A Sweet Life

May 3, 2013 / Local Interest
Orvieto, Umbria
IMG_1771In this era of modern Italian coffee bars with free Wi-Fi, blasting music videos and blindingly bright florescent lighting, Scarponi Pasticceria is a little piece of heaven.

Since 1975, Scarponi has been selling classic cakes, sweet rolls and chocolates shaped like espresso cups, screwdrivers and soccer cleats…and oh, coffee!  Their specialty is an espresso topped with a secret mixture of milk, coffee and sugar.  What’s not so unusual about this bakery shop, however, is it’s family-owned and operated: Wife Annunziata works the cash register (La Cassa), son Stefano tends bar while Attilio bakes confections in his warm, sweet-smelling kitchen.

IMG_1981Attilio Scarponi was born on September 20, 1940 in Orvieto, Italy. Like many of his generation he was expected to dutifully step into the family’s preferred profession (his parents wanted him to become a toll taker on the Autostrada).  But Attilio had other plans and chose the life he wanted: Creating delicious things from flour, butter, eggs, sugar and milk.   The job of a Pasticcere is not an easy one.  He rises at four in the morning and finishes his workday at six.  Logging in nearly fifty-three years rolling dough and melting chocolate, he could possibly be the longest-working pastry chef in Umbria.

For locals and visitors alike “Scarponi” is a nostalgic place; it hasn’t changed much in its thirty-eight years.  You’re always welcome to sit and read the newspaper, gather your thoughts, recoup your sanity or visit with neighbors.  It’s sad to say it, but it’s true: They just don’t make ‘em like Attilio or Scarponi Pasticceria anymore.

Scarponi Pasticceria; Pizza Del Popolo 7, Orvieto




Toni DeBella

by Toni DeBella

A Freelance writer and blogger at Orvieto or Bust, Toni recently packed everything she owns into two suitcases and headed to Orvieto, Italy.  She’s adjusted her tennis game to the clay courts and drinks way too many caffe lattes. 

22 Responses to “A Sweet Life”

  1. Evanne

    Great note, Toni. Thank you. We’re twenty minutes South in a medieval Italian village that is sweet in another way…you won’t find a cafe here or a pastry shop, but neighbors are welcoming and happy to invite you in to their homes for a caffe and a sweet and conversation. It’s indeed a sweet life after being born in the U S and living here for decades, more like a happy and nosy family. We would not live anywhere else.

  2. Toni DeBella

    I am with you all that way on that. Thank you Evanne. Let me know when you are in town and I will meet you for coffee at Scarponi. toni

  3. David Tordi

    Amazing article, Toni, as usual! Wonderfully done!

  4. Thanks, Toni, that’s a wonderful story. I wish I was there right now! We’ll be back in Italy in two weeks for a month’s stay and perhaps while we’re there we’ll drive to Orvieto and visit Scarponi.

  5. Mary Beth Dante

    Your article made me realize how much I miss Italy. I’d love to visit Scarponi someday.

    • Toni DeBella

      Mary Beth. It pulls at my heart strings when a places like Scarponi is lost. I know progress comes and things change, but I hope Attilio and Bar Scarponi will be around for a little while longer. toni

  6. Torre Newman

    Ahh! Orvieto!! Truly a wonderful place that I remember with much fondness from a visit about 10 years ago. Nice to know it isn’t changing with the times unless absolutely necessary.

    • Toni DeBella

      We live in a modern world, with modern conveniences but sometimes it’s nice to just “unplug”. At Scarponi you can definitely do that. toni

  7. OhMyGoodness….literally! Almost licked the computer screen…another sweet destination on my to-do-in-Italy!
    Grazie, Toni!

  8. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Edible art, things I very much enjoy….nice toni

  9. Ginny Siggia

    Delectables are found everywhere, and so reasonably priced! The train station cafe in Spoleto offered an astounding variety of pastries, costing in the range of a mere 80 cents. These confections were made from various combinations of custard, flaky pastry crust, whipped cream, fruit, meringue, chocolate. Thinking from the perspective of an American used to a gas station convenience store, I would have been OK with a slice of pizza, coffee, maybe soda or chips in a vending machine. WOW. Good food is a matter of national honor in Italy. And the chocolates … oh, stop me.

  10. Anne Robichaud

    Thanks, Toni! Love Scarponi…after Umbria Jazz Winter last year, had a dinner in our home…
    Had the chocolate coffee cups from Scarpone and just filled with fresh ricotta (added a touch of cinnamon)..and dessert was ready!

  11. Liz Nichols

    Oh my son was just there yesterday. HowIi wish Id stumbled upon this post earlier. He may have visited Scarponis Im yet to find out?? I knew as soon as I saw that he was going to Orvieto I had read all about it tho on someones travel blog..How I miss Italy. Short visit off a cruise We did Rome Venice Sorrento. Got the train ourselves from Naples and was sure we were going to crash going through the tunnels. He was ripping thru them. Only 2 Euro too.Want to walk the Cinque Terre vineyards at Piemont or heck too many to mention lol. Thanx for sharing Regards from down under Liz


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