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De Rosa: The Art of The Artisan
By Cyclingnews Staff in Loria, Italy
Certain firms in Italy still excel at maintaining the highest standard of production quality and artful expression while creating industrial products. De Rosa Ugo & Figli/Biciclette Speciali is an epitome of this dying art. Behind an unassuming shopfront on a backstreet of the Milano suburb of Cusano Milanino are the doors to De Rosa. Behind these doors, Ugo De Rosa has been building some of the finest bicycles in the world for half a century. As in many Italian family firms, the De Rosas work side by side, day in and day out to maintain their family's artisan tradition.
Ugo De Rosa and his wife Mariuccia had three sons; Danilo, Doriano and Cristiano, and all of them work at De Rosa. Papa Ugo makes sure that things run smoothly, and occasionally lends his master touch with the torch, while Danilo and Doriano are usually at work in the 'officina' (workshop) welding, gluing right alongside their manufacturing team.
Not so easy to find, De Rosa's showroom and production facility is hidden in an industrial zone, due north of the tangential that cuts between Milano's freeways.
Inside De Rosa, appasionati of Ugo and Figli's truly Speciali Biciclette will find not only bikes but also an array of cool De Rosa clothing, polo shirts and even shoes. However, the real attraction, like the open kitchen in Wolfgang Puck's Spago Restaurants, is the big glass window where you can look directly into the production facility. If you are lucky, De Rosa's direttore commerciale Cristiano De Rosa may even offer you a tour... that's what happened when Cyclingnews stopped by in search of stories for Italia Bici 2003.
Join Cyclingnews.com in our special Italia Bici 2003 feature for an in-depth, behind the scenes visit to De Rosa to see why this small, family firm is one of the icons of the bicycle world today.