Luigi Resentera is an Italian pizzaiolo in the third generation. He is one of my best friends and teachers in the Dolomites. From him and other creative people I know around here, I learn the art of natural life. I asked Luigi about his profession, life in the mountains and big cities, and, of course, how to make and taste the great pizza.
I’ve been working in pizzeria for 29 years now, and I’m in no hurry.
— We live in the Dolomites. It is lower mountains comparing to the Alps, just over 3000 m, but many people consider them, and not the Alps or other mountains, the most beautiful in the world. The Dolomites are unique and unparalleled. Everyone should see them at least once in their life!
Living in the mountains is a little harder than on the plain. Winters are longer. But I like it because life is not as chaotic as in the big city. For us mountain people, it’s certainly less confusing.
My father is from Lamon, like my grandfather, my great grandfathers, and all my ancestors are from Lamon, too. And my mother is from the neighboring village of Sovramonte.
In 1900 my great-grandfather built a sawmill by the mountain stream, which can be seen from the windows of our pizzeria. After that, he worked there for many years and supported his family at the expense of this sawmill. That’s why the pizzeria, which my grandfather already founded in 1965, is called “Baita alla Seiga“. It means “Cabin at the Sawmill”.
I started working in this very place when I was 15, I’ve been working for 24 years now, and I’m in no hurry.
It’s easy to learn how to make pizza. I learned it in one summer while working at a pizzeria as an assistant to my father.
You don’t have to be Italian to be a pizzaiolo. Anyone can come to Italy and learn a profession in special courses. They’re available in all cities, both north and south of the country. There are many foreigners working in Italian pizzerias.
It’s not my place to judge where do they make the best pizza. It’s believed that the best in Naples is in the homeland of Margarita. For me, the best pizza is the one I make at my pizzeria.
There is an opinion that in the north of Italy pizza is not as delicious as in the south. I don’t know where it came from. And I don’t agree with that.
We have over 30 kinds of pizza on our menu. Sometimes people find it difficult to choose.
The easiest to make is Margarita: tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil. In the colors of the Italian flag, if you noticed. The hardest to make is the pizza with the most ingredients. My favorites: spicy sausage and gorgonzola.
The best oven is definitely a stone oven, on firewood. You can cook in both gas and electric ovens, but the pizza doesn’t taste as good as it does in a wood oven.
Lamon is famous throughout the Veneto region for growing the best beans. The main holiday in the village, the Festa del fagiolo (“Feast of the beans”), is dedicated to the harvest. The holiday lasts three days, each year on the last weekend of September. On this occasion, we make pizza with beans.
I love picking mushrooms, too. I would even call myself a mushroom researcher or a mushroom scientist. My favorites are porcini (Penny Bun), finferli (chanterelles) and chiodini (Honey fungus). We make different dishes from mushrooms in the restaurant, including, of course, pizza, too.
Outside Italy, it’s hard to find good pizza. If only the Italians run the place.
As in any job, pizzaiolo has its challenges, too. My working day lasts at least 10–12 hours, 4–5 days a week in a low winter season, 5–6 in a hight summer season.
The business is going, but I’m feeling a crisis. But we try to survive. There’s not as much work as there used to be, and pizzeria is what we live from.
No, I wouldn’t want to live in Rome or Naples.
Author of the interview: Ivan Kuznetsov.
The original interview was taken in July 2015 and published in Sep. 2015 on the website of the largest Russian TV channel, travelers club and festival Moya Planeta («Моя Планета») — My Planet.
Cover photo: Luigi is making workshop at his pizzeria for participants of creative hiking in the Dolomites in Sep. 2019 Ivan Kuznetsov.