Friday, August 7, 2009

The Cavallo Bianco

Those of us who grew up close to the history of our family in Giusvalla (especially we members of the Pesce family) are familiar with the “Cavallo Bianco.” The history of the “Cavallo Bianco” goes back to the early years of the 20th century, when it was known as the “Locanda Cavallo Bianco” (White Horse Inn). At that time, it also served as a stopping point for travelers to change their horses. Adjoining the inn and beyond the archway that leads to the “port ed Tzentòn,” there were stables where the horses were kept. The original proprietors of the inn were our dear Lalla Francìşcha and the infamous Borba Tzentòn.

At the “port ed Tzentòn” was a large oven, where Lalla Francìşcha prepared bread to sell to the weary travelers. These were busy years for our Lalla, running the restaurant, inn, keeping the stables up, baking the bread and managing her brood of six children. Borba Tzentòn was frequently away pursuing some new business venture, so Lalla was often left alone to bear the heavy load on her small shoulders.

Lalla Francìşcha’s son, Vittorio and his wife Gemma, eventually took over the running of the restaurant, which became known simply as the “Cavallo Bianco.” Vittorio and Gemma’s daughters, Francesca and Nanda grew up in the kitchen of the Cavallo Bianco, helping their parents with every little task from cleaning, to cooking, to baking the bread in the big oven in the “port ed Tzentòn.”

Today Nanda and her husband Angelo run the restaurant, and their son Massimo who is an architectural engineer in Genoa sometimes lends a hand. The stables and great oven are gone, but the rooms upstairs have been beautifully restored and are ready once again to receive guests and travelers.

I had the great pleasure of celebrating my birthday at the Cavallo Bianco this past year with 25 of my dear cousins in Giusvalla, many of whom are grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the restaurant’s original proprietress, Lalla Francìşcha. An vüj di ciü che, tante grazie a tucci … ashper purrej turné prasht!

In the picture: At the Cavallo Bianco in 1963 – Meme, Pina (my great-grandmother), Teresita, Francesco, Bastianèn, Gigèn

1 comment:

  1. Frank,

    One of the most memorable meals we have had in our lives, was at the kitchen table of the Cavallo, and hosted by Ms Nanda. Thanks for the history.