Bianchi’s trademark turquoise paintwork, celeste (pronounced chay-lay-stay), has as many myths surrounding it as any of the firm’s products. Celeste can mean “heavenly” in Italian (it’s the source of the English word celestial), but it can also mean sky-blue. Edoardo Bianchi claimed he chose the colour for his racers while “Teaching Queen Margherita the art of cycling,” to match the colour of her eyes.” If her peepers really were that bright a shade of blue-green, he’d certainly have noticed them.
Others say its colour of a Milanese sky, and the early racers were closer to a pale blue than the more recent, greenier, shade. The story runs that only one person was trusted to mix it, and as his eyesight faded, so the colour changed. Celeste was always reserved for the racers, including the post war Giro Tonales and the 500 grand prix twin - and of course Fausto Coppi’s all conquering bicycles. Not everyone likes the colour, and even Bianchi toyed with going over to red (as Ducati did) in the 1980s. But most Bianchi fans love celeste, even if some heretics say it's the colour of toothpaste.