THE HISTORY OF HOTEL SAN GIORGIO


The hotel SAN GIORGIO(original name "REGINA AND SAN GIORGIO HOTEL") began its activity in 1920.The house consists of two buildings:the highest was designed and built as a hotel, the other one dates back to XVII century.The oldest one was at the beginning a shed and afterwards it was extended.The two buildings were joined to create the hotel and all its services.
It is located in the municipality of Tremezzo (old name Tremezzina), on the border between Lenno and Tremezzo, below the main road called Regina, in the memory of queen Teodolinda who probably realized it widening the old roman track on the west side of the lake.
The land was used as pasture and olive tree farming; the old building was expanded to create an olive press.
Today you can still see the stone tables ....they are the original millstones used to press the olives!
At the beginning they were run by donkeys, afterwards they used the water from the stream Pola. In a second time the building was used as silk factory that was a more profitable activity at that time.
The engine was functioning with the first electric generator of the area, that Mr Paggi put at the basement of the now Villa Itala, next to the hotel.The electric generator worked thanks to the water of stream Pola using pulleys and leather belts that you can still see near the garage.
With the first world war 1915-1918 the silk factory closed down and the land became pasture.
Giulio Cappelletti ,the great great grand-father of the current owners and managers, was from a non rich family with many children of the lake area.As a young boy he started to work as waiter in restaurants gaining a good experience during cruises towards Egypt, then well known among the english high society.
He started as a hotel keeper with a small hotel (the Brentani) in Lenno , today a residence, he enlarged the business managing the Albergo Regina e San Giorgio, so called because of the english guests, then denominated Hotel Roma and now Hotel Lenno.

With his respectability and professionalism he gained good relationships especially among english families that were starting to discover the lake Como area in that period, because of the healthy air, ideal to cure lung illness, such as tubercolosis.

With the help and trust of his affectionate clients he founded a partnership to buy the land and to build the hotel.He overcame many difficulties(it was the first world war period) and he finally opened this hotel in 1920, just after the war.
The structure of the house was made with Moltrasio stone, delivered by big typical boats called "comballi"(you can see some photos).The stone was extracted from the pits in Moltrasio, near Como. The stones were carried one by one , by shoulder from the beach to the building site.Only with these special stones carved by hands, you could build solid houses.
Nowadays the pits have close down, also to preserve the fragile environment.
In those days, thanks to the english tourism , the hotel used to stay open all the year round. The daily life was perfect english style: in the morning breakfast with eggs, bacon, freshly milked milk, cream, local butter, fresh orange juice, tea or coffee; then a swim in the lake, mountain trekking, pic-nics in the fields, lake excursions on the little boats called "inglesine", with cushions and sun curtains or on the motor boat driven by uncle Mosé,tennis matches or golf at Cadenabbia and Menaggio Golf Club.
The lunch was anticipated by the sound of the gong struck by maitre Mancini.
In the afternoon the classical english tea with home made cakes and pastries and after that, at sunset, the gong again and everybody went down for dinner, all wearing tight and long dresses.
Exactly at the beginning of the opening, on the mountain side of the road a very noisy paper factory opened and it was spoiling the peace of the spot, with great damage to the hotel business.
Luckly the paper factory soon closed down and the land where it stood was bought to build a beautiful clay tennis court, still available now for our guests.It was designed carefully by some english clients, experts in that very popular sport in England but at the beginning in Italy.
The life of local people was very simple, regulated by the sound of the bells and by the rising and setting of the sun.
Big was the faith of the local people, that you can see also today with the important celebration at the Santuario della Madonna del Soccorso, on 8th September.

Unfortunately in August 1924 Giulio Cappelletti died and the fact was written on Times of 28th August titling "The perfect host and the perfect hotel", copy of the original article is hung outside the reception.
Giulio Cappelletti left his wife Clementina and two sons: Giorgio who died two years later at the age of 5 and Luigi(Gino for friends) that at 19 inherited the hotel together with his mother.The daughter had died in 1922, aged 2, leaving a great loss.
There were difficult moments for the family and in this situation auntie Gina, sister of Giulio, was very helpful together with friends and affectionate clients.
Uncle Daniele , brother of Giulio, took place in the management of the hotel. There was an attempt to expel the widow Clementina and the son Luigi from the property of the hotel: only the support of true friends and clients stopped this trick.
Luigi, called Gino,upon suggestion of his father, started working in the hotellerie industry, first at the hotel Suvretta in Sankt Moritz, then in Berlin.Subsequently he improved himself in the best hotels of Jersey, where he worked many years and met his future wife Juliette Madeleine, from St. Malo.
After a good experience as hotel keeper Gino came back home with his wife just before the beginning of the second world war.During this time two daughters were born:in 1938 Nicoletta, that chose the religious life of the Suore Adoratrici del SS Sacramento and in 1944 Margherita.Then came hard times during the war, the tourists stopped coming and the hotel became a house for wealthy families and also for important industries(Richard Ginori, Snia Viscosa and others) that left the main cities because of the bombing and set their head office here.
Tragical and dark days arrived before the end of fascism;the house and the surrounded area became theatre of very important historical events: the killing of Benito Mussolini and Claretta Petacci in Giulino di Mezzegra, just a few yards from the hotel.
Before that the villa Contini, now residence apartments near the hotel, was occupied by the ministry of fascism Guido Buffarini Guidi and the hotel became the office of X MAS guards.

A tragical evening (3rd October 1944) the partisans attacked the fascists in the hotel: these facts are told in the book "La battaglia di Lenno".
The war ended and the hotel again was occupied by the U.S.allied forces that stayed here for a long time waiting for the post-war agreements.
After that the military occupation ended and the touristic activity began again.
Luigi with his refined manners and good nature, supported by the strong character of his Breton wife Juliette, with the daughters Nicoletta and Margherita and with auntie Gina committed themselves to rebuild the quiet and pleasant atmosphere, that was the tradition of San Giorgio.
Obviously the situation was really critical with severe economic, civil and moral wounds: the tourism flow, especially the english one, had disappeared and only the richer and more affectionate families could come again for holidays.
It was and it is reason of gratification for the owners to see that since then the following generations of the families still continue to take their holidays at the hotel.

Nowadays the hotel, although keeping the historical structure with sunny rooms, the original furniture and the wide bedrooms, it also conforming the modern standards: all rooms have private bathroom with hair -drier and they have direct telephone, safe, digital tv, wi-fi connection.
In spite of the widespread building exploitation of the region, the wide garden has kept its original caracteristics: the trees grew, some died but nothing else changed.
Once you have left the main road and arrived in the garden it will be a real surprise to hear the songs of the birds and you will recognize the song of the blackbird, the chaffinch, the blackcap,the nightingale and the great tit in contrast to the noise of the road.
A functional underpass now links the "lake" garden to the "mountain" garden where the tennis court is , that makes more comfortable to do outdoor activities.