Hotel Villa Rosenhof 1893 in Gardone Riviera, a history of hospitality is reborn

In the Central European capital city of Lake Garda the historic Mansion gets back to being a small 3-star Hotel .

In 1873 the story of hotellerie starts as dependence of former Hotel Rosenhof, which used to lodge the rich Central European aristocracy. Many a guests preferred staying at the dependence to have more privacy and for the romantic strolls in the silence of the great olive grove, today Hotel Villa Florida’ park. My great- grandfather Faustino had prepared small wooden benches in the most scenic places where extracts from classical German literature would be read aloud. The Mansion entrance was on the side of the street: at those times carriages with wooden suitcases on the coupè used to go by while today, alas, cars are running fast on it. On the left, from the renowned shop Alexander,  one-horse carts full of olive oil, lemon and cedar water left towards the heart of the rich Germany. Those were the years preceding the Great War and people used to think that the Belle Epoque in Europe would never end.

Thanks to a recent operation, the wall sign and the list of the products for sale at Alexander’s, clearly visible from the sidewalk,  have been restored. An estimated 12 rooms were available at the end of ‘800, with two bathrooms on floor. Today the rooms have been transformed into four large Suites.  How much the travellers’ needs for space and comfort have changed in a century!

During the period of the Italian Social Republic (1943- 1945) the ground floor of the Mansion was used as a warehouse of explosives of the Wehrmacht and Granpa Angelo’s stable was shelter for the horses of the German officers, lodged in the nondistant Embassy commanded by Rudolf Rahn. Three of the horses, the white, the black and the roan, had come specifically from Germany on order of general Albert Kesselring. Every morning, depending on the mood, he would choose one in turn to ride on the scenic trails in the hills surrounding the Hotel.

After the tensions of those sad days, the Mansion started hosting the croupiers and the game- room staff of the nearby Casino of Gardone:  it was a coming and going of young foreigners who wanted to work in the ephemeral world of the game, animated by that desire for life typical of the postwar period. In few month the cruel games of military strategies had turned into the milder ones of gambling. Their master’s name was Corona: he taught them the rules and tricks of Black Jack and of French roulette. Then the Casino license was temporarily given to Venice but there remained forever, in compliance with the tested principle that in Italy nothing is more definitive than the provisional.

Today the Suites of Hotel Villa Rosenhof 1893 are furnished in the same Central European style and share  all hotellerie facilities, the park and swimming pools with the adjoining  Hotel Villa Florida. The Guests can enjoy the pluses of a 4-star with a 3-star quotation. For those who love nice walks, the historic Mansion is situated at the beginning of the elegant promenade Paul Heyse ( Nobel Prize in Literature 1910)connecting Fasano, once known as “the Florence of Garda” in German guides, to Gardone Riviera’s wonderful gardens.

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