bars in the province of Bari, the Blue Music Club in Valenzano, as First Barman. Mr Luigi Lerario, the owner of the bar, gave me carte blanche and told me to equip and stock the bar. It was the opportunity I had been waiting for. My mind travelled back through the streets of the neighbourhood and the rooms of my house: when the imagination of a young boy painted a picture of a future life. I suddenly found myself totally immersed in the world I had always aimed for. It was like becoming a child again and experiencing an ecstatic emotion. I could see my passion taking shape. My small bottles transformed into three hundred references of liqueurs and spirits ready to be served. The great masters, serious and unreachable, would appear and observe me. But now I was one of them. At last I was on the other side of the counter and would carry out my task with the same elegance and professionalism that had fascinated me so much. Together with Mr Luigi, we grew to become one of the most popular and well-stocked restaurants in Bari, and we were able to satisfy every customer request. During my four years of service at the Blue Music Club I grew professionally and in character, learning new mixing and staff management techniques. I had realised my dream, I was to all intents and purposes the professional barman that little Nino had imagined.

What difficulties do you encounter in your profession?

In our sector, as in many others, difficulties exist and must be faced. The relationship with customers can be difficult, you have to be ready, and try to meet the needs of the customer. Obviously, this job entails sacrifices and renunciations. Choosing to work in the hospitality, tourism and entertainment sector means being at the service of the customer on days and at times that do not correspond to the standard of a typical working day. The management of premises and the relationship with one’s collaborators can represent challenges, sometimes difficult to overcome. In our profession we are often subject to change and travel. These situations should not be an obstacle to our career, but should be experienced as a professional and personal enrichment, useful to face and overcome future challenges and obstacles.

How do you overcome difficult moments?

Only through thorough and professional preparation can obstacles and difficulties be overcome. Study, experience, practice, awareness, humility and stubbornness are the indispensable characteristics to face our daily challenges. Inspiration and talent are sometimes not enough if they are not supported by teaching and learning. Passion and love for my work have always helped me throughout my career. Even when everything seems insurmountable, we must remember what drove us to take this path. Find the driving force within us, our passion, our courage and our self-esteem.

The Barman of yesterday and the Barman of today. What has changed?

Things have changed a lot since I started in this business. The liquor and spirits sector has made great strides in the last 30 years. Today we have an unlimited range of references. We have a variety of products from all over the world and of excellent quality. Once we had references such as: Gin London Dry, Gin Bombay, Tanqueray, etc., was like displaying jewellery in a shop window. There were no syrups of any kind or taste; everything was made by hand by the Barman himself. Even the tools underwent a drastic evolution. Just think of the simple “Jigger”, the measuring cup for dosing, or the “Metal Pour”, applied to bottles to balance the pour. None of this was used; it was all the result of teaching and experience. Today, the glassware, the glasses and the bottles themselves have shapes and volumes designed for every need. Even the figure of the barman himself has definitely changed. Yesterday more elegant, more refined, more professional, almost austere. Today it is more dynamic, more colourful, more striking. Two worlds in comparison that I have fortunately been able to observe and experience and from which I continue to absorb old and new skills.

The world of drinks is constantly evolving. New needs and demands are increasingly demanding and sought after. How do you manage to stay up-to-date and current?

As I said before, our sector is constantly evolving. New recipes, new combinations, new fields of application, such as wellness and health. We are studying natural, organic and non-alcoholic cocktails that can be consumed by the majority of people. It is of course very important to keep up to date, to carry out research and to participate in courses and information conventions.

What, according to Gaetano Cutrignelli, is the perfect relationship or behaviour to follow with customers?

Customers should be pampered and catered for as much as possible. Having a cocktail should be a moment of relaxation and pleasure. Sometimes it is necessary to make small compromises on preparation and service. We must not stop at the orthodoxy of the manuals. But we must be creative and accept even the most extravagant requests. The true skill of a professional bartender is also measured by these small adjustments to make our drink and our customer’s experience unforgettable.

You have managed many premises and staff. Your relationship with your staff?

My relationship with colleagues and co-workers has always been excellent. Every action I take, both in my professional and personal life, is based on mutual respect and help. In my career I have had the pleasure of working with people who are more experienced and with young people who are less experienced than me. I have always tried to pass on my knowledge and personal experience. During my apprenticeship, receiving support or concrete help was not so easy. The ‘old’ masters were not used to giving free advice. Everything was ‘stolen’ with the eyes and a lot of patience. Today things have definitely changed and I personally find it very stimulating to be able to teach and share the secrets of this wonderful craft.

What is the perfect drink according to Gaetano?

For me, there is no specific classification of drinks. Each cocktail has its own history, its own ritual of preparation that makes it unique and fascinating. However, if I had to choose, I would say that there are three of my favourites. One is undoubtedly the Daiquiri: a famous cocktail of Cuban origin made of amber rum, cane sugar syrup and lemon juice. I was lucky enough to go to Cuba to study the composition and preparation of this drink, discovering its history, origins and variations. The second is, without a doubt, the Manhattan Cocktail: one of the most famous cocktails in the world. Its recipe is very simple and is based on a mixture of Whisky (preferably Canadian Whisky), Vermouth Rosso (an aromatic wine of Italian origin from the city of Turin) and Angostura (bitter bitter obtained from the infusion of aromatic plants). The Manhattan is served on Cocktail Cups as an aperitif: its flavour, elegance and colours represent the essence of the American Bar style. Lastly, I must mention the world-famous Italian cocktail par excellence, the Negroni: an aperitif cocktail created by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, served in an old-fashioned glass, composed of red vermouth, Campari bitters and gin. Its unmistakable light red colour is unrivalled in the world and represents the style and liveliness typical of the Italian people.

Often the average consumer matches food exclusively with wine. But there are pre-dinner and after-dinner pairings based on aperitifs and sophisticated cocktails. Why do you think this very important aspect of the restaurant industry is not emphasised?

Cocktails and spirits are generally not paired with food, although this is a mistake. In fact, there are very important studies that aim at refined and selected combinations: Food Pairing. We should not underestimate this aspect and the importance of aperitifs, cocktails and spirits on the process of welcoming, serving and leaving the customer. These drinks welcome, accompany and greet the guest. Here I could give some examples of tried and tested pairings that have been very well received. For example, the famous Daiquiri goes perfectly with a shellfish dish. A Negroni cocktail is ideal during a tasting of selected cheeses. The tequila-based Margarita is best when accompanied by spicy dishes.

