Carlo 1849: a success story
This story begins long ago in Milan, where Leonardo’s canals flowed, when Italy had yet to be unified and in a period when the city itself was more European than Lombard.
In the San Celso quarter, around 1830, Carlo Castagna was an apprentice in one of the most famous workshops in Milan, where for over 100 years the most sumptuous and elegant Ferrari carriages (previously Mainetti & Orseniga) had been built, mainly for the aristocracy and the European royal families.
As a result of his hard work, Carlo won the respect of his colleagues and his employer, and eventually took over the business when Mr. Ferrari retired in 1849. Thus was founded the family business “C. Castagna & C”.
Carlo built elegant and majestic carriages that were finished with almost fanatical attention to detail. He in fact nurtured the conviction that luxury must be built slowly, and with passion, in the detail itself.
With the backing of some of the most important customers and financiers from the Milanese nobility (the Viscontis, the Brivios, the De Capitani d’Arsagos, the Bagatti Valsecchis and the Prinettis), Carlo became a well-established businessman. Famous celebrities ordered barouches, the precursors of future sports cars. Indeed, novelist Alessandro Manzoni and Enrichetta Blondel used precisely one such carriage in red-braided lemon wood for their romantic outings to Lake Como.
Towards the end of the 1800s, the first combustion engine driven carriages were built on commission for Ottolini and Ricordi, importers into Italy of Benz quadricycles.