The Former Monastery, Sant'Ambrogio in Florence is transformed into a Coffee Academy
July 21 - 2021
Coffee Geography Magazine
After 35 years of abandonment and an articulated restoration that lasted four years, the former monastery, Sant'Ambrogio, in the heart of Florence, comes back to life. Ditta Artigianale & Hario Cafe opened in the former monastery of Sant'Ambrogio, the first in Europe to host the Scuola del Caffè to be opened to the public as an international academy dedicated to spreading the culture of excellence of coffee, as well as a permanent training center for professionals and a meeting place for every coffee lover.
The recovery project of the medieval complex located in via Carducci was carried out in collaboration with the city of Florence and with the support of ASP Montedomini , owner of the property.
“Ditta Artigianale Carducci ” is the third place in the city - after de 'Neri in 2014 and dello Sprone in 2016 - of the group led by Francesco Sanapo and Patrick Hoffer , the first line of specialty coffee shops in Italy and microroastery dedicated to conscious consumption. Each place has a similar soul but its own personality, which goes beyond the concept of a chain.
Tuscanity and tradition of the spaces are combined with contemporary interiors with an international character: this is the focus of the restoration of the 300 square meters, including the refectory and cloister, by Studio Q-bic , founded by the architect Luca Baldini and the designer Marco Baldini.
In particular, the former refectory of the convent, which overlooks the cloister, is the seat of the Scuola del Caffè, while the premises overlooking Via Carducci are the heart of the cafeteria. Clean lines, neutral colors crossed by green that symbolically reconnects to the internal garden, wood, iron, brass exposed beams are the coordinates of the restructuring, while the walls "cleaned" by the most recent paintings find their original identity.
The school, which starts from the need to create a place for international dialogue in the sector, wants to be a point of reference for baristas, roasters, tasters and passionate “coffee lovers” ; will undertake to bring growth in terms of sustainability, innovation and knowledge, combining the knowledge of experts in the world of coffee with the development of the most avant-garde techniques : a unique, dynamic and innovative concept, capable of telling and making known the excellence of the world of coffee in a current way and at various levels of detail. The head will be Francesco Masciullo, Manager & Head Barista, and Simone Amenini , Director of the School. The premises will host roasting courses, a CQI - Coffee Quality Institute and SCA - Specialty Coffee Association certified laboratory, space for events and a barista shop where you can buy specialized equipment. Available to students internships with leading companies in the tradi and, in addition to scholarships for SCA certified courses.
“I put my soul in this place, four years of my life. But it was worth it: it's the most beautiful place in Europe, in my opinion.” said Patrick Hoffer, with some emotion. “We have struggled with the unexpected and also with the slowdowns due to Covid… we have endured many complex moments, such as when we discovered we had to redo all the floors, but we never gave up, and Carducci rewarded us. In this place there are many stories that meet, so many details have surfaced that can now be noticed, beautiful and evocative corners, such as the old decorative frieze in the center of a vault that we have restored in the former refectory, the niches, the old cellars of the Convent, where the monks kept food. Ditta Artigianale Carducci is a 14th century place in a 19th century district, a splendid mix of styles and eras. I am happy with this renovation which restores the flavor of a timeless, respectful of the history of this place ".
“As always working on Florence we like to emphasize history, time is the intrinsic value in these buildings. In Carducci we wanted to remove the layers of paint as well as the superstructures, emphasizing the patina of time.” Luca and Marco Baldini of the Q-bic architecture studio said. “The third Artisan Company is as always very different from the previous ones: against the replicated formats, here too we use a different language, because we firmly believe that every place must have its ' own soul, with which it is necessary to relate ". Ditta Artigianale offers a complete catering service, from breakfast, to lunch to dinner, to brunch. Open every day, from 7.30 to 0.00, the coffee service is central in Ditta Artigianale, thanks to the specialty coffee list, of particular taste value, chosen by small producers around the world, roasted at home. In the opening week, it will be possible to try an intense experience in the world of coffee, with the tasting of three types specially selected for the occasion from a single Colombian farm Inmaculada of the Holguin family, the "Sudan Rume Natural", "Laurina Natural", "Geisha ".
To begin with, the Scuola del Caffè has a clear purpose: to inform the public, enthusiasts and industry professionals on what is hidden behind a cup . From working in the plantations, to roasting to the counter, there is a world made up of research, innovation and attention to human and environmental sustainability that we want to tell and support. The school intends to train experts in the sector fully aware of the origin of the coffee, of the nuances of flavor, of the multiple extraction techniques. Another purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of professionalism in the world of hospitality also thanks to the collaboration with companies in the sector such as HARIO, hotel institutes, vocational schools such as the Youth Academy of Simonelli Group, together with which SCA certified training courses will be made available. The program includes masters and professionalizing courses for the various coffee figures, not only to become excellent baristas but also roasters, tasters, and a few months' masters on how to create specialty coffee start-ups, open a micro-roaster or a coffee shop, as well as open laboratories to the curious and passionate. The board consists of some of the leading experts in the sector and award-winning tasters such as Francesco Sanapo, Francesco Masciullo, Simone Amenini, Michele Anedotti and many others. The desire to cultivate new talents for a new barista "of the future" is also underlined by the connection with the Aurelio Saffi Hospitality Institute in Florence. The courses will start from September 2021, but from early opening of Carducci store, it will still be possible to book individual sessions.