What is Gaetano (Nino) Crutrignelli’s secret?

There are no hidden or jealously guarded secrets. The only secret to succeeding in your profession is hard work. I am often asked how to become a professional barman. The only answer I can give is that you can only achieve certain goals through study, passion and dedication. Starting from the bottom, even with the most menial tasks. Observe and respect those who offer us their help. Don’t stop and never think you have arrived. Ours is a constantly evolving sector that requires constant updating and training.

Why did you join the project

I joined your project because I think it is important to tell and share passions and experiences. We often stop and look at images or videos in this digital age. But we do not realise that behind every product or service there is a story, made up of sweat and sacrifice. tells all this, sending out a message aimed at young people and those who want to embark on a career or a high-level professional profession.

Plans for the future?

I love this work and I intend to continue on this path. Together with other colleagues, we are working on a teaching project for young people. Training courses covering the whole chain of catering, hospitality and entertainment. I am fascinated by the idea of being able to pass on to future generations some of the knowledge and experience that has shaped me over these long years of my career.

What advice would you give to young people who want to pursue a career as a barman?

First of all, I advise not to underestimate the study part. A good educational background is the basis for a successful career. Follow more experienced people and respect the teachings they give us. Do not be in a hurry to learn or to reach the top of the pyramid. Everything has its own time. I tell young people not to be afraid to make mistakes, to try and try again. Don’t give up in the face of the first obstacles. Follow your passions with courage and dedication. Transforming a dream into reality is possible and depends only on us and on the strength we have inside.

Interview and writing of Abiti Luciano ; Layout Matteo Durante

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Interview Ms Anna Pecoraro

Interview Ms Anna Pecoraro

Ms Anna Pecoraro granted us the following interview, which tells the story of her adventure with the family hotel.

Who is Mrs Anna Pecoraro?

It is not easy to describe oneself. I always let people judge me for my actions. I consider myself a very simple woman, friendly and respectful of others. I am the mother of three children and the grandmother of eight grandchildren.

How did you start your adventure in the hotel business?

My entry into the world of tourism entrepreneurship was as unexpected as it was unwanted. In 1991 I received a call from my father Augusto Pecoraro, owner and proprietor of the Hotel Rosanna. Dad, who was left without a secretary, asked me to help him for a short period until he had found another receptionist. This period went on and on. Although I had no knowledge of the business management and accounting of a hotel, I decided to answer my father’s call and found out that the financial situation was quite serious, if not very serious, and therefore difficult to remedy.

I tried to convince my father to sell to avoid certain bankruptcy. He didn’t listen to reason and I had no intention of taking on this burden, having left the hotel business more than 25 years before. One day, after I had invited my father to sell for the umpteenth time, I heard the secretary call me to tell me that my father had gone up to his room crying. I rushed to him and found him sitting on the edge of the bed, his head in his hands, sobbing. I remember being struck by the small puddle that had formed at his feet: they were my father’s tears. The doctors had given him no more than six months to live, and this man saw lost everything he had built up in a lifetime of hard work. His legacy was disappearing before his eyes, and there was nothing he could do. He would leave us wrapped in sadness and despair. I approached him, hugged him tightly and said the words that would mark my life forever: <<Don’t worry; I will help you! >>. Dad lived another three years. The strength to react and fight the evil in him, I think, came from the hope that somehow he would be able to save the hotel, obviously trusting in my support. The real big help in the final part of his life – he was going to leave for good after three months – was to turn to my ex-husband for help. To my surprise, he offered to take over the business, with all the trappings, thus saving my father’s name. In 2001, the old Rosanna’s was demolished to create a modern establishment more in keeping with our times. Today, almost thirty years later, we are here to tell our story.

Can you tell us about your first steps as an entrepreneur?

My first steps were characterised by a lot of fear. As I told you, I was called upon to take on this challenge at an early age, and I had no experience of entrepreneurship. I did not know anything about good and proper business management. Everything seemed insurmountable to me. Accounts, invoices, suppliers, customer management and many other daily tasks that you can imagine in a business like ours. The feeling was that of being swept away by a river in flood that I could not contain. I remember mornings when, as soon as I woke up, I was surrounded by a deep anguish that took my breath away. The thought of having to face another day of problems was unbearable for me. At that time, I received a great deal of help from Marina Furlan, my father’s former collaborator, who got me from nursery school to university in just a few days. She did an extraordinary job of giving me knowledge and a bit of confidence. Once I had decided to stay by my father’s side, I set myself a goal and kept my eyes on it, and in this way, I managed to overcome the great discomfort I had inside. This is my modus vivendi. It is my great strength that allows me to reach goals that are sometimes impossible. I should have stayed only a few days, but more than thirty years have passed since then.

Mother, wife, grandmother. How did you and how do you manage to combine private and working life?

Simple! Not having a private life. Ours is a family of entrepreneurs. By the time I took over as director of the Rosanna, my grown-up children had already taken over the family fish business. We all found ourselves immersed in our own thoughts and our daily chores, sacrificing the human connection that I had managed to create in my ‘previous life’. Today, although I keep my relationship with my family alive and constant, I feel the weight of the silences and the interminable periods that sometimes separate us. I have learnt to consider my staff and collaborators as family and to call my office home. This is often the burden of doing business.

What are the major difficulties for a woman in this profession?

Compared to men, I think that in all professions women find it more difficult. To be a woman, wife, mother and entrepreneur means marrying both roles. Being a woman, a wife, a mother and a businesswoman means having both roles, living parallel lives and dealing with a hectic pace that is sometimes unbearable. But we women – I don’t want to offend the men – have an extra gear, a passion and an inner will that characterises and distinguishes us. Unfortunately, many times these qualities are not enough and women have to choose between family and career, inevitably risking losing one or the other. I think that today we can bridge these gaps between the sexes by rethinking the world of work, providing all the necessary support to enable each of us to choose our professional life. Much still needs to be done, but we are on the right track.

Do you remember any particularly difficult moments you had to face?

