The matriarch of the Ruggeri family and the inspiration for the restaurants that carry her name was Beatrice Ruggeri, known to everyone as Bice. Born in Tuscany in 1901, Beatrice Mungai grew up in Chiesina Uzzanese, west of Florence, near Montecatini. The eldest of ten children, she helped her parents raise her siblings, but found her greatest pleasure in the kitchen, preparing simple dishes that could satisfy the large family.
In 1926, as a young bride, Bice moved to Milan with her husband, Gino Ruggeri. Encouraged to share Bice’s extraordinary cooking skills, hospitality, and kindness with a larger audience, they opened the family’s first restaurant, da Gino e BiCE. Presiding over the kitchen, Bice prepared the dishes she knew best—healthy and delicious fare that made customers feel as if they were sharing a meal at the home of a friend.
In the 1980s, Bice was recognized by the Prime Minister of Italy with a special title, “Cavaliere del lavoro”—a remarkable accomplishment for an Italian woman during this era.
Through her children and grandchildren, Bice’s legacy is stronger than ever and the original restaurant, today known as BiCE Ristorante, attracts generation upon generation of Milan residents and travelers after nearly a hundred years.