Dino Colla, a barber from Ferrara, opened his barber shop Antica Barbieria Colla in Via Manzoni, 19 in 1904. Hundred years of history of hair and bristly beards. In Milan were 320,000 dwellers when Dino Colla was running his business in a world that is not easy to imagine today, trams, horse-drawn carriages crossing the streets and the rst cars. Colla’s success was largely due to his “style”, the way he used to run the salon and the business. Serving customers wasn’t his main duty whereas he preferred coordinating and training his staff.
Thanks to his managerial approach he was able to deliver a 5-star service. Famous grooming techniques used at that time were: after shaving steaming hot towels, “sfumatura a candela” haircut, the rst shampoos made of Marseilles soap akes, bitter almond oil, egg, rum and salt. Colla pioneered a manicure service in his salon. Two beautiful girls were in charge of delivering that. Colla was not only a pioneer in customer service, he also fostered a mutual association of hairdressers and promoted a successful referendum that set Monday as a day off. After several years, the salon’s success was widely acclaimed and started to be attended as a lounge for meetings, almost like a British club.
It was indeed used by authorities for important events such as the inauguration of the Milanese International Exhibition. As the business and success were growing, Colla decided that the salon deserved more room, thus he moved in Via Verdi 2 (at the intersection with Via Manzoni) just right opposite Teatro alla Scala in 1919 (end of the World War I).
In the new location, Antica Barbieria Colla had its greatest glory. It became almost an institution as the salon served all the institutions. Antica Barbieria had the most selected and best-trained team able to deliver the most impeccable service in town. Colla’s success, in Via Verdi, lasted until August 1943, when a dreadful bombing razed Piazza della Scala and the entire neighbourhood to the ground. The shop remained closed for nine months but in April 1944, it reopened in Via Morone 3, the current location.
Among Colla’s employees, only one waited faithfully for the reopening of the salon, Guido Mantovanini hired by Colla in May 1922 when he was only seventeen. His loyalty was rewarded at Dino Colla’s death, in fact, he was appointed heir of the shop in February 1949. Guido Mantovanini then became the sole owner of salon. Franco Bompieri moved from the Continental Hotel to Antica Barbieria Colla in January 1960.
Thanks to his dedication and especially to his contribution in terms of clientele, the salon ourished again. Bompieri and Mantovanini worked together for thirteen years and in 1965 they signed a partnership agreement. In 1973 Mantovanini contracted a serious illness and two years later Franco Bompieri became the sole owner of a respectable barber shop in Milan.