FROM THE SHOP INTO THE ABYSS

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Could silence be the common denominator between the passion for underwater photography and the habit of being in the shop at 6 am?

Giovanni Bacchi is the symbol of Mantuan delicatessen. Born into a family tradition, he is the fifth of eight children, and at just 13 years of age he started following in his father’s footsteps. Willing, tireless, curious, he listens to him when he recommends order, cleanliness, quality and – above all – respect for his clients: by supplying his products at the best possible price.

He was still a kid working in that Pradella shop, but in the post war years you became a man pretty quickly. He was steady but amicable by nature, and his preferred place has always been behind the counter, serving his clients: and they have been faithful in return, by guaranteeing their custom for generations. Giovanni has been through a lot. He has seen his parents crying the day the diggers demolished the old house and shop – but he never relented, he kept carrying on. In the  1960’s he started again, renting a shop in via Orefici: when he couldn’t afford machinery and products, suppliers helped him out with delayed payment invoices, support and advice. His adventure in excellency started and still carries on, almost a unique case fronting the supermarkets’ competition. Slowly and steadily, his ability has made the difference, and the public has rewarded Bacchi’s efforts. To his honesty, he added a rare ingredient: the capacity to listen. He admits it: he is at work from 6 in the morning to 9 in the evening, but he manages to pick up on people’s wishes and wants, the suggestions from his suppliers and even from his clients.

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From an emporium selling all manner of produce, he has progressed through to providing an ever more selected range of products. Today, his forte are cold meats, mostarda and cheeses. He has no rivals, in a shop which he now owns, and which he has bought with many sacrifices and his usual suppliers. Since he has been allowed to open on Sundays too, Giovanni is forever in the shop, come rain or shine. He has also sacrificed his passion for underwater photography, which gave him so much satisfaction. He used to practice it on Sundays, with younger folk, who used to mock him as he always finished second at competitions, until one day he swore: I will take first prize. And finally, he did. Today, pictures on the shop walls testimony his memories of those underwater adventures. An important passion, sacrificed at the altar of work, which is however balanced by his love for his three daughters and seven grandsons.

by Mara Pasetti

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