Inside Dogana

The Dogana of Pilàstar

“The Dogana of Pilàstar” (The Dogana of Pilastri): this is the historical name of the restaurant that my family has been in management since 1971 and that history remembers as a fish taverne since 1850. A border post since the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with the Papal States, which still divides the provinces of Mantova and Ferrara. A particular event and was unexpected, prompted me to distance myself from my country, but my memories in my suitcase I took the name DOGANA and from there back to my story: we are in January 2015 when I open the doors of the new DOGANA, in the historic centre of Ferrara, in a building where you can breathe, once again, the taste of history. The location is very cosy and charming, especially during the summer, when I get a chance to accommodate my clients in the gardens of Piazza della Repubblica where faces, majestic and elegant, the Estense Castle. If you want to know more about the history that surrounds this place, I invite you to continue reading, with an overview of the historical and literary Silvia Villani. I return to the kitchen.

Valter Lucchini

The old Pawnshop of Ferrara

The restaurant occupies historical rooms of the Old Pawnshop of Ferrara. The institution had been founded by James Ungarelli Less Observant in 1507, half a century after the appearance of the first Mountains made of instigation of Bernardino da Feltre, with the intention of being of relief to the poor of the city handing out cash in the face of little pawns and fixing the rate of loan at 5%, compared to those of existing banks, including Hebrew. Lending activities had started in a building owned by Bendedei in via Ripagrande, but after a few years the ride was so enlarged as to make it too cramped local primitives. In 1515 died one of the General factors of the Este, Theodosius Brugia leaving for testamentary bequest his palace on the way of the route (now via Garibaldi) in corner with Boccacanale of Santo Stefano al Monte di Pietà because it transferred its headquarters. The Palace in via the route was built in 1460 by Lodovico Box councilor of Borso and later arrived at the property of Brugia, always remaining in the orbit of the powerful Ducal courtiers. From primitive trim had undergone several consolidations of surrounding buildings coming to understand the entire block from via Boccacanale of Santo Stefano in via della Luna, with functional allocation of spaces for the public (to commit and ransomed). The pawnshop will remain here until 1761 when will be transferred to the new purpose built building in the area of the former Ducal Garden Pavilion in Largo Castello. The competitiveness of rates charged soon attracted the nobles that were often granted loans without adequate collateral by determining the long bad debt they United to embezzlement, negligence and shortage perpetrated by staff caused repeated failures of the Monte di Pietà with massive damage to the city and to the weaker segments of the population. After the failure of 1599 following devolution, the critical moment was the collapse of 1646 with closure of Mount and aftermath that is important to the economic fabric of the city for a quarter century, until the reopening of the Monte di Pietà in 1671. Direct managers of embezzlement and shortages were identified among internal staff, reaching a historic process which ended with death sentences, one of which runs right in front of the mountain. To consolidate the new pawnshop you resorted to temporary ad hoc funding through public taxes, including taxes on meat, fish and brandy. A moment of great magnificence was the Legation of Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo, of princely family, which assumed in his person the dual charging bishopric and study areas from 1717 to 1736 with interruptions. I leave her mark on the city’s architecture, especially with the impressive work in the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace but also in the premises of the Monte di Pietà that still show fragments of an inscription dated 1727 in transcription of Babi and topped by his crest. Also notable is the grout with the Pietà arising out of the Tomb, symbol of pawnshops and still visible in the ceiling of the large living room.

Silvia Villani