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The “bakery of the popes” closes, a piece of the history of Rome

The “bakery of the popes” closes, a piece of the history of Rome

Angelo Arrigoni remembers the emotion of that day when, as a child, he was sent on an errand: to take the bread to Pope John XXIII and handed it over to him in the pontifical palace, now equally moved, he tells EFE that he is forced to close the oven that his father opened 90 years ago and that everyone in the Borgo Pio neighborhood knows as the “papas bakery”since then they have brought their products to all the pontiffs.

This Tuesday, Angelo Arrigoni, 79, an institution in the Borgo Pio neighborhood, next to the Vatican, turned off the oven and today for the first time the pope, in this case Francis, will be left without his bread.

Saturday, “the bakery of the potatoes”the blind will definitely come down and a piece of Roman history will disappear and the Vatican neighborhood, which was once full of artisan businesses, will continue to slowly die, consumed by tourism.

Arrigoni has sought help from the city of Rome to be able to maintain a business that, “because hardly anyone lives in the neighborhood anymore and there are only hotels and bed and breakfasts, after the covid and the increase in energy, with a traditional oven that consumes a lot, it only has losses”but has not received a response and no one has wanted to keep the bakery, despite being historic.

Angelo Arrigoni’s father was a baker in Milan, but he had fallen in love with a girl who had moved to Rome and wanted to follow her to the capital, where a very religious aunt lent him the money to open his own bakery but on the condition that buy an oven and a house near San Pedro, where she would spend her last years.

In 1930, when the oven finally opened, the bread was offered to the Vatican and it was a success, despite the fact that inside the Vatican walls there was an oven that closed years later. Since then in Borgo Pio 126, in this small place with its simple sign “bakery” seems to have stopped in time.

Those were times when it is said that Pius XI (1922-1939) feared being poisoned and for this reason the delivery of the bread followed a very rigorous procedure: Arrigoni’s grandfather, who in the meantime had joined his son in Rome, brought the bread in a large chest that came from the Vatican and to which only he had the key and the other key was found only in the papal apartments to be opened in front of the pontiff.

Pius XI ate Viennese bread, a type of “rosetta”typical Roman bread with a round shape and without crumbs, but more refined, while Pius XII chose oil rolls, “rosettine” for John XXIII (1958-1963) and Paul VI (1963-1978).

When John Paul II (1978-2005) arrived, the Polish pope, the first foreign pope, was asked, like the previous ones, what kind of bread he preferred: “He let us know that he wanted the bread that his workers ate, but the workers ate both the ‘ciriola’ and the ‘rosetta’, so we decided to send him five ‘rosettas’ and five ‘ciriolas’ every day during the 27 years that his pontificate lasted. ”.

With Pope Benedetto XVI it was different because “was from the neighborhood”. “I didn’t even know he was a cardinal, I thought he was a simple monsignor who came every day for his dark, unleavened bread. When he became pope, I called the apartment anyway to find out what he wanted. The nun told me that unfortunately the Holy Father already had his own baker. But sister, I told her, what am I!”he explains, searching through the infinite stories of these years.

As for Pope Francis, Arrigoni explains that he was even willing to make him a type of Argentine bread. “But he let us know that everything was fine, to send him what was left, that he did not want bread specially made for him.”

“The decision is made”he says after a lifetime of work. And the Pope?: “Someone will find someone to bring him the bread. Bread can always be found”he comments with a tone of resignation.

Source: EFE

Source: Gestion

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