It was one of the most high profile victims of the floods – but now work is underway to repair a city centre restaurant that fell victim to Storm Desmond.

Water reached the ceiling of Ristorante Adriano in Rickergate when it was flooded in December 2015.

Boss Franco Bertoletti – one of the longest-lasting names on the city’s dining scene – was left heartbroken when he saw his restaurant swamped with floodwater for a second time.

But now, a year on, things are finally on the move after a firm of contractors moved in to complete the work at the popular Italian eaterie.

Mr Bertoletti, 70, said: “I have been down at the restaurant every day since it was flooded. I miss it and I can’t wait for it to open again.”

Work, which is being carried out by Top Notch contractors, is due to be completed in February or March.

Mr Bertoletti said: “It’s great that work has finally started. It’s been a long time coming. It will be good to get back on our feet again.”

Mr Bertoletti used to employ about 20 staff and is now looking for new recruits for when he opens.

“Some of my staff had to move on because they can’t wait forever. I am looking for new staff for when I open again,” he added.

Mr Bertoletti has run several restaurants in Carlisle in the past, including La Cucina in Lowther Street, Michaelangelos in English Damside and Vivaldi’s in Lowther Street.

It took nearly seven months to reopen Ristorante Adriano after the floods in 2005.

The building, in Rickergate, is owned by Carlisle City Council.

A city council spokesman said: “Adriano’s reinstatement contract started on November 29 and is due to be completed in early February.”

Businesses are slowly starting to return to that area, with Mr Bertoletti being one of the last to get back in.

Aperture Photography and barber Bill Finlayson moved back into their premises on Corporation Road, around the corner from Adriano’s, before Christmas.

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