If you are not familiar with the Mario Confente story you may wish to first read "Mario Confente, Part I" (Part II is text from a Confente brochure).
In March of 2008 I visited Mario's sister Gianna where I learned of Mario's racing career and eventual transistion into framebuilding.
This brings me to the point of this story. I knew that Mario Confente had built frames in Montorio (Verona) but I was never successful in finding one. A famous racer from Verona had also given me a copy of a Confente-Verona decal set so I suspected a bike such as this might exist.
With thanks to Mauro, who writes www.ciclorestauri.it (a website about vintage bikes and restoration) we now have photos of a Verona built Confente. Here is how Mauro tells his story:
"Sometimes life is really strange. I tried for so long to find a clue that would lead me to Mario Confente, someone who had known him in person, a small hint, but every time my research seemed vain. This is strange, I kept repeating to myself, because he lived just a few miles from my house. Maybe Mario still didn’t want to reveal his life to me.
Then one day, seemingly by coincidence, I read an article on the Montorioveronese.it website that switched my hopes back on. Maybe Mario had decided to reveal his most intimate story, through those he knew, loved and appreciated. Right after this, I met his sister Maria Gianna. Incredible, I even discovered she lived 200 meters from my house!
What next? Thanks to Maria Gianna I had the opportunity to meet Paolo. But who is Paolo?
Paolo is a man that is all integrity and substance and no exterior looks, a real man, a man of belonging to another time. Joy and liveliness pours out from his blue eyes and his every gesture. Paolo welcomed me into his house and property where he protects with love and care the story of his life, which is represented by bicycle frames, vintage motorcycles and bicycles, wheels, cups, gears, derailleurs, shirts, photographs. Bicycles of U. Dei, Bartali, Juventus, Chesini e. .... is “the bike”! A Confente! Guess what? It isn’t one of 135 Confente built in the U.S., this one was built in Montorio, for friends! It was built by Paolo and Mario. Yes you read right, Paolo had also worked with Mario.
Paolo did many jobs in his life and among his jobs he also built motorcycle frames for some important companies. This remarkable dexterity and skill, now allow him to build certain components with precision, which would otherwise be unavailable, bringing to life examples of human expertise. Inside Paolo’s workshop you breathe the history of the cycling and motorcycle production from the 40’s to the 80’s. His tools, even those strictly historical, are lathes, grindstones, clamps and anything else useful to a human hand to create or restore objects made of steel, steel like Paolo.
Paolo is as skinny as those who walking and cycling have worked so very hard. Paolo is fast and lively when going from one corner to another of his large room, to show me a picture, a wooden wheel that he is building and a bike that he is restoring.
Dear Paolo, I have very much to learn from you. I sincerely hope that our new friendship will be useful to keep alive the memory of an époque where the human being was bound to authentic creations, where virtual left space to imagination and creativity of the mind and soul.
Bye Paolo, until we meet again."
Paolo and the Confente built in Montorio immediately before the departure of Mario for the U.S.:
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