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jake in window

Silvano "Jake" Bucci, co-owner of Caffe d'Italia surveys the piazza from his gelato window.

The Family of Caffe d'Italia

Visuals and text by Marissa Murtaugh

Picture it.

Located in northeastern Italy, Cagli is populated with just enough people to be considered a city. Every day it bustles with locals who scurry off to work, as community businesses thrive. One place in Cagli, well-known to most, is Caffe D'Italia. This family business, the heart and soul of the Piazza Matteotti, is a place where people gather at all times of the day to get a fresh shot of espresso and a sweet brioche or savory panini. This cafe is run by one Italian family, the Buccis, whose tight bonds hold the business together.

The business is truly a family affair. It is owned and operated mainly by Paolo, Enzo, and Silvano Bucci, a father-and-sons team. Those who are seen there most often include Paolo Bucci; his wife, Iole Bucci; Enzo Bucci; Silvano Bucci (known to most as Jake); and Lara Catena and Marriella Luchetti, the sons' wives.

The Buccis are originally from Cagli, but during the late 1950s moved to Luxembourg to escape the economic hardships that plagued the country and city. Enzo and Jake were born in Luxembourg. Once Paolo's two sons had grown and the Italian economy was more promising, the family decided to move back home.

When they arrived in 1987, Jake (then 20) and Enzo (then 22) realized they needed to find work, not just for them, but for the family as well. While looking for work, they found the cafe, which had been in Cagli since before they had moved. The cafe dates back to the early 19th century, in fact the tables in part of the cafe are the originals. Paolo, Enzo, and Jake decided that the cafe was perfect for them. At the time, Paolo Cassetta owned it.

Though the Buccis had never owned a cafe before the move to Luxembourg, they decided to jump at the opportunity. Each member of the family could work, which made things a bit easier as they could then split up the hours and tasks. Since the cafe had been in operation for almost a century, the Buccis were able to capitalize on that business success.

Paolo and his two sons, Enzo (now 49) and Jake (now 47), are seen opening and closing the cafe daily, while their wives, Marriella and Lara, respectively, work during the morning and afternoon hours, each making the perfect cup of espresso or cappuccino for their loyal customers.

Each family member brings their own personality to the cafe, which is another reason so many are drawn to it. Paolo, is usually quiet, but always offers a friendly smile. Enzo, somewhat of a mystery to most, is very friendly but shy so he takes some time to get to know customers. Jake is perhaps known for his remarkable sense of humor and outgoing disposition. His effervescent personality offers each customer their orders complete with a few welcoming words each morning. The combined personalities of the Bucci family create the environment necessary for running a thriving business.

As the family has grown, the business has remained the simple cafe it was intended to be. According to Jake, however, the crowd has changed over time and instead of ordering a homemade gelato or espresso, customers are now ordering more bar drinks, instead of cafe beverages. Jake made it perfectly clear that he prefers younger customers who order a simple gelato. He wants the cafe to be a place where families can gather to unwind.

Jake says as he has gotten older, he wants more time at home with his wife and children, instead of working at the cafe until the wee hours of the morning. The 15-hour days have taken a toll on Jake and the entire Bucci family during the 27 years in which they have owned Caffe D'Italia. Jake said that this is not something that he wants for his children Luca and Andrea.

He would prefer that his children attend to the university and study something they enjoy. He wants them to have a career that is more relaxing than his, and to work shorter hours that would be more conducive to having a family life.

This cafe is one place in Cagli where the citizens have gathered daily for years and years. In the future it will continue to be an integral piece of the community as it continues to serve numerous satisfied customers.