This fascinating establishment full of colour and the aromas of the products on sale – paprika, cumin, turmeric, pink peppercorn, borax powder, stain remover white-out powder, wax, pumice stain removal stones and many many more – was opened by Mario Viganego in 1930, although it had actually been in existence already for some decades. The shop, called “Coloniali”, has always been owned by the Viganegos: Mario, then his son Corrado and daughter-in-law Marina, now today their daughter Silvia, the third generation of a family whose hallmark is the finest quality. Piazza Colombo is one of the prettiest squares in the city and was designed by Carlo Barabino as part of the urban redevelopment that took place in the first half of the 19th century. The shop retains the same partition walls, beams, trusses and bamboo screening as well as the original porcelain stoneware floor tiles. Upstairs in the space once used by the owners as a workshop or residence are the original doors and windows, a large cowl and an old-fashioned sink. The wooden furnishings – the door, counters and drawers for bulk products – are almost all original. This is a genuine Old-World Shop, a small trader from yesteryear when packaging was limited to a sheet of paper and plastic bags were unheard of.
The shop houses historical documents and antique items including beautifully decorated tin cans from the beginning of last century which are still used on a daily basis, an old pair of scales from 1930, a cash register from 1920 and two wooden signs with carved letters from the early 20th century.