Italy Today

Dining in a silver factory, in Florence

A unique experience in an extraordinary environment

Dining in a silver factory, in Florence

Claudia Astarita

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In the picturesque Poggio Imperiale suburb of Florence , about one kilometre from the city's spectacular Boboli Gardens, it is possible to dine in a silver factory. It may sound strange, but the unusual experience is quite unique: the restaurant is named In Fabbrica and is usually the cafeteria for silverware workers from Pampaloni, a silverware factory that dates back to 1902. Furthermore, the staff usually adds a Goliardic touch to each meal, and often comedians or musicians are called on stage to perform for the customers. The food menu is a provocative one as well, presenting a blend of traditional Tuscan dishes and Asian flavors.

Nevertheless, putting together silver making and culinary arts is not the only reason that made Pampaloni a well-known name in Florence. As explained by the Australian magazine Italianicious, Pampaloni has been around for 114 years. From the outside it appears quite anonymous, but once you enter in the factory you are surrounded by history and tradition. Intriguing silver products are packed in a secure, fireproof storage space, ready to be sent out to all corners of the world (the Pampaloni family has successfully engaged in e-commerce). Masterpieces crafted in a classic style line up together with more modern and contemporary creations, to match any customers' taste. Therefore, you can find an old-style candelabrum next to an innovative set of cutlery.

As Gianfranco Pampaloni revealed to the press, when he was young, he stubbornly opposed any suggestion form his parents to get involved in the family business. Things quickly changed, and he now is behind some innovations that have kept Pampaloni thriving. "My goal is to create silver products for people who don't normally like silver", he says, "consequently, I try to create items that you would describe as 'something out of the ordinary'".

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