In thirty years of activity, as you can imagine, there have been countless moments of difficulty. I remember the early years, my fears, worries, bills to pay and zero bookings. Difficult situations to overcome. But throughout my life, in times of despair, I have always found relief and new strength by turning to a “Friend” whom not everyone recognises as such: Our Lord Jesus. It is His Spirit that has guided me all these years. I remember a July one summer long ago. I was on the phone with my ex-husband and crying in despair because the August calendar was completely empty. I remember Aldo’s voice saying to me: “Do something, do something! Then, gripped by discouragement, I went back to my mother’s house and suddenly, gripped by desperation for what I was experiencing, I turned to the crucifix, shouting repeatedly: it’s all your fault, it’s all your fault, everything is possible with you, it would be easy for you to solve my problem, I need a full calendar at least, at least from the first of August to the 10th of September. Immediately afterwards I realised that I had failed Him and from a state of aggression I moved on to asking for forgiveness. When I got back to the hotel, the secretary told me that the phone was ringing off the hook. The hotel was filling up and filled up until the 10th of September. I still smile at the memory of that episode. On the morning of the 10th, the hotel was empty. I turned to the crucifix and said to Him: If I had known that you would grant me my wish, I would have asked for a few more days. Such episodes have been frequent in my working and non-working life.

How do you overcome professional adversity?

It is essential to always keep in mind everything that depends on our actions, being aware that within us there is a strength and courage that only needs to be sought and awakened. We must not think about why this obstacle is in front of me, but how to face it and overcome it, and not see it as an adverse fact, but as a positive one, because nothing is negative in life. Just focus on our goal: to solve the problem and keep working. In my life I have been confronted many times with barriers that seemed insurmountable. Thanks to my faith and the inner strength it generated in me, I have always managed to climb the mountain, look ahead and set out on the next path.

How do you choose your collaborators?

Talking to them. I always like to talk to candidate employees, to have a dialogue with them and see if they can give me what I look for in all my employees: love and passion for their work.

What does Mrs Anna think is the right relationship with the employees?

I have had a lot of staff over 30 years and I have always tried to deal with them with the utmost respect. I always address my staff on a “Lei” basis, as is only right and proper when respecting a person providing a service. Even with long-standing employees such as Mrs Luigina Babbo, who has been with me since the beginning, I continue to address them in a very respectful manner, even though I am aware that our relationship goes far beyond work. Luigina, as I like to call her, is now an important and irreplaceable part of my life. We are united by a relationship of family trust which I hold dear. Nevertheless, I am convinced that in professional life we must be aware of our roles and respect them beyond all reason. I want my employees to always feel protected and to find in me a point of reference where they can confide in me and where they can find concrete help. The door of my office, jokingly called ‘The Confessional’, is always open.

Jesolo yesterday and Jesolo today: what has changed over the years?

Many years ago at the beginning of my career, our hotels were mostly run by locals. Country people who were used to hard work and offered an almost family-like service. Today, things have definitely changed. The needs of tourists are very different and the big hotels are adapting their standards to the needs of the moment. Everything happens faster and more frenetically. Jesolo has undergone a radical transformation. Over the last few decades, Jesolo has evolved from a purely tourist town to a residential city, with increasingly modern and sophisticated housing complexes. A Jesolo society has therefore developed that animates the town even during the winter months. I have always been used to the frenzy and impersonality of the big city, but here in Jesolo I have found the tranquillity and familiarity that I have been looking for for a long time.

More than 20 years at the helm of her hotel, always maintaining the highest standards. What is the secret of Mrs Anna’s success?

There are no special secrets to reveal. Every person who loves his work and is passionate about it can achieve success. Difficult moments serve to strengthen us. I was catapulted into this world that I did not seek and did not want. But I learned to love it, respect it and deal with it. To set one’s own goals and invest body and soul in achieving them. To improve day after day, not to retreat. Convince yourself of your abilities and make the most of them. The road to success is around every corner of our lives, with a bit of luck, which never hurts, it must be recognised and followed.

Why stay at the Hotel Rosanna in Jesolo?

As I said before, the way of welcoming guests has definitely changed. The big hotel chains have adapted to the speed and frenzy of our times. What counts today are large numbers and the speed with which the desired results are achieved. However, there are still realities such as ours that maintain their modus operandi unchanged and that respect the old unwritten rules of welcome and hospitality. As far as I am concerned, I have lived my private and professional life according to a principle that speaks of respect for oneself and for others: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to you“. These are the values that have accompanied me throughout my career and that I have always wanted to pass on to my staff and my customers. When I run my hotel, I try to imagine myself outside the reception desk. I identify with my guest, I think about what I would want if I were in his place. I question myself, looking for solutions to satisfy them and I work to implement them. I think this is our strength: attention to detail, a friendly welcome, simplicity and love for our work.

Entering your office one cannot help but notice that you are a very devout and spiritual person. How important was and is faith in your professional life?

For me, faith is everything! Love, spirituality, devotion, humility, sacrifice, strength, awareness, help for others and much more are the teachings that my faith has given me throughout my life. In the darkest moments, I have always turned to God, his son Jesus and the Virgin Mary for comfort and strength to overcome life’s adversities. I am convinced that my path has been designed and willed by God, who has allowed the many hardships, worries, anxieties and fears of these years with the sole purpose of making me grow and become stronger. I feel His energy and strength in me that accompany me in every decision, support me in every discouragement and strengthen me in every weakness : both in my private and professional life.

Mrs Anna, you ‘hide’ an extraordinary passion and talent. If you walk through the floors of the Hotel Rosanna, you can see some of your works on display. Can you tell us about them?

I have always wanted to travel and discover the world ever since I was a girl. Unfortunately, during my married life I was not able to exploit this great passion of mine: my ex-husband was not very fond of travelling. After the separation, with my children now grown up, I decided to dedicate a part of me to this old and great love. I love discovering new cultures, visiting faraway and inaccessible places and adapting to local customs and traditions. I have found a fantastic travelling companion in my dear friend Stefania. Together we share our experiences and another great passion: photography. I started by attending courses almost as a joke, in which I understood little or nothing. Until I met Maestro Orio Frasseto. From that moment on, my relationship with the camera began. Concentrating on the lens, on the image, on the moment I want to immortalise is like losing myself in another dimension. Everything disappears: problems, worries and thoughts vanish as if by magic and I abandon myself to an almost transcendental state. With a touch of satisfaction, I display my photos in the corridors of the Rosanna where my guests can look at them and comment on them with me.


I have no regrets. Perhaps the only regret I have is that, because of my job, I was unable to build a closer relationship with my family. However, I feel lucky, I’m sure I’m a point of reference for all of them, a shoulder they can always rely on and lean on in times of difficulty. Ours is a family of entrepreneurs and inevitably the numerous commitments, the many hours of work and the frenzy of everyday life require a sacrifice even in human and emotional terms.

