The beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest

Antonello Carossa and Andrea Giacon, CEO and founders of Eroica Caffè Padova, tell us how their adventure started and give us some tasty anticipation of the new Café that will inaugurate in autumn.

When did you first hear about Eroica?

We heard about Eroica at different times and in different ways. I (Andrea) had heard about it as a traditional event, then partly through curiosity, partly from meeting participants, I discovered that it was not just a “vintage cycling race”, but a real life philosophy and a much more vibrant community than I expected. For several years, I (Antonello) worked in a design and communication agency that specialised in cycling: Eroica was always taken as the example to show that cycling is not just about performance and competition.

How did your “Eroica” adventure begin and what made you choose Padua for your Eroica Caffè?

The adventure came about by chance, just like in all the best screenplays: a chance encounter – dinner with Nicola Rosin and Andrea Meneghelli to find out if their idea to develop the Eroica Caffè was compatible with our plans and within a couple of months, we were sitting before a notary, starting a new company.

We chose Padua because of its political, economic and cultural history. Commercially speaking, it has always been a “test” city for development projects. Also, we already have a business in the centre of Padua, and we know the clients and their habits.

What excites you about the project?

This is an amazing time for cycling: the culture of sustainable mobility, the bicycle as an economic means of transport, the positive effects on our health, the relaunch of cycling as a sport “for everybody” are just some of the aspects that made us think that this was the right time. If we add the charm of Eroica, it is easy to imagine that a locale for cyclists, or a “cycling café” as it would be called abroad, would stand out in the panorama of so many similar cafes and bars. Cycling is also a very eclectic theme, that offers many aesthetic cues and opportunities to design a café and its offer.

According to Graciela of Eroica Caffè Barcelona, the real challenge for an Eroica Caffè is understanding how to communicate the values of Eroica, while preserving its authenticity and at the same time adapting each project to the local culture. What do you think?

We talked a lot about the fundamental values of Eroica and especially about those perceived by those who have experienced it. Our conclusion was simply that people feel good at Eroica events. So, as far as we are concerned, the challenge will be to create inclusive spaces where people feel good, where they feel like welcome guests rather than clients.

We believe a cafè or a bar is mostly made up of people, beside walls and furniture (but in the end, this is true for Eroica as well!). The cycling photographer Paolo Martelli has done a beautiful project on the smiles of the participants in the Eroica events, perhaps conveying better than anyone else the feeling we were talking about: if there will be one hundred Eroica Caffè in a hundred countries in the world and we will be able to find those same smiles, we will have hit the mark!

What makes Eroica Caffè different from any other café or bistrot?

The very fact that it’s an Eroica Caffè, a place where you can breathe the atmosphere of the events. It’s always a pleasure to go back to L’Eroica to relive the special atmosphere that takes us to a dimension that is out of time, almost like a dream. The L’Eroica magic will be in our capacity to envelope our guests in an aura of familiarity. L’Eroica Caffè aims to become an Eroica oasis in the city centre, a ‘feel good’ place where people can go to take a break from the daily grind.

How about a preview of the menu?

We can tell you that we’re working on a very interesting theme that will tell the story of Eroica in the world through various dishes. It will be a menu typical of a caffé/bistrot, rather than a restaurant and it will satisfy both those with a sweet tooth, and those who choose to call into Eroica Caffè either before or after a bike ride. Our main aim is to create fun dishes!