In a country where it is a challenge to travel more than a few kilometers without seeing a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is little reason to stop in Mellaredo, Italy. It is a small, unattractive town. However, it is conveniently located in the Veneto region, just east of Padua, not far from Vicenza and Treviso – an area that’s home to some of cycling’s most recognisable brands like Campagnolo and Pinarello.
And it is difficult to imagine that something as beautiful as Sarto’s bikes are being made inside the non-descript, beige building at the end of a dead-end street in the industrial zone of Mellaredo. The only indication that some of the finest, custom carbon fibre frames are made here is a license plate-sized sign over the door that reads “Sarto Antonio” in faded typography, embellished with a bicycle-like squiggle.
Though visitors are more than welcome, there is no showroom, only a cramped reception area with just enough space for two plastic chairs and a small coffee table with a stack of cycling magazines and a product catalogue. [...]