“One day my son Tonino said to me: ‘I remember the period when I was five and you were forty-five, but what did you do before?’. At that moment I decided to write the story of my life, intended for my children ”.
Thus begins “Letter to my children” (Albatros Editore), out these days written by Biagio De Falco, class of ’43, father of the well-known Tonino del Birrivico, who one day decided to tell his story through the pages of a book that is a combination of courage, youthful recklessness, dreams to be realized and a desire not to stop in front of the challenges of life that today, at almost 80 years , has not yet gone out.
“My father never said much but then, as the years went on, he felt like doing it. Unfortunately, however, Parkinson’s disease does not allow him to write for a long time, so I gave him a tablet to be able to dictate the text directly but he didn’t seem to like the idea – says the son – then one day my mom told me ‘I think dad is not well, he spends the night talking to himself ‘. Instead he was writing his book ”.
And so begins the story of a boy born in Pomigliano d’Arco and literally escaped to Milan in search of fortune and a life that there, between the countryside and the Alfa Romeo factory, he seemed unable to have. “I started as a dishwasher, without even knowing what a ladle was and I managed for years a hotel, the Hotel Funicolare, and to have a restaurant – he says – I did everything following my only true passion: being in contact with people”.
And his life, really similar to a novel, is studded with sudden changes of direction and restarts moved by a single force, the love for his work. From Milan to Venice and then Naples, Cernobbio, where he managed the Hostaria, and Paris. And then again in Como opens the restaurant Er Più and La Griglia, a short escape to Japan for love and finally the marriage with the daughter of the owner of the Pomigliano cinema where, as a boy, he dreamed of selling drinks.
A life, his, which is not simply a beautiful story to tell to children but a very strong message: “If the principles are healthy, sooner or later the good comes out, even in difficult moments – he says – what I did I owe to my my parents, but also to the slaps that life gave me like when I was rejected by the Savini restaurant in Milan because I was too short and with a southern accent. And I also owe it to those who believed in me, like two industrialists from Como who, at the time of the Hostaria, endorsed a bank credit of 3 million for me. For me that was a turning point, I couldn’t disappoint them ”.
And today the Master of Commerce Biagio De Falco enjoys his children and grandchildren “working as an apprentice at the Birrivico”, he jokes and looks at this moment of crisis with the same unshakable optimism that has characterized his entire life: “Every obstacle can be circumvented – he concludes – I started after the war, when there was a desire to do and start again and now it’s the same: when all this ends there will be work for everyone. If there is ambition and desire to do, there is always an alternative ”.