Panificio Navona

Baking From Scratch With Care & Kindness


1850.  Domenico Silverio Rossi was born in Ferrazzano in the province of Compobosso the region of present day Molise in Italy in the year. He married Maria Tota who was born in Macchia Valfortore and whose family had lived there from 1784 as shown in the records of the village clerk. As the story* goes--he sold his farm, butchered his pig and had a festa, after which he left for America leaving his wife Maria (Tota) and three children behind. His plans were to send for them when he had a job and suitable housing. The children were John, Peter and Lucy. Domenico arrived in Brooklyn, N Y in the year 1888 and found work as a common laborer--a ditch digger. He worked digging tunnels. One day, the padrone asked if anyone was a baker--he needed to have someone move to upstate New York and bake bread for the railroad workers who were located in southwest central New York. Domenico’s cousin pushed him out of line and said that he (Domenico) could bake bread. Domenico came to Elmira, built an oven in the hillside and thus began his success story of coming to America. Within 10 years of baking bread, Domenico set forth to build a three story building on Hatch Street which would have a bakery and grocery store on the first level and living quarters for his growing family on the second and third floors. His youngest son Anthony started a bakery in 1922 (with his brother Nickolas) located on West Washington Avenue about _ mile from the Hatch Street site. He and his wife Mary (Cavaluzzi) worked side by side at the bread bench. The main feature of the new bakery was a huge brick oven with Peterson cast iron doors and steam vents for the crust and rise required for good bread. The oven was one of two original brick ovens located in upstate NY. The other is still in operation at the Columbia Bakery in Syracuse.

1965. I find myself in a bakery and dream of one day owning it only because it is my grandfather’s bakery. That dream was delayed because when I was nine my grandfather died and the bakery was out of business two years later. Any talk of restarting the bakery was met with laughter.

2012. After 25 years of a successful commercial photography business I had decided now was a good chance to start a bakery. So here we are.