The cornetteria of Rome
The Tornatora is one of the most popular places in Rome. A brand known for the quality of its products, the kindness of its staff, and its craftsmanship. But, above all, for the goodness of its cornetto, the Roman croissant.
Giuseppe Tornatora sits comfortably in one of the wooden tables of his elegant restaurant, serenely describing the various phases of his entrepreneurial adventure that has experienced ups and downs but that, with passion and the pursuit of goodness at its heart, has managed to find the right path to well-deserved success. “My journey began when I was 13 years old, working in a small pastry shop where I learned the basics of the trade. Over the next 5 years, I changed various roles and had many experiences. Then I started working with my brothers and we decided to open our first pastry shop in Rome. Everything was very natural, the collaboration and our the deep bond benefited us.” It’s a partnership that has lasted about 30 years.
“I learned a fundamental lesson from two master pastry chefs who told me to do everything with simplicity and to follow the criterion of goodness. And even with my siblings we were not looking for dietary products, but for what was really good.”
Il Tornatora’s most celebrated product is, above all, its cornetto, rich and tasty, for which it is now known and appreciated throughout Rome and beyond. Immediately afterwards come the cakes and the small pastries. Savoury products, “which we have begun to produce more out of passion than out of true culinary technique,” are also in great demand, Giuseppe explains. After the brothers’ experience, their children took over and the new generation steered it into a new phase of growth. “Every business we opened was a success. We used the places of the past as a reference: less fashionable but more concrete in offering service. Quality, professionalism and passion are the basis of our work.”
About 10 years ago, however, there was a business misadventure. “We bit off more than we could chew, sold the premises, and lost a little bit of everything. At this dark time for our three families, during a trade fair, we made the acquaintance of Aba Arredamenti. Curious, I approached their stand and started talking to Roberto. After a while, I don’t know why, I felt like telling him my story, the difficult situation I was in, the desire to start over. He listened to me, we discussed it and we both decided to take a risk. Because we both believed in the project.” The construction of the first locale began, a new business season for Giuseppe Tornatora, in Via della Grande Muraglia in the EUR area. Only three years later, a second pastry shop was established in Via dei Prati Fiscali, north of Rome.
“Our aims were to create a classic and elegant style that was also synonymous with hospitality. I did some sketches of the shop’s design myself. I obviously draw like a pastry chef can draw, but then Roberto always manages to capture the essence of my ideas and create a project for me just as I had imagined it. I’ve always asked for attention even to the smallest details such as wood, lights and leather.”
The well-kept atmosphere offers the right space to enjoy an excellent breakfast, a rich buffet lunch, a coffee with friends or an aperitif. The pride of Caffè Tornatora is the pastry shop, admired for the quality, freshness and craftsmanship of its sweets. Which Aba’s counters have been able to showcase.
"I learned a fundamental lesson from two master pastry chefs who told me to do everything with simplicity and to follow the criterion of goodness. And even with my siblings we were not looking for dietary products, but for what was really good."
“It is essential that a company that accompanies you in this type of work have a long experience because Aba, in its half-century of activity, knows the needs of restaurateurs quite well. It’s not just important to open a place, it’s important to make it last. In my opinion, after about ten years the client gets tired and the furnishings need to be renewed. But ten years is not a short time and, if the company that made it did not do a good job, after a few months you can already see the wear and tear of the furniture. Aba also has great experience in maintenance.”
Customers who know the Il Tornatora brand now expect fast, clean, courteous and high-quality service. “The compliments we receive? A lady passing by the counter once said “if there is a heaven for cafes, the Tornatora should have a guaranteed place!” In the future I would like to open a third location to leave at least one for each child, knowing well that, to better manage this type of activity, union is always strength and, if there are not many eyes watching, you cannot work at your best. My wish for them is to find strength from their bond. Just as I found it with my brothers.”
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