One of cycling’s most iconic brands, Bianchi, has returned to the city where it was born, Milan, with the opening of Italy’s first branch of its Bianchi Café & Cycles chain – and there are plans to expand it internationally, with potential locations including London, road.cc understands.
The new store-cum-coffee shop is located in Via Felice Cavalotti in the heart of the city, just a few minutes’ walk from perhaps its best-known landmark, the Duomo, and opened on 30 September. It’s the sixth outlet to open – there’s one in Tokyo, plus four in Sweden, where the first branch opened in Stockholm in 2010.
The reason there are so many in the Scandinavian country is that the company’s owner, Salvatore Grimaldi, who bought Bianchi in 1997, has lived there for more than six decades since emigrating from his native Puglia in 1952.
With Bianchi bikes, clothing and accessories now distributed in more than 60 countries worldwide as the company, headquartered these days in Treviglio, around 20km from Milan, he is looking to expand the concept internationally.
“Looking at the traditional shops,” he explained, “I realised we needed a special place with a very defined personality, and able to permeate Bianchi’s high-end products and Italian style.
“That’s where we came up with the idea of combining together with bike what Italy is best known for all around the World: creativity, design, art, food, wine… That is why I am delighted to finally bring Bianchi Cafè & Cycles in the very heart of Milan.”
The Milan site sells the full range of Bianchi bikes, accessories and clothing, and also provides maintenance and bike-fitting services, while the café itself, with the menu developed by chef Davide Oldani, changes its offer throughout the day – its open early for breakfast, all the way through to dinner.
While the décor naturally features Bianchi’s signature celeste, the interior designers appear to have resisted the temptation to let it dominate and we like the result – we’ll certainly be looking to pay a visit next time we’re in Milan.
You can find an extensive gallery of pictures of Bianchi Café & Cycles Milan on its Facebook page – the historic bikes ridden to victory by the likes of Marco Pantani and Felice Gimondi that were there for the opening have presumably been cleared off the tables by now and made their way back to Treviglio.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.