< ITALY | ROME: Hotel Eden
Set on the Pincian Hill, on the site where Julius Caesar and his heir, Augustus, had had their villas, Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi built his magnificent villa in 1622, in part to house his collection of Roman antiquities. By the 19th century, Villa Ludovisi's vast complex comprised many edifices, lavish gardens and statues. Destined to serve the new railway station - the Roma Termini train station, Ludovisi area was transformed into a new district in 1883, in spite of protests by Italian and foreign cultural figures.
Among the first to realise that the new era of Roman hôtellerie was linked to the development of this new means of transport was Francesco
Nistelweck, the Munich-born hotelier who already managed the Hotel d’Inghilterra and the Hotel de Russie in Rome. Since the 16th century, Roman hospitality
had gravitated around the Spanish Steps thanks to the proximity of the Porta del Popolo Gate, the main entrance to the city for carriages arriving
from the Via Cassia and the Via Flaminia.
While visiting the newly formed Ludovisi district, the three-storey house at the corner of Via Porta Pinciana and Via Ludovisi caught the attention of Mr. Nistelweck. Together with his wife Berta Hassler, daughter of the owner of the Hassler Hotel, he transformed it into a sixty-three bedroom hotel. In October 1889, Hotel Eden welcomed its first guests. Eden was an immediate success and soon became a favourite haunt of foreign tourists wintering in Rome.
As apartments went up for sale in the building, Mr. Nistelweck snapped them up to add new rooms and public areas. He also installed a lift, electricity, heating and running water while in 1902, new floor and terrace was added to the building.
Being at the centre of Roman hospitality, Eden's Golden Book is packed with distinguished and famous names: Grand Duchess Olga of Russia, Princess Teresa of Bavaria, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Prince Paolo of Serbia, Queen Amelia of Portugal, Umberto of Savoy, entire family of Galitzine Princes... The famous Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio used to stay at the Hotel Eden accompanied by the actress Eleonora Duse. Il Piacere, his masterpiece, is set in Trinità dei Monti, in 1889.
Between 1919 and 1923, pioneer of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud stayed at Hotel Eden on several occasions during his long visits to Rome. The German television has widely covered the story in an acclaimed documentary which reconstructs the life of the Father of Modern Psychology.
The war years left their mark on the Hotel's guest book. After the Liberation the hotel became the headquarters of the English Command and the signatures of Von Papen, vice chancellor of the Reich and Dino Grandi, Mussolini’s minister can be found, while two arch rivals, Rommel and Montgomery are on the same page.
Living in nearby Via Margutta, great maestro of the screen, Federico Fellini always chose La Terrazza roof garden for his interviews.
In April 1992, Hotel closed for a total renovation. After a two and a half years and cost of € 15 million, it was officially re-opened on 1st September 1994, by the former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher. Currently, Eden Hotel is part of the Dorchester Collection and also member of prestigious luxury hospitality organization, The Leading Hotels of the World.
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