Bottega di Pasticceria
of pastry shops
Simone Bartolini has located his refined Botteghe di Pasticceria on narrow and little-known streets because, as he likes to say, “the quality of the product must bring the customer to us, not the other way around.”
Someone who has called his debut business “La panacea del Bartolini” (Bartolini’s cure-all) does not suddenly become a pastry chef. He knows very well that he is offering a menu with a strong influence on the most refined palates. An almost supernatural power. For this reason, Simone Bartolini strongly believes that their shops should be located on narrow and little-known streets, and he argues “the quality of the product must bring the customer to us, not the other way around.”
Supernatural or not, Simone Bartolini has come a long way since his panacea. Today the Lungarno Ferrucci in Florence hosts his Bottega di Pasticceria, a new business whose creation was “precipitated” by his experience as manager of the Caffetteria degli Uffizi. Sweet and savoury dishes, first courses and aperitifs. The Bottega’s formula is to welcome customers any time of the day – and its availability has recently doubled, with the opening of a new shop in Via Masaccio, also in the historic centre of Florence.
Where does this story begin? The Bartolini family saga begins with their experience as hoteliers. “It was 1969, and I was born a year later,” Simone Bartolini, now manager of the family business, recalls. “I was born right in the hotel.” In the ‘70s, the Bartolini family owned two hotels in Florence, one near the station and another in the centre.
“As a child I was almost always in my high chair in the hotel restaurant kitchen while my mom was working. I don’t know if it really means anything”, confides Simone, “but I can say that I literally took my first steps in the kitchen!”
In 1989, the family decided to open its first restaurant in Piazza di Fiesole, “Il Polpa”, and the following year a second restaurant in the hills of Fiesole, “La panacea del Bartolini”. “We were awarded a Michelin star for this restaurant in 1991. I was one of the youngest Italian restaurateurs to receive it. There were very few starred chefs in Tuscany at the time, and around sixty in Italy.” That star was not an end goal for Simone, but rather a stimulus. Since then, 10 years of passion, research and enthusiasm have passed.
A turning point in the history of the Bartolini brand was winning the tender for the management of the Caffetteria on the terrace of the Uffizi, the space that rises above the Lanzi loggias in the heart of the historical and cultural centre of Florence. An honour and a commitment to serve around 10,000 visitors a day. For this reason, Simone and his family decided to sell the starred restaurant in the Fiesole hills to devote themselves to activities concentrated in Florence’s historic district.
The meeting with Massimo Giaccherini of Aba took place on that very occasion. “Massimo was a pupil of my aunt, who was a teacher in Arezzo. We immediately developed a rapport of trust and friendship, with him, his brother and his father.”
“I visited the cellars of half of Europe. I love suggesting precious bottles and special and fine wines in my restaurants.”
The bond with Aba is very strong, and has historical roots. “It’s very nice to see Massimo working with his family, including his daughter Rebecca for over a year now; I think this what sets their company apart. Being able to discuss things in the family and make each decision together improves the final result.” On the functionality and aesthetics of the various rooms, Simone asked Massimo to use the same furnishings, the same wooden panels and the same windows, changing only the shapes. “We wanted timeless furnishing that didn’t reflect any particular historical moment.” “The most important thing about Aba, however, is having a complete vision of the spaces. For example, in the refrigeration area, Aba does not just put together existing pieces but creates new customised ones, adapting them to the available spaces. They are also very efficient in their assistance: they respond within 24 hours. Massimo always has a few technicians around the city!”
One of Simone’s great passions is wine. “I visited the cellars of half of Europe along with the late Giancarlo Notari, who was director general of the Antinori Winery. I love suggesting precious bottles and special and fine wines in my restaurants.”
› Caffetteria Logge de’ Lanzi Uffizi | Firenze
› Bottega di Pasticceria Lungarno | Firenze
› Bottega di Pasticceria Via Masaccio | Firenze
WORK IN PROGRESS
› Wine Bar Uffizi | Firenze
› Bottega di Pasticceria 3 | Firenze