Restaldi International s.r.l.
restaldi yestardayThe history of Italian billiards is inseparably bound to the work of the Restaldi family. No other firm can, in fact, boast such experience, built during more than two centuries of commitment towards a single, beloved and increasingly improved object called billiards. A marriage, therefore, that time has not affected even today.
It all began in Rome in 1763. It was in that year, in fact, that Giovacchino Restaldi, already established as a skilled craftsmen with wood, after becoming acquainted and specialised through a long stay in Paris, founded in his name the “Workshop for the Construction and Restoration of Billiard Tables”: Obviously, the first billiard tables were built according to the methods dictated by France and that is, without pockets and with completely selvage cushions, even though possessing a billiard room was a privilege of aristocrats. It was normal, therefore, for the greatest care to be focused on the furniture, a decorative element for splendid villas.
The game was little known and the technology was generally little supervised; it was only thanks to Aristodemo Restaldi (1784), the first constructor of the “Italian billiard table”, that the game table underwent substantial changes brought about by the supply of six pockets and as many legs, along with an increase in its overall size.
Greater diffusion of billiards increased production, so that in 1813 when Santi Restaldi in inherited the art and industry from his father, the game had by then become the favourite pastime of the aristocracy and not only theirs. Indeed, billiards began to arrive even in clubs and the major cafés of the time, leading to the birth of the first “billiard halls”, increasingly frequented by very young enthusiasts of the new way of playing due to the use of leather on the upper tip of the cue. An innovation brought forward before long by Santi himself who died in 1844. His son Salvatore Restaldi continued the paternal tradition, specialising in the construction of cushions to make the billiard table a real tool of precision. Constant requests later drove him enthusiastically to expand the workshop, which had by then taken on the aspect of a proper industrial factory.
In 1874 production, by now the family pride and tradition, passed on to brothers Cesare Restaldi and Santi Restaldi. The former used slate in the playing surface, built until then entirely in wood, but the innovation didn’t appear very important such that they went back with nostalgia to the original. The efforts of the Restaldi brothers weren’t rewarded properly while the industry was stagnant and competition in the north began to make itself felt, even in markets that had always been the undisputed dominion of the Restaldi firm.
Revival didn’t take time coming. Ottorino Restaldi, the greatest constructor of all times, from 1906 began a very long fight to attract people to the billiard tables especially manufactured by him and called “American construction”. The passing of the months confirmed the undisputed superiority of the Restaldi billiard table, which could be concisely summed up in four fundamental requisites: stability, smoothness, precision and stroke silence. In the first year of work, more than four game tables were built, a figure that, when compared with the times, seems staggering.
Therefore the absolute crowning achievement of Ottorino’s brilliance was, in 1908, being able to boast his patent as Official Supplier to the Royal House, an honorary title worthy of only the best.
It took the war to stop Restaldi; it was 1915 and the country needed arms that would take up arms in the place of the chisel. Once peace returned, Ottorino reorganised the industry and further expanded the factory, equipped with the latest devices to ensure precise and rapid production.
Helped by his two sons, Mario and Cesare, Ottorino carried out continuous research and testing without ever stopping, until his death in 1947.
They were difficult years, the second wartime conflict had left its material marks on the great factory, which was situated, as always, in Rome on the banks of the Tiber, seriously damaged. During this difficult time of reconstruction shone the personality of Felicetta, Ottorino’s wife, a woman of the past, full of courage and willpower.
They were difficult years, the second wartime conflict had left its material marks on the great factory, which was situated, as always, in Rome on the banks of the Tiber, seriously damaged. During this difficult time of reconstruction shone the personality of Felicetta, Ottorino’s wife, a woman of the past, full of courage and willpower. A new site was sought on which to rebuild the factory and finally in 1967, after various workshops were built all over Rome, a suitable location was identified in Via Salaria. Mario Restaldi thus began rebuilding and meanwhile remained at the centre of the entire Italian industry, successfully presenting his models in a more and more demanding and experienced market.
His work didn’t remain unfinished and currently his son and grandchild, Claudio and Valerio, carry ahead the torch of the age-old tradition.
What was once only bare terrain, today accommodates one of the biggest and most modern factories in existence, ready as always to accept all the challenges launched before it, aware both of its history and the need to always evolve and grow to continue to excel.
In all probability the best connoisseur and expert of the Italian billiard table, Claudio Restaldi is responsible for the construction and entire organisation of the modern factory in Via Salaria. Beside him is his son Valerio, 33 years old, already a law graduate and practising lawyer, who has just successfully completed a postgraduate masters degree as “business legal advisor” at the prestigious Luiss Management in Rome.
Claudio Restaldi surrounded by his “boys” inside pavilion 1 (carpentry).
Loyal member of the administrative section, Mrs. Rosy Sambuco will respond on the telephone to all your requests for information. Tel. 06.88588025
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