Non solo… Acqua e farina


By Barbara Frau


We are guests of Emanuele and Simona, a young and sparkling couple, who between one laugh and another and with great simplicity and humility tell us how, by chance, they chose to open the Donati Bakery in Partina. This bakery does not belong to the historical activities, those of which the children follow the paved path of ingenious parents who have foreseen the future and who, from scratch, have created flourishing commercial empires. The story of Emanuele and Simona is very different and perhaps fascinating and engaging. Almost by chance and united by stubbornness and determination, they managed from nothing to become one of the most important bakeries in the Casentino.



Emanuele goes back in time, to 2006, when he decides, convinced by the enthusiasm of his brother to abandon the job of truck driver, which perhaps was not really his vocation, and take over the premises of the bakery in Partina. After a massive renovation and purchasing the necessary machinery, the adventure begins in learning a new and challenging trade. Emanuele admits to having learned day after day, between books and specific courses in the sector. A difficult world to which he is passionate and from which he has obtained great results thanks to his perfectionist character and a motto that I read in his words: never settle!

After three years the first important difficulties arrive: when his brother for personal reasons, abandons the common project and Emanuele remains alone not yet ready to face hard hours, recipes to be perfected and a network of customers still to be built. In a story made of randomness and fortuitous situations, Marino comes across a baker with decades of experience who closes his business and becomes part of the solid collaborators of the Forno.

Marino, now retired, is remembered by Emanuele and Simona as a key link in their success. He arrived in the right place at the right time and made a solid contribution in terms of experience and professionalism to a then newborn Forno who needed an expert guide. Marino was really a turning point, with all the strength of his 40 years of experience he guided Emanuele teaching him the tricks of the trade and the proven recipes, the organization and optimization of the work to better plan the times of preparations. In short, he behaved much more than as a collaborator, rather as a father who helps a son to become autonomous and independent, applauding his successes and enjoying his achievements.

Simona is the analytical mind and, thanks to her studies as an accountant, balancing the numbers, completes the fundamental tasks for the good management of the company. She humbly defines herself as a ‘stopgap’ and with these words she makes us understand how her versatility allows her to cover every role, where for one reason or another, there is a need for timely intervention. Simona also marries this project and immediately enters into collaboration with Emanuele, at the same time also carrying on her role as mother of little Edoardo.

Together, over the years, between difficulties and success they grow and consolidate their brand having clear in their minds some principles and features that they want to maintain in their products: processing of quality raw materials and ‘km 0’ productions. They do not give in to market simplifications that offer ready-made preparations such as creams, doughs and much more. They prefer to work hard, sacrifice their free time but do not give up the genuineness of the preparations made with fresh products.

The store and the artisan workshop are located on the main avenue that runs along the village of Partina, and there, at all hours, walking on the sidewalk, you are enveloped by the scent of baked goods: freshly baked bread, croissants, dry and fresh pastries, pizza / focaccia and other specialties such as buckwheat cake or the sheperd’s ricotta donut.

Their focus is bread made with sourdough and stone-ground flours from the ‘Belvedere del Casentino’ company. In the bread display, in fact, we find in addition to Tuscan white bread, Verna wheat bread, ‘Granoantico’ bread with a mix of flour of ancient grains such as ‘Sieve’ and ‘Senatore Cappelli’ and einkorn spelt bread. All flours are strictly organic and the oven is registered with the ‘Verna Wheat Consortium’.

Excellent typical holiday products are also prepared, such as: Ricciarelli, Panforte and Panettone with sourdough that you can taste at Christmas, the ‘Panina’ and ‘Easter Doves’.

The Partina store is open seven days a week: a difficult decision taken precisely to give continuity of service to various activities that the bakery supplies. A sacrifice that falls on the whole family but reflects the devotion and the desire to be at the side of customers, small and big ones, with a quality product that is always fresh. In 2020 Emanuele and Simona, always looking for new challenges, opened a store in the historic centre of Bibbiena, the ‘Dispensa Donati’. A small shop where you can find the products of the Donati Bakery as well as the Casentino specialties at ‘Km 0’: fresh pasta (only by reservation) and dishes of their production, to be taken ready-made.

Emanuele and Simona, who alternate in work like the sun and the moon, have married a profession that they do not deny it has absorbed so much energy and free time. In many years that have passed by, they have believed in this project and still want to invest in their work. They are aware of the many sacrifices and, although they often feel overwhelmed by the intense work, they have been rewarded with great satisfaction. To date – despite a certain tiredness in their words, it is not yet time for them to pull the handbrake: they are ready, as when they started, to be on the track, always with fifth gear engaged.

“A special thanks, finally, goes to Catia Ceccherini who has supported us for fifteen long years, leaving us the legacy of her knowledge and her sweet ancient recipes”, they conclude.


Info: Forno Donati – Via Via Tosco Romagnola, 44, 52011 Partina (Ar) / Tel. 0575 561357 / /

– Dispensa Donati – Piazza Roma 3/4, Bibbiena – Centro Storico – (Ar) / Tel. 0575 453911