text by sarah scaparone
matteo baronetto is the chef of one of the most important restaurants in italy, namely del cambio in turin, where camillo benso count of cavour used to eat his meals. there is a plaque stating it in the sala risorgimento, and the statesman particularly loved the antique salon decorated with magnificent frescoes from 1875. but the current one michelin star restaurant has been narrating the history of italy for decades before. caffè del cambio opened under this name on the 5th october 1757, the same day when the construction of the building -now teatro carignano- began.
the name of the restaurant itself is also wrapped in tales and legends: the word “cambio”, meaning change/exchange in english, could have been chosen to remember the horse-changing station in the post house, where travelers made their stops from/to paris. but maybe it could also be because of the coin exchange, since the square was in fact a stock exchange for businessmen and salesmen and the coffee house hosted them as guests. surely, del cambio is not a place like any other. his guest book hosts
the signatures of princesses and princes, artists, tycoons, liberals and conservatives, masters of music and literature. aside from the man who started the italian’s unity, many other famous attendees have taken a seat at the restaurant’s tables: giacomo casanova, wolfgang amadeus mozart, carlo goldoni, honoré de balzac, friedrich
nietzsche. during the 20th century one of the habitués was the writer and director mario soldati. he rolled scenes of the “cambio” in one of his wonderful documentary “viaggio nella valle del po”, which aired on the state television rai in the 50’s. other guests include paolina borghese and the famous contessa di castiglione, and the divas of the last century such as eleonora duse, maria callas, audrey hepburn. also, there are the statesmen that alongside cavour “made italy a country” and the pioneers of italian industry, such as the automotive dynasty of the agnelli.