«The first memory is from 1965. There are the words of a family, the voice of my mother Antonietta, who asks me, “But how is it up there?” says Beppe Acquaroli. The question is addressed to him, a 6-year-old boy. His father Tito had taken him with him to discover the then Bar of San Vigilio. In essence, he was already running one in Colognola, the Bar degli Amici. Still, as a second job, Tito rented jukeboxes, and that day he had to pick one up in a bar in Città Alta that would close closed soon. «My father took me with him, it was a summer weekday – Beppe remembers – and at my mother’s question I simply answered, “it’s always holiday there.” We moved to San Vigilio to never leave this place again.» For Beppe, it is still like that: «We maintain the passion of that beginning, the love for hospitality, that sense of celebrating our guests, in a place and in an atmosphere that has been curated to the smallest details.»
Every day or moment spent at Baretto for Beppe is special. «Actually – he smiles – for “Beppe del Baretto,” as everyone in Bergamo calls me and knows me under this name. That day in 1968, I was six years old, and I washed my first glass. Since then, the Bar in San Vigilio became Baretto, naturally, as the people of Bergamo called it.» A historic place, a meeting point of relationships and lives that have passed here. Pieces of history of this place, which has been renewed and in 1988 transformed into a restaurant: «I felt that it was time to develop a more articulated offer.» A Cuisine linked to our territory, «with contaminations that are part of my culture and my way of being: Bergamo, but also inspirations around Italy and the world, with a special passion for France.» The Parisian bistros as well as that ancient and bohemian vibes of places of the heart like the Harry’s Bar in Venice and the Café de Flore in Paris.
«The Baretto di San Vigilio is this: history and culture, the scent of France, the expression of a family and moments that have followed one another over time.» Beppe continues. A bistro, with an excellent wine cellar, recognized and awarded by guides, with over 500 labels: «Thanks to my curiosity and the fact that wine is my first great passion, I look not only for the famous labels but for good wine, even from small vigneron. Burgundy has an important role in my cellar, but I have a great attention for the wines from Bergamo that never lack.» Combined with the cuisine, the care, the respect for the materials, experimenting with new techniques, aimed at exalting the essential flavors. «Bergamo is told through the recipes of our land, from the rabbit alla bergamasca to the taleggio cheese fondue or polenta. But what is never missing are the casoncelli: a rediscovery for the Bergamaschi, a new flavor for the tourist.» Prepared according to Grandma Pina’s recipe: «They are handmade, with the butter from Orobie mountains, the formai de mut cheese and with the breadcrumbs in the dough. It is a recipe that represents me, that tells my story.» Together with the pastry dumpling and escarole with taleggio cheese fondue and black truffle: «The escarole grown in Borgo Canale, it is the same escarole I always ate as a child. It grows outside greenhouses thanks to the special microclimate of this area, which also allows you to eat outdoors all year round”.
The terrace and its incredible view – to enjoy in winter with blankets, in summer in the shade of lime trees. And the indoor, renovated in 1995 that maintains ancient elements with the modernity of a counter that welcomes and embraces the room. « It is a space that has no walls and the modern, white, full of food counter is the soul of the bar, a fresh and vital expression. It tells about all the work behind our menu, expresses our passion. All around, the walls with oak wood paneling, terracotta floors and antique ceilings.»
There is a romantic, exciting atmosphere, «that is born from the details, from the sense of care, in a microcosm of intertwining sensations: every object, every gesture is a story. A piece of us and our guests,» explains Beppe Acquaroli, who, together with his sons, collects new stories every day at the Baretto. «Among my favorite memories, there is the music of a little orchestra that, on July 11, 1991, played to welcome the first carriage of the Funicolare di San Vigilio. Funicolare reopened after 20 years of abandonment and after an important renovation, and that jazzy melody inaugurated not only that service, but also the rebirth of San Vigilio».