What’s in Mrs Anna’s wish drawer?

I have no desires, I have always lived without expecting anything more than what I had. Perhaps this is why I am able to face my daily challenges with serenity, always looking forward to the next goal.

Future projects?

There are plans to renovate and improve our hotel. I am trying to involve my staff in some new projects, listening to their ideas and working together. Our aim is to continue to offer our guests new emotions and a service that is attentive to their needs.

What advice would you give to young people, especially women, who want to pursue an entrepreneurial career like yours?

Let’s say that I have been lucky enough to live two lives. The first was a comfortable one, characterised by comforts and every kind of benefit that an economically well-off situation can offer. The second was made up of sacrifices, hard work and many worries. I wouldn’t trade the second life for the first for all the gold in the world! I want to tell young people not to stop at the economic aspect of their life project. Of course money is important for living: yesterday there was bartering, today there is money. I remind them that there are situations and experiences that enrich our spirit more than money, that shape us and make us appreciate who we are. Concentration, study and passion are indispensable for achieving one’s goals. But what they need to look for most is love. Love for what they do, love for their neighbour, love for those around them and those with whom they work. Love for small things and love for themselves. Only through this extraordinary feeling will they find the right fulfilment for a successful life.

Interview by Abiti Luciano and Anna Pecoraro; Layout Matteo Durante

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Read the presentation of Hotel Rosanna

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Hotel Rosanna Jesolo

Hotel Rosanna Jesolo

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Hotel Rosanna in Jesolo is located in the seventh access to the sea of Via Dante Alighieri, a street that the city of Jesolo wanted to dedicate to the Supreme Poet. Just a few steps from the beach, the seven-storey Rosanna overlooks the deep blue Adriatic Sea and offers its guests a breathtaking view of the beautiful and crowded beach of the Veneto coastline. Built in the 1950s, the hotel was purchased by Mr. Augusto Pecoraro in 1984.  In 1994 the management passed into the hands of his daughter Anna, who led the family business into the new millennium. In 2001 Il Rosanna underwent a drastic revolution. The old building was demolished and a completely new, state-of-the-art structure was built. Thirty years after its beginning, the history of the Hotel Rosanna still sees Mrs. Anna as the protagonist who, season after season, wisely welcomes her guests offering them the best conditions for an unforgettable stay in the city of Jesolo.

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Interview with Stivens Mazzuia, Maître – Sommelier – Room Manager

Interview with Stivens Mazzuia, Maître – Sommelier – Room Manager

Stivens Mazzuia class of 1969, esteemed Maitre, Sommelier, Room Manager, Vegetable Carver and professional in the food and wine sector. Bronze medal at the 2020 Italian Artistic Cookery Championships in Rimini. Nationally and internationally recognised expert in the field of Hotellerie and Sommelerie. Business consultant for the reorganisation of hotels, restaurants and public establishments. Teacher trainer at the Lepido Rocco Institute in Pramaggiore, specialising in bar and restaurant service. Member of the national association FISAR (Federazione Italiana Sommelier Albergatori e Ristoratori), which trains professional sommeliers and promotes wine products in the region. National Vice-President of the NOI (New Italian Hospitality) association, mainly made up of hospitality professionals (hall, bar, reception, etc.). The association was set up with the aim of bringing the world of young people into contact with the world of education in order to bring professionalism and experience and pass them on to the new generations. To date, the association has branches in Germany, Switzerland and Miami, as well as in Italy. Currently in the process of obtaining recognition as an Official Taster from the prestigious international association ONAV (Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Vino – National Organisation of Wine Tasters), Stivens Mazzuia holds the position of Board Member at the Venice office, dealing with the management of training courses and web promotion. The association’s activities focus mainly on promoting local wines and analysing the purely technical side of the product. A certificate, that of Official Taster, which allows enrolment in the national register of tasters with the possibility and ability to present the product, describe its organoleptic composition, its special characteristics and the sensations that delight the palate.

Stivens’ entry into the world of work began a long time ago: when he was just a boy, he spent his summers working seasonally at some hotels in Jesolo. Soon his passion grew and directed him towards studies that would lead him to acquire skills and competences to enter the real world of catering and reception service. At the end of his schooling and after his military service, Stivens left Italy and began his professional career abroad, working in England and Germany. A long apprenticeship that saw him working with high level restaurants, increasing his experience in the field and improving his language skills. Upon his return to Italy, Stivens focused his attention on the world of entrepreneurship and the management of successful restaurants. In 2010 he founded the company Easy Food Service, leader in Self Service and Catering. The activity counts more than three hundred seats and six hundred meals a day delivered at home, with a level turnover. In 2013 he sold his creation and began a new experience as a business consultant. From 2013 to 2018 he managed the catering department of the Villaggio Turistico Adriatico (Four Stars) in Jesolo. In 2015 he serves as a training professional at the “Lepido Rocco” Institute based in Caorle. He then joined the teaching staff with a permanent role at the Pramaggiore site in the province of Venice in the hotel and tourism branch. A career spanning more than thirty years, marked by passion, commitment and humility. Values that are fully reflected in the motto that has always distinguished Stivens’ actions: Low Profile, High Performance. A cultural and professional background that Stivens tries to pass on to its students on a daily basis and that today we at share with our readers.

Thank you for granting us this interview and for joining the project. As you know, we try to get to know our protagonists and share their personal and professional stories so that we can pass on advice and messages that are the result of experience, passion and sacrifice.

Who is Stivens Mazzuia?

I am a 52-year-old man married to Barbara – who is also working in the catering sector – and the father of two wonderful children: Jacopo, who is eighteen years old and is studying robotics at an institute in San Dona’ di Piave, and Emma, who is in her third year of secondary school and intends to continue her studies by enrolling in the scientific high school. I consider myself a quite lucky man and very happy from a family and professional point of view. My family means everything to me and gives me energy and strength in the most difficult situations that life has in store for me. I consider myself to be a very thoughtful person, although this aspect of mine – which is very important today – has developed over time. When I was young, my more sanguine and neurotic side prevailed, but experience and the passage of time have mitigated this side of my being, teaching me calmness, reflection and patience. Qualities that have served me well in my professional life and that I now try to pass on to my children, my students and my staff.

When and how did your passion for food and wine begin?

