The Art of Bread

Historical documents

More than 150 years after its founding, the firm Paolo Atti & Figli opened a new chapter in the history of Bologna. The company is indeed part of the history of this city and to realise it just look at the family album, dear photographs of good old days, which give a different significance and a deeper meaning to the present with their evocative power. Old images of Paolo Atti, the founder, who arrived in town from the country, holding the most valuable asset in his hands: his job. So he turned from baker into manager, from partner of Enrico Zambelli in one of the oldest shops in Via Caprarie, into owner of his first large bread "workshop", "Forno Piemontese" in via Drapperie 6. The building, which he built in the early twentieth century in via Caprarie in the area where S. Maria del Carrobbio’s church once stood, shows his emblem: ears of wheat gathered into a bundle with the initials P and A.

However, his entrepreneurial streak did not stop there. He also opened thirteen bakeries in Bologna, Florence, Montecatini, and even a large pasta factory in Casalecchio. In a few years he built a strong position and became one of the "families that count".
At his death in 1910, his daughter Margherita, who inherited her father's passion, joined her brother Armando in the management of the business. She then remained alone in a particularly difficult time for entrepreneurs, so she needed to downsize the business saving the bakeries in via Drapperie and via Caprarie.
Margherita Atti was soon joined by her daughter Paola Fabbri Silvi and the two brave women, sharing a great passion for their work, ran the company together in the difficult years of the Second World War and the years after the First World War.

With the general economic recovery the company’s business flourished and in 1956 Paolo’s daughter, Anna Maria Silvi, married Romano Bonaga, current president of the bakers’ guild. He started to work full-time in the company, bringing valuable experience in the commercial sector and marking a turning point for the business, although it remained driven by a passion for bread, symbol of deep human and Christian values​.
And the shop in via Caprarie is a good example. No longer just a pasta shop, no longer just a bakery, but even a delicatessen counter. Among the traditional pleasant smells of typical and fragrant Bolognese pasta dura bread, packed in a thousand ways - crocette, montasù, mustafà and garofani - there is crisp rosetta bread, golden brown ciabatta bread and Turin biova bread, many types of fresh, dried and stuffed pasta, tagliatelle of all sizes, and the famous tortellini.
In 1992, after obtaining a degree in economics, and after various unpaid work experiences with some of the most skilled and talented colleagues and the advice of Master Giorilli, Paolo moved the workshop from the basement to the first floor, which can be seen from the shop in via Caprarie, and renewed all equipment.
That is how the kingdom of bread opened out to culinary treasures, a sign of continuity of Bolognese "savoir vivre" over time, but the story does not end there. Anna Maria and Romano were joined by their children Rita, Chiara, Paolo and Francesco and the "Atti" dynasty continued.