< ITALY | FIUGGI: Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte
Set at the top of a hill within a lush park and overlooking the medieval thermal town of Fiuggi, Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte is an icon of Italy's hospitality. Designed by the architects Garibaldi Burba and Giovanni Battista in Stile Liberty / Art Nouveau, the hotel was built in 1913 with the aim of being the most elegant and modern hotel of all Europe. In Fiuggi all came from the water. “Miraculous” spring was already known in the Middle Ages for its power of “breaking the stone” and that cured the diseases of Pope Boniface VIII and Michelangelo.
Since its opening in 1913, the Grand Hotel Palazzo became the most poular meeting point for all the scientific, artistic, politic international high society and the place where all the European
aristocracy wanted to go after the sojourn of the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele II and the Royal family. For the occasion, was created for them a flat that still nowadays receives illustrious
Matilde Serao, one of the most famous writers of the period, wrote: ”The Palazzo della Fonte has been expressily built in the most picturesque and higher place of the new Fiuggi, at 700 m. on the sea level, near the woods and the “Fonte”. From this superb building you can enjoy a wonderful view and you can admire the group of the Scalambra Mountain and all the view over the Fiuggi valley. The hotel is in a perfect tranquillity, far from any noise, completely isolated (…)
After the First World War and until the end of the 1930s, the hotel relived in all its splendour. In 1936, outdoor pool was built, one of Italy’s first swimming-pools, while in the beautiful frescoed salons were put tables for the games of the roulette, the baccarat, the chemin de fer. This imposingly beautiful ballroom Sala Quattro Continenti (4 Continents Salon) is named after the prestigious frescoes that depict Europe, America, Asia and Africa and bear the signature of the master L. Galimberti. The Palazzo was known all over Europe as being a wonderful place, attended by the jet set of the period: among its guests were: Giovanni Giolitti, Antonio Salandra, Luigi Pirandello, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Guglielmo Marconi, Francesca Bertini, Eleonora Duse, Pablo Picasso, Carol Baker...
During the Second World War, the Palazzo was transformed into a hospital for the German soldiers, and the hotel became the Headquarter of the Allied Forces for all the period of their permanence in Italy.
Between 1946 and 1960, the hotel reopened to be the summer residence of the most important new Italian politicians and actors like: Vittorio De Sica, Eduardo De Filippo, Toto, Anthony Quinn, Fernandel, Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman. In the same years, the Palazzo gave birth to legendary career of the world-renowned chef Luigi Carnacina.
After the war, Fiuggi was no more a fashionable spa. When in 1960 the Societa Anonima Fiuggi, owner of the hotel lost its rights on the water, the Palazzo della Fonte itself diminished its prestige untill it closed in 1982. It was then bought by the Forte, international hotel chain that brought the Palazzo back to its original splendour. The original Art Nouveau frescoes of the façade, the harmonious elegance of the rooms, and the charming setting of the pool were restored.
In 2008, the Palazzo was recognised by the Italian Ministry of Heritage and Culture as a "palace worthy of protection and conservation as an important example of Italian hotels and spa tourism business as well as the architecture of the early twentieth century where the Art Nouveau style, in all its environments, gives the building a unique architectural value."
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