The second life of the Widow
admin 29 September 2011

Genoese people, who since 1805 celebrate weddings and other anniversaries with comfits and pastries produced by the historical firm A. Ved. Romanengo, know it simply as La Vedova. And that’s what it still is in the new, extraordinary venue, called in fact Cambicafé-La Vedova (La Vedova means the Widow), hosting the shop on the ground floor and the coffee-house and bistro upstairs. Opened in June, quietly because of the summer, the café became immediately a meeting place for people living in the city but not only, seen that the website Tripadvisor ranks it second among the public places advised to travellers in Genoa. Cambicafé-La Vedova will be officially inaugurated on 20 September at 6 p.m. A triumphal reappearance for the Vedova Romanengo that, after the eviction from the historical shop in Via Orefici in 2009, seemed destined to become a lost piece of Genoa history.

The turning point was marked by the meeting with Marcello Cambi, who had been cultivating the idea of entering the restaurant industry for quite a long time.
At first, the plan after the purchase of the license was to retrieve the original windows, counters, chairs and tables in order to re-create the evocative atmosphere of the time in which the shop was patronized by important figures such as the Princess Sissy and the Count Cavour, regular consumers of the sweet specialties of La Vedova. The restrictions set by the Superintendence Office for Cultural Assets to the displacement of the furnishings, in the late Genoese baroque style, to a location different from Palazzo Salvago, represented an insurmountable obstacle to the reopening of the shop as it was in the past. Finally, after a few months of stalemate, the Widow found the perfect location to start its new life: number 1 red in Vico Falamonica, just a few steps from Piazza San Matteo, in the heart of Genoa. This small, less crowded street was characterized in the 1970s and 1980s by the presence of the Scotch Corner, an extremely well-know shop to people fond of British clothes, which occupied the back of the 14th-century Palazzo Branca Doria.


After having dismantled the shop and taken away the tartan which covered the walls and the vault, a fantastic cycle of new frescoes painted by the Genoese artist Bernardo Strozzi in 1618 came to light. The exuberant colours of the David’s Triumph on the ceiling and the elegant colonnade trompe-l’oeil decorating the walls, completely restored by the Superintendence Office, became the perfect setting for the Cambicafé-La Vedova.
On the ground floor, customers are welcomed by the specialties of pastry, jams, grappa, liquors and a selection of wines branded Vedova Romanengo. Upstairs, the coffee house opens at 8 a.m. with the classic cappuccino and brioche at the bar and continues all morning with breakfast à la carte served at the table. In the afternoon, it becomes a warm room to have a quiet chat and drink some tea. Finally, from 6 p.m., here are the aperitifs mixed by Vito, one of the best barmen in Genoa.
At lunch and dinner, until 11 p.m., the coffee house becomes a brasserie, with plats du jour cooked at the moment with fresh ingredients: veal with tuna sauce, stockfish, Parmigiana eggplants and, of course, fish, also to order.

In a word, if you are in Genoa you cannot miss it!


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