Those Nights at the Baglioni

Learning some history at the Grand Hotel in Bologna.
Generale Lanfranco Roccetti Ex Comandante Gruppo Speciale AUC

From Clark Gable to the Spice Girls, from Sofia Loren to Lady Diana, from Ava Gardner to Pope Benedict XVI, from Mafalda of Savoy to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, when a protagonist of history comes through Bologna, a stay at the Baglioni Hotel is inevitable. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel sits in front of the San Pietro Cathedral occupying part of the Seminario Arcivescole, built in 1751 by architect Alfonso Torreggiani under the direction of Pope Benedict XIV, along the arcades of Via Indipendenza and on to Via Manzoni occupying part of Palazzo Fava. Founded on February 15, 1912, the Grand Hotel Majestic is not just an elegant five-star hotel. Its luxurious rooms and the splendour of its furnishings, its frescoed halls by the Carracci and other important artists of their school have unfortunately witnessed the brutality and horrors of the war. 

Hotel Baglioni, Bologna - historical photo

In fact, during the First World War, the American Red Cross established its headquarters there while the supply warehouses were located at Palazzo Pepoli Vecchio, on Via Castiglione. In those years, as the city was mobilized to assist soldiers returning from the front and requiring care in hospitals and municipal buildings set up to deal with the situation, emergency activities were organized at the Grand Majestic già Baglioni to help with the wounded. The most dramatic moment happened during the Second World War. After September 8, 1943, the hotel was seized by the Nazi command which established its headquarters there. In these halls, under the famous frescoed vault known as History of Europe, German leaders of the PFR and the RSI army trampled the sumptuous carpeting and bright hopes of the Italian people. Their presence caused the anger of a group of partisans and six members of the GAP, the Patriotic Action Groups, decided to intervene. In 1944, they blew up a box of TNT which destroyed the beautiful facade of the hotel. As well, bombings and a new attack on the Baglioni severely damaged it. But history goes on and so does the Baglioni, after years of restoration and refurbishment (one need only think that in its basements there are ten metres of a road section of one of the minor decuman of the Roman Bononia), it has risen to its original splendour. Unique and only five-star luxury hotel in all Emilia-Romagna, a place with an inimitable style bustling with personalities and celebrities, it observes in its portico the to and fro of Bologna's citizens and the passage of time, each and everyone aging with charm and experience.

 

Hotel Baglioni hall, Bologna

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