* Since the year of its foundation (1768), Guenzati has practised its business in the building owned by the family in Via dei Fustagnari at Fondaco 1677 in the homonymous district for almost two centuries. Following the construction of the contiguous Palazzo Venezia (1897-1901) by Assicurazioni Generali in Piazza Cordusio, Via dei Fustagnari completely disappeared from the city topography, and from that moment onwards the historic shop is placed in Via dei Mercanti, 1. At the beginning of the 19th century, the insurance company acquired the ownership of Casa Guenzati and in 1962 they decided to complete its demolition in order to implement between 1962 and 1967 an important project of renovation of the Palazzo Venezia, which involves the adaptation of the rooms of the historic building to the new tertiary destination of the company through a complete redistribution of the interior spaces. So in 1961 after almost two centuries this authentic gem of the Milanese micro-entreprise is forced to leave his historic location moving to the contiguous Palazzo Venezia a few meters away from his original place, where nowadays the Ragno family practises his own business.
Recently, following the events that were widely reported by printed paper, internet and television, involving the Guenzati company in the issue of eviction from its second historic location, due to the cancellation of the lease not renewable anymore by Assicurazioni Generali, owners of the Piazza Cordusio / Via Mercanti / Orefici building, citizens, tourists and FAI (Italian Environment Fund) have mobilized to raise public awareness and council institutions about the risk of eviction affecting the historic shop from the end of May 2018 to the completion of its 250 history. In 2016 the F.A.I., aware of the critical situation in the fate of the oldest store of Milan, approved his candidacy at the 8th Census of "The Places of the Heart". During his lifetime, 31,069 votes in 6 months were collected, and the exstraordinary result were announced in the press conference on Friday, February 24, 2017 at Banca Intesa-San Paolo's historical building in Via Monte di Pietà 8, in front of journalists and televisions. The result was quite a lot unexpected and unbelievable for all, and the affection and support of the common people even moving by allowing the historic shop to reach the 5th position in over 33,264 places voted in Italy, the 1st in Lombardy, the 1st in the city of Milan and, last but not least, the 1st place in the category of Italian historic shops.
** Carlo Pedraglio, uncle of Marietta Pedraglio, for whom Don Giovanni Bosco had accomplished the miracle of her complete healing in 1865, had been employed by the Guenzati since 1842, working for them for 28 years until October 13, 1870, when he is fired for "having a conflict of interest with Mrs. Rosa Casati Guenzati (as reported in the Commitment Book preciously kept in the company's historical archive). At the end of the same year he will also establish its own company specialized in clothing fabrics under the name of Carlo Pedraglio Company in Via Santa Margherita 1 in the ancient Contrada delle Galline, becoming a Guenzati's strong competitor.
*** In April 1945 the allies triumphantly entered in Milan, by now freed from the German troops, occupied Guenzati's shop, turning it into a sort of warehouse for troops in the centre of Milan. It's a short period, but in the store, which still boasts a nineteenth century furniture, the signs of that forced occupation are perfectly visible: two pairs of notches scored with bayonets on the front walnut counter, respectively at the distance of 46 and 92 centimeters, testifies to the presence of soldiers at the shop of Via dei Mercanti; in fact, the Americans, measuring in yards were not able to use the wooden yardsticks expressed in centimeters utilized to measure the fabrics at Guenzati's! On the same counter, two octagonal daggers are equally well visible, testifying to the presence in the past of two small holes through which precious gold coins used for payments by the most wealthy customers until the end of the 19th century were slipped into.
**** When you cross the doorstep of this "special" place you get the impression that here the time clock stopped many years ago, by recalling the images of a past lost now, when customers went to the shops to make their purchases by calash and carriage. The informal and familiar quiet atmosphere that still today welcomes the visitor, mixed with the "scent" of past times which is still breathed in the shop just a step away from the Duomo, makes the visit to Guenzati a unique experience, more and more rare to be found in the chaotic and indifferent commercial city of Milan. Inside, it is still possible to observe the original vintage furnishings dating from the first half of the 18th century, consisting of benches and desks made of precious national walnut in perfect Biedermeier style (1815-1848) showing simple and functional lines with the typical decorations rectangles, legacy and testimony of a time gone by, and with that amongst the Guenzati shop's shelves there is still an extraordinary momentum of vibrance.