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Project by:

Lauren Bordessa and Joel Piazza

The Daily Roman:

Aroma di Roma: Progress on The Heart of Rome: Capitol Pasticceria Instituo continues with the last remaining pieces of construction for the new and highly improved baking quarters.
Years ago, when Victor Emmanuel and his wife, Delizia, decided upon their future careers, never would they have imagined it would turn out quite as it has. The Emmanuel’s ran a small, homegrown bakery in the heart of Rome. They had a steady flow of business including their common deliveries, local walk-ins, and occasional travelers. It was enough to their keep their bakery stable, little did they know their lives would soon change. According to the Emmanual’s, they received an emergency order from the King of Italy. He was hosting an event and was in dire need of an assortment of pastries, breads and pastas for an event the next day. A representative woke the Emmanuals’ one evening requesting an enormous order. A size they had never fulfilled before. They agreed, completed the job and the King was so astounded with both their products and services, he proposed the Emmanuel’s an offer they couldn’t refuse. The King proposed they continue to bake for the people of Rome, but on a much larger scale. He wanted to assure the continuation of Rome’s tradition as being the best city for Italian food, and he believed that the Emmanuel’s could help carry on that tradition. This was how the largest bakery in all of Italy came to be.
The King of Italy had a new bakery built for the family. He wanted the location to resemble its importance to the city, and decided to locate it in the center of Rome following the Corso from the North Gate. Upon entering the city the bakery can be seen from the North Gate. It sits proudly shining in white marble on top of the Capitoline Hill. Its contrasting color and grand scale demands attention among its neighboring buildings. Like many of the Roman ruins predating the up-and-coming bakery, it only uses marble to cover its layers of construction. The bakery benefits from new innovations in construct, such as the more complex exterior elements being constructed off site and in a controlled environment. The exterior walls of the bakery are actually concrete, slowly formed and poured in the caliber that the crews were capable of. Concrete was mixed nearby for the lower portions of the stairs, but as the bakery grew larger, mixing stations took place on site to speed up the process. Most interestingly, the construction process of the bakery’s exterior shell was poured and complete before construction on the interior truly began. The interior was gradually excavated then constructed leaving minimal clues as to what the interior spaces may entail.
Now, nearly twenty-three years later, the construction of The Heart of Rome is well underway and ovens will be filling Rome’s air with an aroma that all in local proximity will appreciate. Prior interviews with the Emmanuel’s have vaguely suggested what will occur in the massive bakery, but much is still unannounced. The family will continue with their baking goods. An assortment of breads, pastas, biscotti and pastries will be on the daily baking agenda, but will now only be distributed to local markets, cafes and restaurants within the area; no longer serving to individual customers.
Suspicion has risen as to why the architecture appears to offer a fortressed and unwelcoming feeling. The exterior series of stairs supports a monumental feel and appearance for the bakery. It begins with four wide sets of stairs that introduce the first platform. It has been revealed that the platform may host occasional events, tastings and ceremonies for the general public of Rome. Once in production, two guards will stand protecting the two eternal flames of the bakery. Upon inauguration of the bakery, (scheduled for two weeks from Monday) the flames will be ignited representing the success of the bakery as well as the city of Rome. It has been said that the lit flames will symbolize the importance of the bakery and as long as they are ignited, the bakery is busy producing goods for the city of Rome.
From the first platform, a pair of stairs split away and ascend to the first sets of doors. While it has not been confirmed, it is believed that the entries here allow entrance to the different baking chambers, whether it be bread, pasta, biscotti, or pastry. On the inside of these massive doors is a corridor suggesting supply storage to the bakery, which can also be accessed from the inside. Also looking back towards the middle, the pair of stairs merge together where a memorial statue of Victor Emmanuel’s father, the original founder of the family’s bakery, is commemorated. Giovanni Emmanuel is shown on his horse, as according to Victor, he used to make small, local deliveries by means of horseback when the bakery first began.
Proceeding past the equestrian statue, another series of steps brings a visitor to another level where three exhaust tubes protrude from the white, marble floor. It’s been thought that the bakery is divided into four separate chamber, one for each good produced by the bakery. Knowing the production of pasta does not need an oven, the three exhaust tubes could be for the bread, biscotti and pastries to be baked.
Lastly, the final set of stairs, again splitting away from one another, transitions into another large space. The generously sized terrace will also host events, but will be reserved for more formal occasions. This terrace also has access to a colonnade spanning the width of the bakery. While the colonnade’s ends offer stunning views for the bakery’s guests, they will primarily serve as ventilation for freshly baked goods stored underneath, dispersing a savory aroma into the streets of Rome. This will assure hunger at lunch time!
Though the bakery is not open to the public, it will host events for the public. Within a year of opening the bakery will host the new annual bakery challenge. The challenge will take place in a series of events. The first event, taking place in the spring, will be a competition for local bakers of Rome to compete in the kitchen. After the judgment process, a select few bakers will have the opportunity to return for a final competition, taking place in the fall, offering a chance for a fortunate few to study for a year under the master bakers of The Heart of Rome.

