In the heart of the countryside stands a house that tells the story of
Forty years of human and professional experience, from countries all around the globe. It also tells the story of a return to Veneto in search of the personal roots that give meaning to life. And the happiness, passion and determination to start again.
What is a successful businessman – the founder of an internationally famous company – doing in the middle of the countryside, pouring out wine for guests in his newly established osteria? Simple! He’s finding his roots, and reviving the disappearing traditions of his native land. The Veneto region, with its fertile and generous earth, was already famous for its goodness in ancient times (the remains of a Roman bridge were found only a short distance away).
Casa dei Racconti
Our host is Gianni Pasin who, back in 1995, formed Master Italia S.p.A., one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of sports caps, famous for the Atlantis brand.
The locality is that of Ceggia, which lies between the Piave and Livenza rivers in the province of Venice. And the ‘osteria’, as Pasin likes to call it – though in reality it is much, much more – is called Casa dei Racconti. Casa dei Racconti is an elegant country house with osteria and restaurant, six guest rooms with bed and breakfast service, a large room for parties and meetings, a swimming pool with solarium, and a garden/park with woodlands. This little corner of paradise is surrounded by nature yet easily accessible from Venice and Treviso.
A life on the road
The story of Gianni Pasin as a man and businessman is intrinsically linked with the idea of travelling. In the early 1960s, Gianno Pasin began working in the accounts department of a company near Venice, but soon felt the need to see new places, meet new people and experience different customs, not just on holiday as often happens, but by living them in person. Because by exploring and living new experiences, the traveller also acquires a deeper understanding of himself.
In 1975, Pasin decided to go and work in Nigeria for an important Italian company. His experiences in Africa proved a turning point. When he returned to Italy, he did so by crossing the Sahara in the cars and trucks of drivers he met along the route. Travelling in this adventurous manner, Pasin got as far as Algiers. His memories of this tough but incredible journey convinced Pasin to return to Africa on various occasions.
Over the next two decades, after working for various promotional merchandise companies, Pasin had a great idea for a new business. Convinced of the potential market for promotional sports caps, he decided to set up a company specialising exclusively in this one product. So in 1995 Pasin became a businessman in his own right as founder of Master Italia S.p.A. a company that has since achieved growing international success.
While working for others, and even more so as his own boss, Pasin travelled widely and explored all four corners of the world. For Pasin, travel was not just a professional necessity but a passion too – a passion for the different customs, costumes and cultures that shape the many peoples and and lifestyles of this Earth.
Still travelling, but now through memories
At the end of a long career, Pasin decided to dedicate his efforts to Casa dei Racconti as a way of rediscovering his own roots and identity. And to revive the memories of rapidly disappearing Veneto traditions through a simple but genuine approach to life and people. Seated at one of the tables under the large portico that shelters the courtyard, Pasin explains how Casa dei Racconti is so much more than just a physical meeting place. «What I most want to do is recreate an atmosphere» he tells us. «And offer the sort of welcome that used to be extended to guests in the past.» As we chat, in the late afternoon of a summer’s day, the laughter of children drifts towards us from the swimming pool. At the piano, a short distance away, somebody is playing a short melody. «People come here not only to enjoy a meal but to to talk, relax, listen to music – or play it, walk in the park, and chill out in close contact with nature» Pasin explains. His aim is to reproduce some of the positive experiences he has enjoyed elsewhere «like the wonderfully warm welcome I’ve had so many times in Tuscany, Provence, and other places». So the house is a tribute to the old rural lifestyle of Veneto, and of other regions too. «The most important thing is people and the way they get on together. I would like to think that Casa dei Racconti has my mark on it, in the way things work and in the many ways you can enjoy your time here».
Ancient flavours rediscovered
The keyword is, without a doubt, simplicity. For guests wishing to dine, the menu is based squarely on traditional, local dishes, revisited with a dash of originality. Delicious baccalà-based dishes, for example, are regular favourites along with selected cured meats and cheeses from local producers and meatballs made from red and white meats and fish. Some of the greens are even grown in the house garden. The wine list features mainly Veneto and Friuli wines with the odd Tuscan variety, and is of the very best quality.
And Gianni Pasin is always busy thinking up ideas for food and activities as part of his quest to find new ways to entertain his guests.