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History

Turn of the century Italy saw the beginnings of industrialization in what was basically an agriculture society, so it was hardly surprising if a pasta factory (with combined flour mill) was named after Ceres, the roman corn goddess. The complex of buildings and courtyards still retains the divinity’s name in Italian – Cerere – to our days. Marked by the years, yet dignified nonetheless, the facades run along three sides – via Tiburtina, via degli Ausoni, piazza Sanniti – in Rome’s San Lorenzo district. The Cerere building is the example of the gradual, low-key conversion of an industrial building. The last fifteen years have seen it reoccupied, slowly but surely, and now some thirty people – artists for the most part – have set up studios inside it. Each tenant has cleaned up and restored his own particular space to different degrees, giving the handsome loft spaces a new lease of life. 
The Cerere building –the oldest of the three major factory buildings in the San Lorenzo district (the others are the Sciarra glassworks and the Wùhrer beer brewery) is undoubtedly the most important feature of the area’s repertory of industrial archaeology. Founded in 1905, in the following year the company commissioned engineer Pietro Satti to create its premises by modifying and adapting two pre-existent structures: a two storey residential building built in 1898 between via Tiburtina and via degli Ausoni, and a parallel, four storey industrial building dating from 1893. The project called for the enclosure of the complex in a block maintaining the two-storey front on via Tiburtina. The first version of the project was not approved, due to the poor quality of the prospect. In the subsequent design the building on via Tiburtina grew to four storeys, with brick walls and cast iron columns, while a third of the rear courtyard was taken up by a large covered gallery. In 1912 two floors in reinforced concrete were added to the inner building, one other to the building in via Tiburtina, and a mansard roof- after a long dispute with the building commission – along via degli Ausoni. Futher more another building was added, facing partially on piazza dei Sanniti. Almost 50 years later, in 1960, the pasta factory went out of business, and the complex was left empty, only a few of its rooms were left for warehousing by a small number of rental tenants. But thing began to change in 1975, when the artist started to arrive.