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Bianchi and the history of Celeste

Words by Prologue Cycling

on 20/01/2020 14:26:06

CELESTE IS BIANCHI, BIANCHI IS CELESTE

In a world full of logos, each fighting to be different and to capture your attention, it is rare for a simple colour to be an immediately recognizable calling card that inspires the passion, history, and performance that Bianchi’s signature Celeste colour does.

Depending on the time and place in history, Celeste, the unique colour of Bianchi, has continued to evolve from the first inspiration of the pale sky blue of the Campionissimo Coppi era, to the recent adaptations of turquoise and fluoro greens. In a sea of primary colours in the Pro Peloton or on a city street, it only takes a glance of the celeste colour to know you’re looking at a Bianchi – even from a distance the Celeste colour speaks, telling the story of Bianchi past, present and future.

Celeste is Bianchi, Bianchi is Celeste, the two are indivisible. For the cycling tifosi the colour alone evokes pure thoughts of history, heritage, passion, speed and, of course winning. But why Celeste, and how did this unusual colour become so famous?

THE ORIGINS OF THE COLOUR

The truth is, there are many truths to the origin of the Celeste colour. Some absolutely romantic, others steadfastly pragmatic. Could it be the simple version, and the easiest to believe, that Celeste is a vision of a stunning, clear Milano sky, high above the Bianchi factory.

The cycling romantics have it that Edoardo Bianchi, the founder of company, supplied a bicycle, and lessons to ride it, to Regina Margherita of the Savoia Royal House. Edoardo, mesmerized by the striking colour of her majesty’s blue eyes, chose the colour of her eyes for the colour of her new Bianchi bicycle.

So enamoured was the Queen with Edoardo’s gift of the Celeste coloured Bianchi, some say that she awarded him the right to use the royal coat of arms as the Bianchi Logo, where it has since appeared on the headtube of every Bianchi bicycle.

For some, that tale of enchantment is too quixotic. And here comes the more pragmatic story. In a market where colour choice was largely limited to black, Edoardo Bianchi delivered an unusual, iconic and enduring eye-catching colour by having access to a ready supply of surplus military paint, in shades of light blue and pale grey, and from that blended paint the iconic Celeste Bianchi colour origin was born.

And why the name Celeste? From the Latin ‘Caelestis’, meaning celestial or heavenly, the facts behind the reason for the choice of name, like birth of the colour itself, are lost to myth and legend.

There are threads of truth in all stories, how much is hard to say, because history so often defies inspection. The reality is, at Bianchi, we are very proud to be known as much by our colour as by our name. In the end, we at Bianchi celebrate “Passione Celeste” for the Italian history and performance it defines. Every day, with every breath and with every bicycle we make, Celeste is who we are.

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