At the entrance of the Gallery there is the usual crowd of people and the comings and goings of tourists. It is raining. Under the surface there is, instead, a network of rooms connected by cuniculi. An invisible piece of Milan. It is accessed by going down two flights of stairs. Once, the guide says, they were warehouses. Now everything changed. Activities are buzzing: goods being moved, chefs in uniform, bartenders dressed in black. Time ready for the grand opening: the party with mayor Beppe Sala – the historic Camparino in Galleria, the bar symbol of the Milanese aperitif, after a long restyling – reopens to the public on Tuesday at 6.30pm. Although it would be simplistic to define it only as an aperitif bar. Today it is reborn as a cutting-edge restaurant, commented Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of the Campari group. Its hundred-year history. It was opened by Davide Campari in 1915, five years after the signing of the first Futurist painting poster.
Let's go up the ladder. Ground floor. You are welcome. The guide opens a door. Everything exactly as in the early twentieth century. The huge solid wood counter created by the cabinet-maker Eugenio Quarti, where Seltz and Campari were mixed with wisdom, the enormous floral mosaic by the painter Angelo d'Andrea and above the chandeliers by Alessandro Mazzucotelli, the iron wizard, exponent of Liberty Italian. The restoration has brought light back to the old room. It has not affected the atmosphere.
The story began in 1867. Gaspare Campari, the inventor of the red liqueur, had moved with the whole family to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. He opened a restaurant, the Caff Campari, with a view of the Duomo. Upstairs there was the house. In the same year Davide was born. When Gaspare left the baton to his sons, Milan was changing. Factory chimneys that raised and furnished the suburbs, cars and trams in the streets instead of horses. Davide understood the spirit of the times. He was a friend of Tommaso Marinetti and the Futurists. Cre il Camparino, symbol of a dynamic city that mixed politicians, artists and businessmen. Arrigo Boito and Marinetti met there.
To Fortunato Depero, Davide commissioned the design of the conical bottle in the shape of an inverted chalice, to contain the first single-serve aperitif. Mor in 1937. After the war the place passed into the hands of the Miano family. A year ago he returned to the management of the Campari group. Which now also opens the door to chef Oldani's kitchen. In the basement, the cleaners are at the details. Only a few hours are left until a symbol of Milan is reopened.
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