My passion was born and developed during my school days. I have never been inclined towards manual work that could lead me to technical studies. So I chose to enrol in a hotel school and focus my energies in this area. It was love at first sight. The attraction increased with each year of study. At that time there was no possibility of diversified choices and I immediately chose to work in room service. I felt I was suited to this role, as if I were born to do it. During my years of study I spent my summers working in hotels along the Jesolo coast. Year after year, and service after service, a passion grew within me that pushed me to constantly improve. After graduating, I continued with other specialisations, obtaining the qualification of Sommelier, which is essential for providing excellent service in the dining room. To this day, my passion for food and wine does not tend to wane and still involves me with the same enthusiasm as when it was born. I like to remember a very dear friend of mine, Umberto Scomparin, who is no longer with us, and with whom I shared moments of work and private life that are indelible in my heart. Umberto was able to transmit to me the true passion for wine, its importance and the fundamental role that this “drink of the Gods” plays in the world of catering.

What course of study did you go through to acquire this professionalism?

As I was saying, I graduated from the Elena Cornaro hotel management school in Jesolo with a specialisation in bar service. A course that I was passionate about right from the start. I then attended various professional training courses, always focused on improving my skills. I qualified as a Sommelier, and attended a Master’s course on Weddings planner: a preparatory course for catering services and the management of large events. I became passionate about fruit and vegetable carving techniques by attending specialist courses, perfecting my skills in this discipline, which in 2020 won me a bronze medal at the Italian championships in Rimini. Today I am engaged in an in-depth study to obtain the international qualification of Official Wine Taster at the association of which I am a member: the ONAV (National Organisation of Wine Tasters), which deals mainly with the technical and organoleptic aspects of wine. Unlike the work of the oenologist, the taster studies the evolution of the product, recounts its history, its origin and through a precise and meticulous description describes the sensations it conveys. He accompanies the consumer on a journey through the life of the product and its special characteristics. As you can see, my course of study has never stopped, and today, almost thirty years later, it continues unabated. I am convinced that, as in any profession that requires particular skills, it is necessary and indispensable to keep up to date with new techniques and new products that the market offers us.

Do you remember your first experiences in the world of work?

My first experiences date back to my school days. I spent my summers working in hotels on the Jesolo coast. At that time there weren’t as many technologies as there are today to help room workers. Everything was handwritten and managed directly by the operators. I remember one of my first experiences. I was working with a very dear friend Fabio Teso – now director of an important food catering distribution chain in Jesolo – in a hotel. There were only two of us and we managed to manage a room with more than a hundred covers. I learnt to organise myself, to take care of the client, whom I considered my true ally: his every satisfaction was the reward for my hard work. It was a great experience for young people who were just starting out as we were. The hours of work were endless, but the hard work and sweat pushed us to get better and better. We were hungry: hungry to learn, hungry to learn, hungry to earn our first salaries and almost happy to take on more and more challenges because of our young age. These are undoubtedly stages of life that contribute to professional and character growth and that remain engraved in our memories. After graduating from high school and doing my military service, I decided to leave and go abroad, where I found work in particularly prestigious restaurants, such as the “La Spiga” restaurant in London, then run by Chef Giorgio Locatelli. The English period and then the German period were very important for me. I was able to improve my knowledge of foreign languages and increase my personal experience. Today, a thorough knowledge of foreign languages is fundamental for our young people who are trying to enter the world of work. Our hotels in Veneto have close relations with customers from northern Europe, mainly from Austria and Germany. Therefore, a minimum knowledge of German is essential, as it allows a more professional presentation and a weapon for economic negotiations in favour of the service provider. These early experiences served as my professional and cultural background and allowed me to make a conscious entry into the restaurant and hospitality business, marking my subsequent working years.

What are the difficulties you face in this profession?

As in any other profession, ours also faces some difficult situations. In our profession, customer management is often a very difficult part of the job. The management of the room requires special attention and concentration at peak times must be at the highest level. In my work as a business consultant, I often have to deal with special situations. We are living in particularly difficult times, and often restaurant or hospitality business owners tend not to invest capital in employee training. I think that preparation and professionalism are the key to facing an increasingly uncertain and demanding future. As far as my personal experience is concerned, both as an entrepreneur and as a restaurant manager, the fears and difficulties are always the same. Fear of making mistakes, fear of not living up to expectations, difficulties in management and human relations, choice of products, continuous study of health and hygiene regulations, etc. But thanks to my pugnacious character, I have always tried to embrace the problems that gradually appeared before me. As an entrepreneur, I have always invested heavily in the training of my staff. It is only by being aware of one’s own capabilities and by being well prepared that one can tackle the problems that we experience daily in our profession. This is an important message that I also try to pass on to my children and students.

What has been the most significant experience of your career?

There have been many significant experiences in my professional life, both as an employee and as a freelancer. I owe to each of them all the skills that today enable me to face future challenges with confidence and determination. But what I love most is teaching and training. An adventure that began in 2015 and continues today with the same enthusiasm as then. I get up in the morning happy and content, thinking about the day I will have to face with my students. This experience of my life is giving me so much satisfaction, both from the students and, above all, from their families. I always hear a phrase said by the parents of our students that always fills my heart with joy: “my boy has come in as a boy and today he is coming out as a man“. You see, receiving a compliment like that from a parent is priceless and repays me for all the effort I put in.

What did it teach you?

It has taught me and continues to teach me a lot. The contact with the young people with their insights and ideas gives me a strong message every day: you never stop learning in life. I confront my students openly and leave them free to express themselves without fear of making mistakes. Many times I stop to reflect on their words, their thoughts and even their most extravagant ideas. I compare them with my own professional experiences and realise that combining past and present often results in something very interesting and unique.

How do you choose the products you offer to your clients when acting as a business consultant?

The choice of products is based on a number of very specific assessments. In my work as a business consultant, I often have to study and advise on the use of certain food and wine products. First of all, it is important to understand to whom we are addressing our offer. The target group we want to reach and the “send massage” that our environment wants to send. We can adapt our proposals based on precise and previously researched data, while always paying special attention to the quality of the product: both for the high end and the medium-high and medium-low end. Our national territory offers a vast quantity of food products. Italy, thanks to its geographical position and territorial microclimates, boasts a “food and wine biodiversity” that is unparalleled in the world. Our region, with its wine, dairy and confectionery products, etc., ranging from the Dolomites, through the hills to our plains, is a very clear example. I am currently studying the creation of a wine list made up entirely of Veneto products. There are some lesser-known companies that produce excellent quality products. Most of their sales are exported to foreign markets. It would be important to increase our internal Veneto market by supporting and proposing these excellent products which respond perfectly to the demands of an ever-expanding and increasingly demanding market.

