Rocco Princi

Panetteria Princi

via Speronari, 6
T. +39.02.874797

«In the name of the bread». There’s no blasphemy in the headline chosen by Rocco Princi to summarize the true sacred fire that for over 20 years has induced him to «do it like in the old times». A sacrosanct crusade began in a small bakery in Villa San Giovanni, Reggio Calabria, a handful of kilometres away from his native Fiumara – two places too cramped to contain all his obstinate ambition.

So one day, when he was in Milan, learning how to make a ciabatta with a hole, he was enchanted by the rhythms of a city that could give a concrete home to his dreams. He didn’t think twice and in a short time, at the crack of dawn on December 26th 1986, he opened a workshop in Via Speronari, an intersection of the central Via Torino. An entrepreneurial and quite costly hazard that in time became, in fact, an epidemic, extending to many other important streets in Milan; a spreading fever for breads, pizzas and cakes of superior quality that today come out from a further 3 spots in town (Via Ponte Vetero, Piazza XXV Aprile and Largo La Foppa) and that in 2008 made its extremely desired effects felt in London as well.

Princi starts from a precise assumption: bread is the prince of foods – no wonder the wider universe of «companatico», the Italian word for what goes with bread, is a lexical emanation of the word «pane», bread – and thus it should be treated. Vade retro, then, to all the shortcuts, like brewer’s yeast that scourge the breads in smaller and bigger shops. The following day the latter are good only for a Labrador Retriever, or for making breadcrumbs for coating. A happy approval must be reserved to all the ingredients that are strictly natural and simple such as mother yeast, water, organic flour, unrefined salt and even fire, obtained by burning beech wood because, as Rocco explains, «you can’t make a gold chain using a plastic ring».

All these carefully selected raw materials then need to interact in total transparency under the eyes of the consumer: one of Princi’s revolutions, which is in fact a return to the origins, is that each of his bakery shops is conceived so that the workshop where the bread is kneaded and the area where the bread is sold and eaten is under the same roof. «Panetterie» (bakeries) that, moreover, all have a high aesthetic and architectonic value. This is because Rocco Princi, a son of Magna Graecia, fully knows that good and beauty cannot live apart.

Has participated in

Identità di Libertà, Identità Milano


Gabriele Zanatta

born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes. 
twitter @gabrielezanatt
instagram @gabrielezanatt