< ITALY | MILAN: Excelsior Hotel Gallia
Excelsior Hotel Gallia, an architectural jewel of Belle Époque, was designed and built by Giuseppe Laveni and Aldo Avati. Ever since its official opening on 29th February 1932, it has been one of the most prestigious hotels in Italy and the hotel of choice of Milan's refined social elite.
The construction of the hotel was completed in 1927. At the time, Piazza Duca d'Aosta - today headquarters to the Central Station, was simply countryside and the outskirt of Milan with
its cottages and tenement blocks. Both the hotel and the Central Station should have been inaugurated simultaneously, however delays with the monumental construction of the railway made
the hotel open its doors well before. As a result, this luxurious hotel with its elegant Liberty-style facade - today still under the protection of the Italian Institute of Fine Arts - stood
out in all its majestic splendour.
Designers Laveni and Avati wrote favourably about the hotel in a Touring Club Italiano publication in 1932: “Favoured by so many and such rapid developments in communications, and so advantageously located as to ensure that its guests could be peaceful while still having easy access to the life of the city; the hotel is as comfortable and convenient for travellers as it is for tourists and businessmen, or people who want to have a long stay in order to take advantage of all of the attractions that Milan has always offered”. Touring Club Italiano was the main Italian national tourist publication and was founded in 1894 with a mission to offer members a chance to explore and learn about Italy.
The owner, Carlo Gallia, who gave the name ‘Excelsior Gallia’ to the hotel, took lavish care over all the aspects of the building because he wanted to equal the best hotels in Europe. The Duke of Bergamo, who was present at the inauguration ceremony, called it “truly regal”, and the hotel immediately became the most prestigious location in Milan for hosting banquets and meetings organized by aristocrats and the bourgeoisie.
Carlo Gallia, at the age of only 17, left the Gallia family to learn 'the art of the guest' and remained abroad for the next 15 years. He worked in several different European countries alternating tourist resorts and cities (London, Paris, Berlin, Lucerne, Monte Carlo, St. Moritz). Once affirmed in his profession, he then founded Excelsior Hotel Gallia.
Recently renovated by renowned Milanese designer Marco Piva, this historical hotel re-opened on December 1, 2014. Today, as well as in its past, the Excelsior Hotel Gallia reflects the glittering essence of Milan’s sophistication and glamour.
The golden book of the Gallia includes the signatures of such celebrated guests as Arturo Toscanini and Ernest Hemingway, scientists as Albert Sabin and political leaders as Michail Gorbaciov, singers as Maria Callas and Madonna - not to mention the countless number of other VIPs who have chosen to use the hotel for their visits to Milan.
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