The Historic Pistòr, the temple of bread, is closing. Owner: “Venice is not for living in anymore”


The nearby calle with the same name takes its name from the bread bakers who were in the place for centuries. The bakery will be replaced by a supermarket.

By Roberta De Rossi

9 March 2019

VENEZIA. No more “caserecci” or sandwiches with raisins, “rosette” or veneziane with powdered sugar: the Cortella bakery in campo Sant’ Agostin is closing.

“I can’t do this anymore”, relates Pierluigi Cortella, “the competition from supermarkets is too great. Nothing is sold here anymore:  I’m waiting for the closing on the property, my little retirement pension, and within a few days I’ll close and move to a small home in the mountains. One cannot live in Venice anymore: it’s too expensive. The bottom line has already been revealed by the new Chinese renters: they’ll open a Crai supermarket, like the one at campo San Tomà”.

The Cortella bakery is small piece of the 1950s that survived, who knows how, in a city that is undergoing a complete transformation. Pierluigi’s father, Giulio Cortella, who died a couple of years ago at over 90 years of age, opened his business here, after starting when he was child, carrying bread around the whole city, the big baskets on his head. At his side in the business, for over thirty years, was his son Pierluigi, who has recently been helped by his brother Franceso after his retirement: it’s a life of sacrifices, where the day and night change the rhythm of time.

Over the years business has declined, with competition from the supermarkets and the children of the local elementary school who no longer buy a fresh snack. Now it’s not just a bakery closing, it’s “the” bakery, because next to the store, in the part of the city between campo San Giacomo dell’Orio and Campo dei Frari, we find Calle del Pistor, or rather of the baker: the art of bread making has been practiced in this area of the city for five hundred years.

“In Veneziano, the word pistór, meaning baker or bakery, is widely used in Padova and in Trentino,” we read in the Treccani dictionary, “Pistór comes directly from the Latin pistor –ōris, baker, which originally meant “one who grinds the grains with pestle and mortar””.

The bakery will close within a few days. “My heart aches, but I have no other choice”, continues Pierluigi Cortella, “I also had to sell my home in Venice to take care of some debts related to the store. Now people prefer to eat packaged bread bought at the supermarket, which maybe arrives frozen from Romania, rather than eat quality bread”.

Certainly the little bakery has seen a downturn over the years, but for the residents of the area, it is still the closure of a bakery that they all have seen since they were children: whether they’re 80 or very young. Right next door is where Aldo Manuzio had his printing shop: when, some years ago, the bakery had work done for the placement of a septic system, the digging turned up ancient lead letters.

Source: La Nuova Venezia

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