Rome’s heart pumping, 1st annual bakery competition in progress.

With The Heart of Rome comfortably settled and in production, it has initiated the first of many competitions offering an unforgettable opportunity to associate and study within the institute. Roman Daily was fortunate enough to receive permission to attend the event and hear what some of the participants had to say about such an experience. Giacomo Benidict, a young, ambitious baker from Casalarazza, explains the experience as an overwhelming mixture of nervousness, anxiety and excitement. He says coming from a much smaller town, working in The Heart of Rome is more than he could imagine. Upon arrival, he was astonished by the sheer size the bakery. “It is very imtimidating”, Benidict explained while viewing the Northern Gate form the right tower as the smell of freshly baked goods emerged from the vents underneath his feet and filled the sky around him.
We attempted to gather an understanding of the bakery’s interior from Benidict, but details were scares as all participants swore that they will not expose what they may see behind doors outside their restrictions. Stated in the entry contract, competitors suspicious of leaking any bakery descriptions to the press will result in permanent expulsion of any future competition entries.
Benidict was able to give some description to the limit access participants are allowed to use. He describes walking through the large entry door at the mid-platform and experiencing a high degree of complexity. He describes an elaborate set of staircase heading in all directions and both up and down in elevation. While the participants can view the elaborate series of steps, their main baking kitchen was left after entering from the right doorway and felt it to be in the center of the bakery. He’s explains the guest bakery as a large rectangular room with a softly vaulted ceiling. The space is mainly lit by artificial lighting producing a mild yellow tone. Benidict also describes two large, glass block, light wells allowing a cooler blue, diffused light to enter. He takes note that it was essentially impossible to use the sunlight to orient himself in the room and understand the sun’s angle. He assumes this was a part of the architect’s plan.
During the annual event, an obvious increase of people are found walking around and relaxing near The Heart of Rome. Spectators collecting at the bottom of the bakery’s stairs and in Piazza Venezia shows how significant both the competition and the bakery are to the city. The weeklong event will concluded Sunday and the participants (as well as the city) will anxiously await the judge’s decisions.

Criminal caught in the act. Local baker attempts to rob The Heart of Rome of their prized possession, secret recipes.

The word is out. The first known attempt of an individual breaking into the Heart of Rome has been caught and is now in the hands of Roman authorities. Julius Mancini, a Roman native and 37 years of age, snuck his way inside the Heart of Rome late last night around 11:30pm. Mancini, disguised as a wheat delivery man, fooled multiple guards and roamed the bakery for nearly 45 minutes before being caught and restrained. Mancini works at a nearby bakery and admitted to his intentions of stealing the Emmanuel’s secret recipes, which are known to be stored somewhere deep inside the bakery. While Mancini was unsuccessful with his objective, he ranted wildly while authorities removed him from the premises with press waiting eagerly outside. The descriptions were of spaces no one have heard of before. Mancini, who said he had entered with a plan, quickly became disoriented with the convoluted design within. “Like a labyrinth, I say! Halls twisting and turning, stairs up and down, then up again, some leading to nowhere. As I snuck my way from one corridor and room to the next, I felt as if I was getting somewhere, but no sooner, I swear I was at the same place I started! There are secrets in that bakery and that labyrinth proves it!” According to Mancini, he says the series of staircases in the front of the bakery are merely a pinch of what awaits on the inside.
One thing is for sure, The Heart of Rome has successfully baked pastas, breads and pastries for years and they will continue to bake with just the right amount of mystery to keep everyone wanting more.