During WWII, both Onorato’s Dompé-Adami and Franco’s newly-born Dompé farmaceutici struggle to survive. The most dramatic event takes place on August 15th 1943, when the British Royal Air Force (RAF) devastates Milan overnight. Around 2 a.m., a 12.000-pounds Tallboy bomb is dropped on Onorato’s building in via San Martino 12, opening a 48-meter diameter crater: the entire building catches fire. Luckily, Onorato and his family survive by taking refuge in the air raid shelter located in the basement.

Bombardamenti sede Dompé

The building is immediately evacuated after the offensive. Onorato and Luisa, which had lost during the attack not only their lab but also their home, move to Faggeto Lario, a little town close to Como. Their son Franco, on the other hand, stays in town to re-equip the close-by lab in via Bocconi. In a few weeks, the business gets back on track, serving 62 hospitals across Lombardy.

But the tough times are not over yet. The following year, in May, the Germans seize a great amount of material from via San Martino: 100 quintals of paraffin, 30 quintals of steel scrap and 210 kg of steel plate. The damages at the end of the war are around 2.682.807,65 Italian Lire, a considerable sum which the State will only partially refund 20 years later.

Sequestro Paraffina

After the conflict, the 34-year old Franco decides to take on the reconstruction works in via San Martino, and to move there his business. On April 30th 1945, Dompé farmaceutici opens its doors once again.

In the following decade, the company launches on the market a number of successful drugs, becoming a key player in the Italian pharmaceutical scenario. To the point that in 1963 it makes its big screen debut in Vittorio De Sica’s movie, Ieri, Oggi, Domani. In a memorable sequence of the Oscar-winning movie, Sophia Loren tries in fact to give to one of her children the company’s flagship product, the cough syrup Guaiacalcium.

Sophia Loren