Banchetti from sport to fashion

sportswear shop rome
Sports clothing store Rome

The best description I have found is an article that the newspaper Repubblica dedicated to us a few years ago: "The other face of Dolce Vita, less known but no less impressive, is represented by Banchetti Sport, the famous shop at Campo Marzio where there is not a Roman who has not bought a jogging shoe or a ski sweater in the last over fifty years, ever since it opened in the "golden year" 1961. "My brother had discovered a special stretch fabric for skiing in France. We hired a tailor and began to sell tailored trousers," says Vittorio Banchetti "It was a success: these were the "boom" years and although they cost a lot, or perhaps because of that, our clothes were shown off on the slopes from Sestriere to Cortina. We had customers who came from Milan and Turin to have trousers made by us. We also created a line of clothing that we now call casual chic. Then this phase ended and we became a "normal" sports shop, but we are always trying to have that extra touch of class."

(from the first economy) THE ADVENTURE had begun many years earlier, in 1918, when Galliano Banchetti, Vittorio's father, opened a small shop on Via dello Statuto. "He was selling salt, tobacco and gunpowder, all goods then burdened with public concessions," says Vittorio. "In 1926 he moved to Via Principe Eugenio, into a much larger store. So gradually he expanded the number of products he offered, beginning to sell weapons for hunting, fishing equipment, sports apparel, and the first skis as well as soccer balls and uniforms, and so on. Everything classy: I was a child and I remember the astonished gaze of people passing by when the windows were open. There was a wonderful ski sweater that cost 22 thousand liras: imagine that for my first Lambretta 150 Ld I paid 150 thousand liras in 1956". The shop became a point of aggregation for sports fans: "My brother Tonino thought of the Banchetti Arena for sport fishing, and he had a team that was champion of Italy for three consecutive years starting 1954 and European champion in '57." Meanwhile, another brother, Nando, opened the Terminillo "Banchetti track", sponsoring the local tourist board. "The collaboration no longer exists but the track still has the same name." Vittorio has been working in the shop since he was 14 years old. "I did not really want to study," he smiles.

When his father opened the new shop in Campo Marzio in 1961, he trusted him at barely 21 along with his brother Tonino with its management. "But almost immediately I was alone, and I began to think about further diversification."

Meanwhile, yet another brother, Roberto, was at the store on via Principe Eugenio: "But he had little luck because in the following years there was a series of works, the installation of curbs, sidewalks, lanes, which then made it problematic to come by car for those who came to buy a shotgun or a scuba tank at the store, and with another means of transport it is difficult. Finally he had to close."

Even the business of Campo Marzio underwent the ordeal of traffic over the years. "During the closings due to the pedestrianization of the centre, we had to revolutionize our business. No more exercise bikes, rowing machines, and I was especially sorry to give up skis and boots that were our strength. We had a lot of problems.

Now we are focused on ski and sporting clothes in general, trendy sports shoes such as LA Trainer or New Balance 990, as well as designer jackets." Vittorio still does not complain: "We have become regulars at sports fashion fairs like Pitti Uomo, Monaco, Salzburg, Paris. We also opened a small outlet at the front of the store to sell the collections of the previous year. "

Now his wife and his two daughters Elisabetta and Francesca are also working with him: "I was always telling them: start working early so you will realise how tiring it is and you will return to study. But no: they have become passionate!"


Sportswear shop in the centre of Rome

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