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Historical background

Historical background
Fratelli Freni Pasticceria Siciliana was founded in Milan in 1914 by Salvatore Freni, from Messina, who hardly escaped from the earthquake that ravaged the sicilian city on the dawn of December 28, 1908, forcing many of the survivors to leave the place forever.
The confectionery making, with sicilian specialities, is started by Salvatore in 1914, following the advice of his wife Elisa Corsi, from Novi Ligure, and the first shop is opened in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, nr.2.

Ai Giardini Pubblici di Corso Venezia - 1910
Quietanza affitto negozio Corso V.E. anno 1935

Those were the difficult years of WWI, 1914-1918: pastries and sweets from southern Italy were not much popular up in the north, yet the business starts and a second shop is opened during the thirties in Via Alciato, a road bombed out in WWII.  Enrolment in the Milan Chamber of Commerce is dated February 12, 1926, registry number 0110556, still in use.
Salvatore was helped by three of his sons: Iginio, Carlo e Luigia, who will succeed him at the end of the twenties.

A view from Piazza Fontana through Via Alciato, age 1920-1930.
On the foreground the former Milan Court of Justice
(today Headquarter of Vigili Urbani)

(kindly supplied by Telerie Ghidoli)
Libro mastro anno 1944
The shops run by the Freni brothers shared the same destiny of Milan, targeted by the Allies bombs during 1943 and 1944, suffering the destruction of the shop in Via Alciato and most of the one in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, fixed at Iginio's best with nailed boards to keep on selling the little confectionery he could produce: raw materials like flour, sugar or almonds were very short or lacking at all and prices at high as ever.

At the end of the world conflict the three Freni brothers decided to start the business again and opened a new shop in Via Marconi nr.2 and then opening a new one in Via Torino nr.1 in the year 1952. The shop in Corso Vittorio Emanuele is riopened in 1954, in the second building from Piazza Duomo and run until year 2000.

Biglietto promozionale apertura negozio Via Torino anno 1952
PubblicitĂ  comparativa anni '60

With the opening of the new shop in Via Torino and then the one in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the business expands with the introduction of a concept, a new one for the Freni Company: serving coffee in their confectionery shop. Pastries are still produced following the original recipes dating back to early '900 and in the new shops starts the serving of home made ice-creams and sicilian sorbets (granite), at those times a real innovation for the city market. Public going to the shops in Milan is more and more cosmopolitan and the typical confectionery produced are more often found on the tables of customers with an eye for both tradition and quality.

Leading the Firm, in the early seventies, is up to Gianfranco Freni, Iginio's son, then in the mid eighties his sons, Carlo and Mario, begin to help and nowadays still hand it as the fourth generation.

Il negozio di Corso V.E. negli anni '70
Panoramica vetrina negozio Via Torino
Panoramica vetrina negozio Corso V.E.
Panoramica vetrina negozio Via Beccaria
pirottino di carta degli anni '30
Nowadays Fratelli Freni Pasticceria Siciliana is proved to be, in order of time, the first Sicilian confectionery shop founded in northern Italy selling some of the typical southern confectionery, still existing and held by the original family.
Its hand made confectionery, particularly marzipan and Marzipan Fruit (Frutta Martorana), are well known in Milan, throghout Italy and, since decades, all over the world.
The shop windows and the typical hand made products have always been shot by many cameras of Italian and foreign tourists.
Almost every day Japanese tourists groups used to stop for a few minutes in front of our shops windows, with curiosity and admiration, for a brief explanation about the features of the colourful confectionery and, why not, for souvenirs.
pirottino di carta degli anni '30
Torta creata per il lancio della rivista Brava - anno 1973

During the years '70s and '80s the Company became famous for its skillness in producing and shaping marzipan; many were the incoming orders for producing objects that had to be used in many studios for photos, movies, tv programs, magazines, events and public performances.

Torta per il matrimonio di una famiglia milanese
the workers team in December 1985

(courtesy of "Die Zeit Magazine")
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