We all know how passionate Italians are about pasta and how particular they are about which pasta shape must go with which sauce (I’m sure they’d be horrified to learn that I often just conjure up something from nothing and use whatever pasta I have to hand), so when I learnt that Pietro Ligorio and his wife, Giovanna De Carlo, decided to open up a pasta store (Pastifico) in San Vito Dei Normanni, the locals were sceptical and said it would never work! ‘What?’ I thought to myself but Italians love pasta, why didn’t they think it wouldn’t be successful? But during our tour of the factory with my husband and friend, Cassandra, owner and founder of Travel Italian Style, from USA, (she was here in Puglia researching this beautiful region in readiness for her new Italian destination, Puglia, in 2016), Pietro told me, that in 1979 when they opened up their store, the local ‘Nonne‘ (Grandmothers) made fresh pasta daily for the whole family. So why on earth would they buy it freshly prepared?
But ‘piano, piano’ (slowly, slowly), word started to spread throughout the town, that Pietro’s pastificio ‘Al Mattarello‘ (which means rolling pin) only uses the finest semolina flour and everything they produced was handmade with care by Giovanna, in a small room under the stairs, in their home, which double up as a shop too! Quality ingredients, made with passion and shear determination meant that the Ligorio family business soon flourished.
The tradition of making delicious fresh pasta, stuffed with various fillings are still served daily in their ‘Al Mattarello‘ shop which Giovanna handles singlehandedly. While their two grown-up sons, Vito and Luciano assist Pietro in the new factory, which opened in 2011 to keep up with demand.
Nowadays, they produce over 200 types of pasta and roughly 90 tons daily! Word has spread further afield than just the small town of San Vito, and currently they ship to England, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium. Their ethos focuses on starting with top quality ingredients and following century old traditions of the art of pasta making. So next time you sit down for dinner to eat that humble bowl of pasta, take a moment to consider the love and passion that’s been put into making such a simple, yet delicious dish that is sometimes underrated by some nationalities.
More Pictures from our visit to Ligorio
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