Cristian Marasco



La Grotta Azzurra

viale Giuseppe Verdi, 64 
23807 - Merate (Lecco)

«This is my home, my refuge, my school. Because this is where I grew up, at La Grotta Azzurra in Merate. As a kid, I worked as a waiter, made coffee, served beers. I would even climb on a pack of water bottles and stand on it, to reach the counter and make the balls of dough for the pizza. Everyone was expecting me to become a pizzaiolo», says Cristian Marasco. Born in 1978 near Lecco, he had Campanian origins and a destiny set in water and flour.

Cristian. Stubborn, obstinate, focused on raw materials. «I don’t think of myself as good. I simply try to do the best I can, every day. Without ever copying others, because I know I can make hundreds of things, always different. I’ve never liked being a number», he says. But he does handle large numbers in the three establishments all bearing the sunny name La Grotta Azzurra: in Merate, the historic location, serving over 300 people, opened in 1982 by his parents Crescenzio and Gigliola; in Bonate di Sopra, Bergamo; and in Garlate, overlooking the lake of Garlate.

Meanwhile he guards the fort in Merate, supported by his brother Mario (in the kitchen), his wife Patrizia and sister-in-law Simona (in the dining room). «But I take care of the dough, personally. Because until I have the will and passion to do this job, I’ll never delegate». His dough is direct, light and easy to digest. The result of a very long experience and of constant research as well as a “degree” from Molino Quaglia’s Università della Pizza in Vighizzolo d’Este. Indeed, Cristian enjoys studying. And enjoys a challenge too. Like that of prolonging leavening and maturation up to 96 hours. With the aid of water – neither too sweet nor too hard – from Merate and the sea salt from Trapani, a Slow Food Presidium. «Very little salt, because flavour in a pizza mustn’t come from the salt».

Has participated in

Identità Milano


Cristina Viggè

from Lombardy, she graduated in Literature and started working as a journalist. Then she changed direction, towards travels, food and wine. She now directs Fuori Magazine, the new editorial project of Petra-Molino Quaglia