The story of a family

44 years of stories and people. 44 years of us.


Sacrifices, passions, goals. Our life yesterday and today.

In 1980 our family began its adventure within the walls of this restaurant. We created dishes, welcomed tourists, listened to toasts, raised smiles and wonder.
This is what made us really happy: being able to share every emotion with you, with passion and competence.

When we began to think about how to celebrate the 40 years of this management at the Castello di Diegaro, the brothers Enrico and Lorenzo had no doubts: it begins with an interview with Bruno, origin and roots of all this.

He was expecting me by 1 p.m. in the hall of his restaurant, and as soon as I walked in, I felt like I had it all figured out. He was loading the hall wood stove and still had his apron on because he had just finished fixing something in the kitchen.

In his blue eyes I immediately find the bright, sharp flicker of Lorenzo, whom I have known for several years now, and the limpid vivacity of Enrico, whom I have only recently met. His gestures are those of someone who knows how to move, even though hard work and time have left some marks on the now somewhat unsteady gait. But that is the only uncertain thing about Bruno, who has all the air of being someone who has always known where to go, limping or not.

His rosy cheeks and large, strong hands give him a Romagnolo, peasant look, of someone who has lived with his feet on the ground, but his manners have a simple, authentic elegance, of someone who has chosen kindness and hospitality as a way of life, not just a calling card.

He does not need to start talking to realize that his life has much to tell.

Where does Bruno’s story as a restaurateur begin?

I started out self-educated. I used to run a club in Forli, and I was already making something to eat for my clients there. Then I took a club in Milano Marittima. At that point I was running two clubs, one in Forli and one in Milano Marittima. I closed at 10 in the morning in Forlì, when they came to give me the change, and I went to open in Milano Marittima. Then I closed in Milano Marittima and at 4 in the morning I went to Forlì. It took a lot of sacrifice. There were usually three of us running the two locations: me, a waiter and a pizza helper. We were obliged to stop at Case Murate to wash our faces when we went from one restaurant to another. At the beginning of the season there was less work, so I would go up alone and do the work of three people.

Then I took the Pizzeria del Corso in Forli and finally the Castello.

I have always put more passion into cooking than study. The Castello had the kitchen upstairs where the suites are now. We were going up and down, I had to listen to the footsteps of the waiters to figure out how to adjust with the timing for the dishes to come out. What a struggle…

What brought you here?

I felt cramped at Pizzeria del Corso. That restaurant was already at its best. The Castello, on the other hand, I lived as a challenge. Everyone told me that it was crazy, that I was going to get out of it badly, that it would be a considerable economic expenditure. I was advised against starting this adventure. But I have a hard head.

This restaurant had a bad name, although it was never true what was said, rumors had been spread only out of envy. At the beginning I got in partnership with other people because I still had the Pizzeria del Corso under management and I had entrusted the work to others. But I wasn’t happy with how they carried them on, I felt teased. So I came here one night and sent them all away. At that point I was on my own: I rolled up my sleeves and stayed here in the kitchen.

What was the Castello like when you arrived?

When I arrived there was not even a hot air system. It looked more like a hut than a restaurant. He has made a lot of changes and I believe he still will. I can see my children’s heads are always moving. Now they will take care of it.

Have you ever thought about getting back into partnership with someone?

Many proposals have been made to me over time. I have often had important people offer me tempting opportunities to change things. I remember a lawyer from Forli who offered to take over the business while maintaining my management: a bargain. Unfortunately, he imposed rules and formalities on me that would have distorted me, so I said no. I am Bruno, I don’t want to pretend to be different. I am happy that notaries, doctors, and lawyers are at home in this restaurant, but I am equally happy when I see the loving old lady come in and leave her 5 euro tip. To me, the customers are all the same: famous, billionaires or ordinary people to me it makes little difference, the hospitality is the same. If I have to tell someone to go to hell because they deserve it, I will do it, whoever it is… I’ve always worked with a napkin on my shoulders and I keep doing it.

Any strange things ever happen with customers?

I remember a singer who came with his wolf dog and demanded that his dog could do his business in the middle of the hall. I kindly invited him to … get the fuck out of my way. I treat everyone the same, so I have never had a problem with anyone. I could see that over the years the work increased, there was word of mouth, and I was happy.

What are your dreams for the future?

Let the two brothers get along. What will be will be, as long as my children love each other.

What is a restaurateur’s secret?

It takes passion. Here there are no vacations. We must adhere to traditions without forgetting to look to the future. We must not lose our roots while moving forward.

Are you satisfied Bruno?

Me a lot. Lorenzo still does not. He is going through the same disappointments as me, and I am sorry.

I hope he will be able to complete the projects he has in his drawer. Unfortunately not everything depends on him though, there are people around who are not intelligent and sometimes it is frustrating to have to deal with diplomacy with those who are not willing to understand. But Lorenzo is tenacious and still hasn’t given up. I wish him he’s right, that he is worth it. I wish them much happiness.

I never told him, “You made a mistake,” because I know he is like me, he has to make his own mistakes. I am glad that he recently has the support of his brother Enrico, together they will support each other and succeed in doing great things.

Who does Lorenzo look like?

The working character is my own. The intelligence and altruism are his mom’s. It is a good mix.

What will Enrico’s recent return bring?

Enrico studied at the hotel management school and is very knowledgeable. He has recently returned to the Castello and is enthusiastic and proactive. Enrico besides being creative has a good deal of pragmatism. He will bring a nice creative and technological boost. I really enjoy seeing the two brothers working together.

Do you have any regrets?

Nonworking. Personal only. I look at all that we have accomplished and I can’t help but think that the most important person, the mother of my children, is missing. She failed to see the result of the sacrifices she made. She was a family and work woman, she would have deserved to see this. I think the kids miss him a lot, too. We worked together in the kitchen, she and I. To have her here now would have been a perfect wonder.

She was good at seconds. I to the first few. We miss her so much. All of this was possible mainly because of her.

The tears of nostalgia in those proud, trusting eyes suggest to me that the questions are over. At this time, I don’t feel it is necessary to ask anything else. The magic of the Castello is all here.

(Interview by Vera Zaccarelli)