We are mesmerized by Stucchi’s bicycle catalog from 1919 (you can read more about it on “Paramanubrio“). Founded by Giulio Prinetti and Augusto Stucchi in Milan in 1874, the workshop manufactured the popular “two-wheelers” as well as cars and sewing machines. The company’s official name was Prinetti & Stucchi until 1901, when Prinetti became Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the brand established itself on the market with the name of Stucchi alone.
In the short story “The Lottery” by Giovanni Guareschi, part of the Peppone and Don Camillo series set in the first years after the Second World War, the communist mayor and his eternal rival end up arguing over a Stucchi bicycle. Don Camillo needs a good prize for the parish’s charity event, and Peppone catches him off guard with an “indecent” proposal…
“‘I think […] that if you asked the Communist Group, they could offer, for example, a high-end Stucchi bicycle, brand new, with electric lights and Simplex shifter. Perhaps even with a seat cover, kickstand, and baggage holder.’”
“For a moment, Don Camillo stared at him in disbelief: ‘You must be joking’, he finally replied.”
“‘Perhaps I am, but the local Communist Party Chapter certainly is not. Should someone need a high-end, brand new, etc. Stucchi bicycle, all they have to do is send a short request to the chapter […] Obviously the bicycle would have to have a special place in the prize display, and have a forty-by-thirty-centimeter sign declaring in large print that it was ‘Donated by the Italian Communist Party’…’”.
“‘Never mind,’ said Don Camillo abruptly. ‘Keep your sign, and your bicycle. I do not run an advertisement agency!’”
“But Reverend, what if the high-end Stucchi bicycle had a brand new Mosquito engine too?’…”
Will Don Camillo surrender to Peppone’s offer? Will he check out a Stucchi catalog before deciding?