What a great coincidence : Pistoia has been crowned Italy’s capital of culture in 2017 & just in this year , Bar Nazionale celebrates 50 years of activity!
Run by the same family with the same kindness , with the same smile from 5:30 in the morning ( very hard to smile at that time !) until 8 pm .
Signora Adriana opened it in 1966 with her husband : they weren’t from Pistoia , they came from Pontedera – a small village near Lucca – so they were consider as a ‘foreigners’ from Pistoia people at that time, but with her beauty ( she looked like an actress and she is still beautiful nowadays ) her savoir faire & passion for her bar cafè was able to carry on this activity with her first husband and later , when her husband left her alone with three young children, she found another lady as business partner to carry on Bar Nazionale.They were hard times for her ,people from Pistoia were suspicious a young beautiful lady alone with three children.. but after a while she found a new husband and he became her best partner ever , not just in life but in business too.
Her grown up children : Alberto , Alessandro and Alessandra decided to stay on her side and nowadays they smile as her mother did for 50 years : not just with theeth but also with ….eyes !
This cafè ,as Pistoia and its people, changed with time : first just a place where to have a coffee, in the 80’s it became a tobacco shop, and with the addition of a professional billiard table,a meeting point for a lot of people everyday and every evening.
I still remember the thick fog in that room when it was allowed to smoke , nowadays the same hall have been dedicated to another pourpose : a free library called biblioteca dell’amicizia (= friendship library).
The telephone box inside the bar has been an important reference point for Pistoia people before having telephone at home & mobile after…
Alessandra & her brothers decided to choose culture instead of slot machines ( they were 3 slot machines in this room before) and this has been a great news for Pistoia and its people : too many people left lots of money & their dignity on those machines, Adriana couldn’t bear this anymore .
Many national and local networks came to visit and interview the family who had this brilliant idea to dedicate a big room just for a meeting point where to have a sit breakfast in the morning with free newspapers & books , hosting events during the week to promote new books written by locals or by ‘foreigners’ , having lunch with homemade pizza and other dishes , a coffee break in the afternoon and an apertivo in the evening .Furthermore here you can pay your bills avoding long line at the post office…
Adriana is still there, as a Queen on the back of her desk , in this Pistoia’s neighborhood called “Porta Carratica” ( from the name of the old city door from where the carriages – carts – used to travel in the past from Florence ) everybody knows everyone here and it’s just as a small world where you can find the same butchery , bakery & vegetable shop since 50 years.
This year we celebrate not simply a bar – cafè anniversary but a meeting point for anyone living in Pistoia & most of all the success of lady , Adriana, who finally is a local now , considered as an important part of our community, who can represent a symbol for everybody and every generation : work hard , keep smiling – with eyes – and never give up!