July 21, 2009. On this less travelled street behind the Vatican colonnades, Giussepina Guori’s customers have a clear view of the pope’s window as they eat.
You can say this is the sandwich shop of the Vatican, everyone that eats here is from the Vatican. Journalists, priests, cardinals. These are all our friends that come here.
“Pina,” as her customers affectionately call her, is well known in and around the Vatican for her trademark porchetta, or pork, sandwiches, which she humbly says are the best in the world.
High ranking Vatican officials and laypeople alike all come to Pina to try her famous paninos. This Franciscan capuchin couldn’t resist the urge for doubles.
It’s the second time I come. Yesterday I came for dinner and it was great. So, I came back again this morning for lunch.
Pina has forged special friendships with customers outside her shop, like with German Cardinal Joachim Meisner who wrote about her and her shop in one of his books.
I thought he had become pope. Because when I heard on TV that they had elected a German pope, I was convinced it was my Meisner! After the conclave he came to visit me and told me the new pope had cried on his shoulder.
Even Cardinal Ratzinger used to buy bread from Pina before becoming pope. She says he remembered her the last time she went to an audience and greeted him.
I said, ‘Your Holiness!’ and he was quite happy to see me. I still remember when he used to come by here.
Her humility and affection with the Vatican community have won her special gifts. Like this certificate blessed by the pope from the Vatican commemorating her 30 year wedding anniversary.
For Pina, her shop is more than a business. It’s a special meeting place for both her and her customers.