Your work brings you to visit the best wineries in our region. What is the secret to making a good wine product?

Every winery secretly guards the organoleptic characteristics of its product. Fundamental to all of them is surely the care that is devoted to the life of the vineyard. One might think that the climax of the winemaker’s work is concentrated on the final part of the production cycle, i.e. the grape harvest, pressing, fermentation, etc. But one must consider the entire cycle of the vine. But one has to consider the whole cycle of the vine. This time span extends over the whole year and involves many people who follow the development of the plant step by step. They feed it, care for it, grow it and look after it in order to bring it into the desired shape and thus to the best yield. We must not forget, however, the work carried out by the master oenologists who, through their techniques and tricks, shape the wine, giving it body, structure, character and flavour. Finally, the process of ageing the wine, the place of storage and the material chosen all contribute to the final creation of this wonderful drink.

How do you recognise a good quality product?

Everything we want to know about a great wine can be found on its label: the identity card of every wine product. Name of the vine, origin, soil, production method, place of production, producer, etc. are essential elements that must be present on the label. Certainly a minimum of knowledge and research can help us to make a more complete assessment of what we are buying. Then, of course, the real judge of any wine is always our palate.

Maître, sommelier, business consultant, entrepreneur and now also teacher. You mentioned earlier your commitment as a trainer. Can you tell us about your new experience?

As I said before, what I have been doing since 2015 is the best experience of my life. I love training the young people in my school. A new world has opened up to me, a world that was unknown to me before, but which captured me immediately. I was captivated by its charm and the emotions it gives me on a daily basis. I consider training as a mission that involves me completely. I strongly believe in my work and the responsibilities it entails. I feel the weight of the trust that the children’s families place in us teachers and that the students themselves pass on to us. It is a burden that I take on with the utmost serenity and that encourages me to work harder and harder. The thought of being able to influence the future of their lives and the satisfaction of knowing that many of them succeed is priceless.

When talking about your work as a teacher, one cannot help but notice a certain emotion. What is your relationship with your students?

I have a wonderful relationship based on three simple concepts that, at the start of each year, I like to remember: respect, passion and humility. I owe my character growth to them. The training and the relationship with young people moulds us deeply. We must understand the ability to alternate firmness and relaxation to create an essential balance, in a relationship of trust and mutual respect.

Why did you join our project at

I find your project very interesting. Telling the product through the personal and professional stories of those who made the product seems to me to be a very innovative idea. This unusual way of recounting our excellence can convey messages and advice for the new generations. And it’s a bit like what we do in teaching. As happened to me years ago with the school: even today with I feel a pull towards this new challenge. A challenge that I accept with pleasure and for which I intend to make a special contribution.

Plans for the future?

Certainly training and teaching. In a short time, our “Lepido Rocco” institute will open a new branch in the town of Portogruaro. It will require the commitment of everyone: teaching staff and administration. I intend to concentrate, together with my colleagues, on this new challenge in order to be able to meet the demands of the new students in the best possible way. I would also like to devote some time to studying and creating in-presence courses on service and wine knowledge. After my participation in the television programme “I soliti ignoti“, as a carver of vegetable products, I decided to also make videos presenting wine products and other activities related to the world of food and wine, to contribute to the dissemination and knowledge of our territorial realities. Finally, I would like to complete my studies to obtain the ONAV international wine taster certificate, deepening my knowledge and skills in the purely technical and sensory aspects of wine.

What advice would you give to young people who want to pursue a professional career like yours?

I can only advise our young people to follow their instincts, their hearts and their passions. Ours is a very important and demanding job. It requires in-depth, continuous and constant study. A detailed knowledge of the product, together with an adequate presentation, is our business card, and that of the establishment we serve. Attending a hotel management school is not just about cooking or serving. Educational, historical, cultural and linguistic skills are just as indispensable for standing out in this profession. The service of the waiter (whom I prefer to call “dining room consultant”) is not limited to just bringing dishes. It is the direct contact with the customer, the communicative and logistical part of the whole reception process. Don’t put yourself down in the face of the fatigue and problems that you will certainly face in your career. Embrace them and respect your work. Make it your reason for living and you will realise that what you call work today, you will call life tomorrow.

Interview and writing of Abiti Luciano

Interview with Stivens Mazzuia, Maître – Sommelier – Room Manager Read More »

Interview with Walter Turniano

Interview with Walter Turniano of Italica – Treviso

Walter Turniano, founder and owner of Italica, a leading manufacturer of customised bicycles, cargo bikes and bike racks. His career began a long time ago. First as a representative of musical instruments (a profession born of Walter’s great passion for music). As well as selling his instruments, in 1990 he and his cousin David Contesotto founded the nationally renowned music group “Profumo Nero“. A love of music that after almost three decades continues to excite and involve Walter and David, even engaging them in a new project called “Natural_Mente“. After a long experience as a salesman at the official Mercedes-Benz dealership in Treviso (where he was also awarded as the best salesman in Italy in 1999), and a past in the world of cycling, Walter gathered his professional and personal baggage and launched into his entrepreneurial adventure. In 2008, in the midst of an economic crisis and defying all negative forecasts, he opened his first website ““. The claims are not high, but the desire to dedicate himself to this world, which has seen him as a protagonist since he was a child, is stronger than any doubt. Soon, almost unexpectedly, the first results arrived. In 2015, Walter acquired the pandabike brand – from an importer supplying the Chinese market – moving the entire production from China to the province of Treviso, using personally chosen collaborators. A path against the tide compared to other competitors, but which distinguishes Walter’s character and his determination to create a product with a low environmental impact and which respects the fundamental rules of production. He therefore places his trust in our local craftsmen, in their professionalism and in the experience that has always distinguished the Venetian workforce. In 2021, together with his partner Anna and cousin David, he opened the first Show Room “Cargo Bike House Treviso” in the Santa Bona district of Treviso, where Walter lives and grew up. Today, twelve years after the first publication on the web, the company Italica and the brand pandabike, boast a constantly increasing production, a turnover that exceeds one million euros and a package of customers scattered throughout Italy.

Walter Turniano, thank you for granting us this interview. At we try to get to know and share the experiences that have made and continue to make our region the cradle of great entrepreneurial and personal skills. We want to tell the stories and the protagonists behind every great success, so that they can be a stimulus and advice for present and future generations.

Who is Walter Turniano?

