Almost one thousand years have passed since Florence was the scene of art and craftsmanship corporate developments. The economic boom set the foundations of what was the Renaissance and Humanism cultural periods of Italy that slowly expanded around the whole country.
After centuries passing by, Florence will again be the cradle of the Italian Renaissance, with the protagonist, high-quality coffee. The collaboration between Simonelli Group, espresso coffee machine producer, and Ditta Artigianale, Italian specialty roaster, the Coffee School is born. The project has the goal of increasing and providing know-how about specialty and high-quality coffee in Italy. It is an educational hub, and place where people can unite and interpolate themselves in the specialty coffee venture, expanding their knowledge and culture about Italian quality coffee, and become experts in this modernized industry.
“In Simonelli Group, we use technology to push ourselves over the peak of knowledge and look to the future, but this isn’t the only aspiration; – reminds Fabio Ceccarani, CEO of Simonelli Group SpA. “a successful company needs to think about the environment, the society, and the people. The cooperation with the Coffee School is perfectly in line with our company mission and with our daily commitment towards technological, environmental, and cultural sustainable growth. The famous scholars of the Italian Renaissance, for example, Leonardo, could combine science with individual ability. The story repeats itself today amidst the coffee society; a solid base of technical know-how and personal expertise are the key to expand coffee culture. This – continues Ceccarani – is the great strength and uniqueness of the team-up between Ditta Artigianale and Simonelli Group. The roasters’ profound knowledge and experience about coffee, combined with our scientific and technical expertise, creates the perfect mix for complete educational and enriching courses. Who attends the Coffee School will surely attain a solid foundation with a 360° understanding of coffee, extraction technology, and different aspects of research. For several years now, the Simonelli Group platform dedicates itself to different and specific educational programs. These programs can range from technological to scientific and have improved in many ways, various aspects of coffee, such as the preparation of coffee itself. Another valuable element that determines this project is the exclusive collaboration with the Coffee Science Foundation of SCA and our research hub. Every year our hub shares the results of the studies and makes available the actual laboratories. The pot holds the perfect ingredients for a fruitful collaboration. And the goal is quite high: make the Italian Renaissance of specialty coffee, history.”
The international and unique Coffee School provides training courses centered around coffee, technology, and research, recognizing the know-how, structures, laboratories, and experts provided by the founding companies. It is thanks to them, with their experience-driven platform and profound knowledge about the coffee world and innovative technologies, the School begins.
Florence is the ideal spot to disclose this ambitious project of the Italian Renaissance of specialty coffee in Italy. The participation of Simonelli Group in the Coffee School is also a recognition of the city itself. “It is a pleasure to return to this beautiful town and offer, after almost 100 years, a brand new project – declares Marco Feliziani, Vice President and Commercial Director of Simonelli Group. “In the 1930s, a unique Victoria Arduino (brand of Simonelli Group) coffee machine was installed in the old Fiorentina stadium: a mural machine with 24 dispensing groups, architecturally and technologically advanced for those times, was a superb and inspiring artwork. Today, sealing the union with Ditta Artigianale, we give tribute to Florence and contribute to the growth of Italian coffee culture.”
The Coffee School is an international project for Simonelli Group. “Innovation and research are fundamental values for our identity – continues Feliziani. “Such values guided the evolution of our espresso coffee machines and grinders for generations contributing to the growth of our coffee knowledge. 2020 is the year where Simonelli Group takes the next step towards this new project, which marks the third company asset along with innovation and sustainability: knowledge. This unique program has an international approach and combines different coffee-based projects with locations in Florence, London, Barcelona, New York, Shanghai, and Jakarta, where we inaugurated a series of Experience Labs. These “labs” are genuine experience workrooms where education meets ideas and where baristas, coffee operators, and coffee lovers can get to know the Simonelli entity and the two brands Nuova Simonelli and Victoria Arduino. The continuous innovations these labs withhold, aim to triumph over all the challenges that the coffee world will face in the future. The Nuova Simonelli “Experience Labs” are areas of expression about coffee overall. They are reference points for coffee chains and local shops, specialists, and coffee-lovers, and a place to understand the continuous changes in coffee trends. The Victoria Arduino “Experience Labs” are a full immersion into the high coffee culture, today represented by specialty shops and baristas.
ABOUT SCUOLA DEL CAFFÈ
The Scuola del Caffè is the first of its kind in Europe to be inside an actual cafeteria open to the public. Its headquarters is a very enchanting place: the ex-monastery of Sant’Ambrogio, a medieval architecture situated in Via Carducci 2, right in the heart of Florence. The ex-cafeteria of the convent that faces the monastery is the office of the Coffee School. In the area facing Via Carducci, there is positioned the coffee shop signed Ditta Artigianale. This project started with the need to become a reference point in the coffee society where international baristas, roasters, tasters, and coffee lovers can come together and share ideas and experience. It is a place where the core values that are sustainability, innovation, and knowledge, have a solid growth incorporating the know-how and expertise of coffee experts in a continuously evolving technological world. It is a unique, dynamic, and innovative concept, able to explain and reveal the world of coffee excellence in a highly organized manner with different level courses. From June 2020 the course calendar will be available, while the academics will start January 2021.
The story of the monastery: from a prostitute community to a book repair laboratory
The ex-monastery construction, called “complesso Della Pia Casa di Rifugio di Sant’Ambrogio,” has age-old origins because of its connections to the complex building of Sant’Ambrogio, built between the V of VI century b.c. At the end of the XVIII century, the monastery, which was poverty-stricken considering the Leopold reforms of those times, became a secular educational institution for young women. The boarding school then closed in regard to the French regulations of 1808, and the whole convent transformed into public utility houses. Nevertheless, in 1815 the property rights were given to the Dominican nuns “Della Pietà” of Via Giusti. The year after, the ecclesiastical administration gave up the institution to a worldly prostitute community “in the way of redemption.” In 1835 the Pia Casa was transformed into an ethical institute and continued taking care of the young women, prospering for a long time up until the first World War, where the buildings were of Military use. After some time, the structure was sold to the Kindergarten Society and then later demolished in the occasion of an urban renovation under the new inner-city plan drafted by Luigi Del Sarto but was soon damaged by the great flood of 1966. In 1976 the Opera Pia went under Municipal authority, and in 1979 the spaces were rented to the National Library. In 1991 a significant part of the ex-monastery building was bought by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage to create the Laboratory of book restoration. Finally, in 2010, the complex was passed over to the Human Services of Florence Montedomini. [Source: Francesca Carrara, Ludovica Sebregondi, Pia Casa Rifugio di Sant’Ambrogio]