Ex bank to be turned into Italian restaurant

Restaurateur Pino Cafasso outside the former NatWest Bank, Hargreaves Street

Restaurateur Pino Cafasso outside the former NatWest Bank, Hargreaves Street

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The grand surroundings of a historic Burnley bank, modelled on a Florentine palace when it was built more than a century ago, is set to become an Italian restaurant.

Ribble Valley restaurateur Pino Cafasso, who hails from the Italian culinary capital of Naples, is spending nearly £1m. breathing new life into the former NatWest Bank in Hargreaves Street.

I was not surprised when I heard that architects had based it on the Palazzo de Medici in Florence. I thought The Palazzo would be a fitting name

Pino Cafasso

The restaurant and cocktail bar, which will be named The Palazzo, is set to open by October in the Grade II-listed building.

Pino, who owns The Villa restaurant in Clitheroe, said it was amore when he first spotted the “beautiful building” on a visit to Burnley.

He said: “I wasn’t aware of this building until I was visiting Burnley with some friends. The facade is beautiful and the inside, with all the marble, really reminded me of Italy.

“I was wanting to expand my business and I immediately knew this would be the perfect home for an Italian restaurant.

“I was not surprised when I heard that architects had based it on the Palazzo de Medici in Florence. I thought The Palazzo would be a fitting name.”

Pino, who lives in Whalley, said he hoped to recruit around 20 people to work at the restaurant which will also feature a grand cocktail bar in the former banking hall.

Built in 1876 in the Florid Florentine style by William Waddington and Son. for the Manchester and County Bank, the interior features Arabesque marble walls and columns.

One of Burnley’s most impressive buildings, the facade is equally elaborate with carved keystones and moulded heads.