Tough question!!! Who is Walter Turniamo? Walter is a forty-nine years old man, happily living with Anna and father of two beautiful daughters, Camilla, eighteen years old, and René, the little one of four. My women, my loves, my life. I consider myself a fairly lucky and simple man. I try to live according to principles in which I believe a lot: respect for life, for the environment and for the people around me. I strive to pass on these convictions to my daughters and my colleagues.

When and where did this passion for bicycles start?

My passion for bikes goes back a long way. Even as a boy I preferred a healthy ride to kicking a ball around. I also competed at youth level, but after an injury due to an accident, I preferred to retire. It all happened suddenly and I was faced with a difficult, painful but inevitable choice. Leaving the world of racing, however, did not affect my passion for the sport. I continued at an amateur level, even competing in a few races, with some good results. Today, work takes up most of my time, but when I can, I still enjoy a good ride. After so many years I have managed to turn a passion into a business and this, as well as being a source of pride, fills my heart with joy.

This brings us to the next question. When did the idea of marketing customised bicycles first arise?

After twelve years at Mercedes-Benz, I worked for another competitor for a while. It wasn’t a positive period and at the tender age of thirty-seven, I found myself asking myself some questions. I asked myself what I was going to do with my life and following my instinct, my passion and my heart, I opened and launched on the web. One morning, unexpectedly, as I was getting ready to go to work, I checked my e-mails and realised that one had arrived with a request to buy about ten bicycles from a hotel in the Lake Garda area. At first I thought it was a joke orchestrated by some prankster friends. But then I realised that the request was real. From that moment on, I knew what my future career would be. I finally combined my youthful passion with the educational experience I had accumulated over the years, and I launched myself into a world that had been unknown to me until then: the world of entrepreneurship.

How did the ‘pandabike’ brand come about?

When I launched the website I obviously did not have the items for sale but referred to several carefully chosen suppliers beforehand. Among them was a supplier from Padua, a well-known lawyer who imported pandabike bicycles from China. One day he contacted me and told me that the increase in orders was distracting him from his main job and that he had to stop this activity. I then decided to buy the “pandabike” brand, which as a whole reflected the vision of image that I wanted to give to my entrepreneurial action. This was the start of a process of change that culminated in the creation of our pandabike, designed and manufactured entirely by our company. Aware of the great skills of our master craftsmen, I set out in search of the best collaborators and after a long and complex selection process I transferred all production entirely to the provinces of Treviso and Padua. In this way I realised a dream that has always accompanied me: to build a highly ecological product, useful for the protection of the environment and entirely made in Veneto.

You start your business in 2008 in the midst of an economic crisis. Your fears?

Fortunately, as I told you before, everything started almost by chance. At that time I was still working and enjoying relative security. So I cannot speak of fears but rather of uncertainties and courage. Taking the decision to leave my job to pursue my passion and dreams was a difficult choice, born of deep-rooted convictions. Adequate project preparation, combined with personal experience, are fundamental elements for the success of a project.

What do you mean by ‘adequate project preparation’?

I mean that every project must be carefully and expertly studied. Evaluate costs, sustainability and feasibility. I started out by studying a working method based on the “sale of sales” and which therefore did not entail major business risks. From the modest numbers of the first few years, with a lot of patience and perseverance, we have moved on to more important volumes; we have even managed to surpass the target of three thousand units sold in total between pandabikes and customised bikes. However, we have maintained our modus operandi of producing a product exclusively to order, modifying and adapting it to the demands and needs of the customer.

Was it hard to start?

started out knowing that I would have to proceed step by step without great pretension and focus all my energy on this project. My experience at Mercedes-Benz helped me a lot. During that time, I had the opportunity to meet with several entrepreneurs. Their advice and personal stories enriched my wealth of experience. An essential source of knowledge, which I still draw on today at crucial moments in my professional career.

Which customer categories are most interested in the pandabike product?

We work a lot with hotels, campsites and various accommodation facilities, which make our bikes available to their customers. We have also made bicycles for big names such as Duracell, Riso Scotti, Laura Biagiotti, Ugo Boss, Levis, to name but a few. The product is customised and used in events of various kinds. We also work very well with breweries, bookshops, shops, and agencies of various kinds that choose to brand the bike and then display it in exhibitions or shop windows. In addition, the interest of individuals and families in eco-sustainable mobility is growing. The market is constantly expanding: we receive requests from freelancers, elderly people, street vendors, etc.. Our customers can consult us, choose a model from those on display, or request special modifications, and then the construction of the product begins. Each pandabike is made exclusively to order and built around the needs of the individual buyer.

Is your target market national or international?

We currently receive orders from all over Italy; Puglia, Sardinia, Tuscany, Lombardy, Sicily, the Romagna Riviera and many other areas. Of course, our domestic market in Veneto is a very important part of our sales. We serve hotels and campsites in Caorle, Bibione and Jesolo. We are also present in the Garda area where we have several customers. We constantly participate in very important international trade fairs such as: SIA Fair in Rimini, EXPOHOTEL Fair in Riva del Garda, Upper Adriatic Fair in Caorle, PROMOHOTEL Porec in Croatia, etc. We recently exhibited at the “GO GREEN GO” Fair held right here in Treviso. An event dedicated to sustainable mobility, the central theme of all our production activities. As far as the foreign market is concerned, we are taking part in very important international trade fairs, even though it is not easy to break into some very selective markets such as those in northern Europe. We are focusing a lot on the Croatian market. This is still an untapped area, but one that we think could represent an excellent opportunity for growth in the coming years.

Partner, father and entrepreneur. How do you manage to combine private and professional life?

From this point of view I feel very lucky. My partner Anna works here with us and takes care of the company secretariat and marketing. Many of my choices are the result of a constant sharing with Anna, who I consider not only my life partner but also an irreplaceable partner in my professional life. In addition, my cousin David Contessotto, with whom I have a deep friendship that goes far beyond family ties, joined our team more than two years ago. David deals exclusively with the pandabike model and his work concentrates on the assembly, maintenance and delivery of the rented products scattered throughout Italy.

When you are managing such an important project, it is often not enough to close the shop door and relax after a hard day’s work. Can you separate your professional and private life?

It is not easy, especially in my case. We are not a big company where you can delegate functions and tasks. Ours is almost a family business. We use external collaborators for the manufacture of the frames of our bikes. But for assembly, order management and deliveries, everything is done by myself, David and Anna. When you close the door of the shop and park the van, other thoughts inevitably start to take you home. Invoices to pay, customers to contact, debts to collect are just some of the most common thoughts. Being your own entrepreneur also means this. We sell vehicles that are operational on the road and therefore subject to possible problems arising from the nature of the product itself. It is therefore essential to provide the customer with constant and punctual availability.

