The Confetteria Baj in Piazza del Duomo

After its move from Via Broletto, the Confetteria Baj quickly became a distinctive feature of the most famous Milanese piazza, the Piazza del Duomo. Not only was it a meeting place among the city’s beau monde, but it came to be a destination for tourists and visitors as well.

Many an anecdote tells the story of Giuseppe Baj and his wife, Teresa Campiglio, who worked aside her husband and often delighted the customers with her piano play.

The “Freguiatt”
Milan was home to a group of people with a remarkable profession, called “freguiatt” (derived from freguia, “crumble” in Milanese dialect). They collected the leftovers from the baker and pastry shops and tried to resell them. Legend has it that Baj used to donate his crumbles to the poor, thus leaving the “freguiatt” empty-handed.

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founder of the Futurist movement was a regular customer of the Confetteria Baj.

A favourite “haunt” of Futurists
Artists, musicians and literates were regular customers of the Confetteria Baj, which was quoted and described in several of their works.

One of the regulars was Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the founder of the Futurist movement (see the Manifesto, created using kinetic typography), who every Christmas treated his friends to a Panettone Baj together with issues of his magazine “Poesia”, nowadays a rare collector’s item.

In his memoirs, Marinetti describes his desire to build a six-meter’s wide and two-meter’s high “giant delicious and highly digestible panettone, with the intention of dislodging the prehistoric pasta”.

He also yearned to eating panettone flying in a Caproni.

Printing on a promotional card. Cleary visible is the chimney of the power station.

The Confetteria Baj, together with a few other buildings, among which the Caffè Cova, boast a remarkable record: electric lighting. It is in fact in 1883, right in Via Santa Radegonda, that the first European power station became operative , second in the world, only preceded by the plant in Chicago.

The power station built in 1883 by engineer Colombo, designed by Edison. The Confetteria Baj, together with the Teatro alla Scala and Corso Vittorio Emanuele boast the record of having the first electric lighting in Europe.

Interesting to know is that on December 26th 1883, only a few yards from the Confetteria Baj, , the the inaugural concert of the opera season at La Scala, Amilcare Ponchielli’s “La Gioconda”, was performed to an open-mouthed crowd. La Scala was in fact the first European theatre to be lit by electricity, exactly by 2880 incandescent lamps.

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