A La Marzocco Original Brought Back to Life

A drawing of the original van from 1959. La Marzocco was started by the Bambi brothers, one of whom was Piero's father, in 1927.

I doubt I’ll see few things as touching as Piero Bambi’s face when he first saw the Alfa Romeo van customized from scrap to look exactly like the La Marzocco original espresso van when it was revealed to the company’s beloved Honorary President last night at the opening party for La Marzocco’s Out of the Box event here in Milan, Italy.

Piero upon first seeing the van.

Piero upon first seeing the van. At his right sits his nephew, Lorenzo.

Kept a secret from Piero for the last three years as the van was pieced together by the Association “Ali Storiche” of Varese, Italy, the custom van was created using only two photos of the original van, countless parts and finishes, and a whole lot of love. The new van is outfitted with a showcase of La Marzocco vintage machines—all from the same time period in which the original van was built.

The van revealed.

The van revealed.

To kick off La Marzocco’s Out of the Box event this week, LM Managing Director Guido Bernardinelli gave a speech in the gorgeous courtyard of Galvanotechnica Bugatti, where the event is being held in the heart of Milan’s design district. Guido heralded the company’s bright future before harkening to its famous past, and on a count of three, revealed the van, which had been kept hidden behind an enormous drape.

Guido gives a speech in front of the van, still hidden behind a curtain at this point.

Guido gives a speech in front of the van, still hidden behind a curtain at this point.

Seated between his niece and his great nephew, Piero was shocked and exhilarated when the van came into view. “It’s not possible,” he said, tears filling his eyes. “It’s just not possible.”

Watch this short video that traces the rebuild and customization of the van that began in 2010:

In 1959, the company commissioned Alfa Romeo to build a van with a customized body in order to move around the city and province of Florence, Italy, to showcase its equipment. At the time, Piero was a young man working as a technician for the family espresso machine company.

A drawing of the original van from 1959. La Marzocco was started by the Bambi brothers, one of whom was Piero's father, in 1927.

A drawing of the original van from 1959. La Marzocco was started by the Bambi brothers, one of whom was Piero’s father, in 1927.

At the conclusion of this Out of the Box event, the van will be moved to La Marzocco’s factory in Scarperia and, with the sponsorship of Scarperia’s Town Hall, will be unveiled locally on November 14 at the historical Plaza dei Vicari in Scarperia, to mark the 12th Industrial Culture Week organized by Museimpresa.

Piero at the wheel of the van, getting the lowdown on the customization project from a member of the Association "Ali Storiche", the group that spent the last three years bringing the van to life.

Piero at the wheel of the van, getting the lowdown on the customization project from a member of the Association “Ali Storiche”, the group that spent the last three years bringing the van to life.

For now though, it sits at the center of the courtyard where the exciting and dramatic Out of the Box event is taking place through Saturday, October 19.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.