Fabio Picchi’s C.bio Up for Auction
After five years in business, Fabio Picchi’s multidimensional Florentine market C.bio is set to be auctioned off during the month of March 2023, at a starting price of €833,000. C.bio, which neighbored the bustling Sant’Ambrogio market, was once a niche of fresh produce, gastronomic goods and artisanal cuisine — but now, a year after Picchi’s death, the market stands empty and quite literally fruitless. In addition to the main shop, the two associated smaller C.bio markets located inside Sant’Ambrogio — a butcher and bakery — will be auctioned as well.
This news comes just months after rumors that the company filed for bankruptcy, judicial liquidations dating back to November 2022. Partly to blame for its collapse are COVID shutdowns, but the real tragedy is the death of its founder, Picchi, who fell ill and died last year at the age of 67.
The crown jewel of Picchi’s food empire, ‘C.bio’ in English means ‘healthy,’ ‘organic’ or ‘life giving.’ The market was the renowned chef’s pride and joy, and also the culmination of his Florentine restaurant monopoly, which began in 1979 with the opening of the Cibrèo restaurant and Cibreino trattoria.
In English, “Cibrèo” translates roughly to “mixture of good things,” and there has never been such a fitting description, nor a Tuscan restaurant chain with as much cultivated creativity. Picchi devoted his life to expanding upon Cibrèo and creating new offshoots, including a Cibrèo caffe, “Cibleo” (an Italian-Asian fusion restaurant) and the famous Florentine dinner theatre, Teatro del Sale, which now remains under the care of his wife Maria Cassi. However, none were quite as meaningful to him as the little C.bio market — indeed, when he died it was the only one that had still remained under his management and in his care.
Florence may have to say goodbye to C.bio, but for now Picchi’s legacy lives on through his son, Giulio, and through the Cibrèo restaurants, which continue to thrive. (Vivian Stacy)