How much does family support influence your profession?

Family support is very important to me. As I said before, I am lucky enough to work with my partner, and in difficult moments or when making important decisions, her contribution is indispensable. I can’t deny that we face daily challenges that require determined and resolute choices. I like to share my concerns with Anna and listen to her advice. If I decide to take a step backwards, she pushes me to take two steps forwards. Anna is my driving force, my positive side, the extra gear I put in during dark and difficult moments. My eldest daughter Camilla also helps me with some of my activities. She often accompanies me to trade fairs and shares with me the hardships of hours of presentation and public relations.

You have made a very brave choice in these particularly difficult times. You have just opened your first showroom in your home district of Santa Bona in Treviso. Are you satisfied?

Yes! I feel very satisfied. We opened at an extremely sensitive time and defied all negative predictions. We can consider ourselves lucky and fully repaid for our gamble. We chose this location to be close to home and therefore not to have to use our own means of transport to get to work. The spirit that distinguishes us and characterises all our work is based on respect for the environment and the promotion of eco-sustainable mobility. We also won a tender promoted by the Municipality of Treviso for non-repayable funding for new business initiatives with an ecological character and low environmental impact. I think that each of us, through small personal choices, can contribute to safeguarding the environment, making it better and more liveable for everyone. I also try to convey this message to my daughters and to the many people I meet in my daily and professional life.

Can you tell us about a typical day?

Look, there are no typical days. My commitments are divided between meetings with customers, product deliveries, attending trade fairs, working in the office and many other activities that are easy to imagine. My days are very long and dynamic, sometimes even tiring and heavy. But I face my daily tasks with a positive spirit, because I love my work and the satisfaction it often gives me.

Italica manufactures all its products here in Veneto. How do you choose your suppliers and collaborators?

Our choices essentially depend on factors that we consider very important: care, professionalism and respect for the environment. We have decided to use local collaborators and suppliers, bringing production back to our territory. We believe in the skills of our master craftsmen, in their professionalism and in the work culture that has always distinguished the Veneto people. We therefore maintain constant control over production and supplies, and are able to intervene promptly at every customer request. We have decided to personally take care of the collection of the goods: this allows us not to use packaging and other synthetic protections. In addition, these choices allow significant savings in terms of logistical consumption and therefore a substantial reduction in environmental impact. All our business decisions are based on this principle, which always puts our environment and its protection at the centre.

Plans for the future?

We are working on a project which is very important to us and which we hope will be completed as soon as possible. It is the development of a Cargo Bike for the transport of disabled people, which is affordable for everyone. Today, with the help of wheelchairs, we can only accompany our loved ones for relatively short distances without the aid of motorised vehicles. We would like to try to change this situation and allow those with disabilities to enjoy the carefree moment that only a long bike ride can provide. We are studying the possibility of extending the front seats to allow the disabled person to be transported safely. It will be a long and delicate path, but we intend to pursue it by investing all our energies.

What is the secret of Walter Turniano’s success?

There is no magic wand or special secret for achieving success in your profession. In my opinion, the most important thing is to believe in what you want to achieve and to love it deeply. Being at the service of the client, interpreting their needs and trying to satisfy them as much as possible. I have never believed in expensive and targeted advertising investments. I prefer to invest time and money directly: in the field. When I worked at Mercedes-Benz I learned a maxim that I still keep in my mind: ‘The happy customer will never talk about you except to a few people. But the unhappy customer will immediately run and tell the whole country‘. Nothing could be truer. I love my job, I love the smile on a child’s face when they sit on one of our bikes and imagine themselves riding a motorbike. I love the excitement of our animal friends when they are transported and enjoy the breeze. I love being part of a project that is environmentally friendly and can make a small contribution to making this small world of ours more liveable. I think this is my strength and what drives me to continue with ever greater energy and confidence.

Cosa si nasconde nel cassetto dei desideri di Walter Turniano?

At the moment I feel particularly lucky, both professionally and personally. I would like to thank all my employees, our loyal customers, my family and all those who have believed in me and my project over the years. If I had to make a wish, I would like to fulfil my dream of expanding our retail network. The first Show Room is named after my home town: Cargo Bike House Treviso. I’d like to replicate this format in other Italian cities. I’d like to create a franchise by supplying everything you need to set up the Show Room but always keeping production in our area. As I was saying, we build our bikes around the customer’s needs. We sometimes receive visits from far away to discuss production details, or we have to travel a long way for the same reason. I would like to create meeting points where even the most distant customer can find assistance and support during pre-purchase and post-purchase choices. An ambitious project that would certainly bring advantages in terms of retail sales but also, and above all, in terms of environmental pollution as it would drastically reduce the journeys that we are inevitably forced to make today.

What advice would you give to young people who want to pursue an entrepreneurial and professional career like yours?

What I can recommend is to learn as much as you can. Draw on every source of learning without rushing to get there.  Listening, understanding, asking, participating are essential elements to fill our cultural and professional baggage. I have been fortunate enough to have had several experiences in the working world. From simple tasks to more demanding ones. This has helped me in times of difficulty by guiding me in the most important choices. Passion, heart, love and courage are the characteristics we need to look for within ourselves in order to face every challenge with a smile and with the utmost self-confidence.

Interview and writing of Abiti Luciano.

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Italica is a Treviso-based company that is a leader in the design, production and sale of customised bicycles, cargo bikes and bicycle racks: “One company… three solutions” is the company slogan. Founded in 2008 by Walter Turniano, the company enjoyed a successful period of strong growth. In 2015, the company acquired the “pandabike” brand and began a new challenge: the design and creation of Cargo Bikes. The ecological spirit of the founder guides the administrative, logistic and constructive choices of the company: reflecting itself on the product it offers its customers. Today Italica, in addition to the classic models of customised bicycles, successfully produces three flagship models of the pandabike product. The Panda Classic model, with a long seat; the Panda Cuore model, with a short seat and finally the Panda Smoking model, with a double or single rear seat. The company operates throughout Italy and boasts around forty internal and external collaborators, a Show Room where customers can be received, and a constantly growing turnover.

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Some pandabike models

cargo bike house1
panda 4 zampe
smoking 2 posti
smoking 2 bimbi copia
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