When at 16 years of age I entered the Roman College of St. Joseph, I could not have imagined that my humanities studies would have influenced my life so much. At High school, I immediately became interested in philosophy and history of art, to the point that I could not imagine my future career in other fields, constituting a logical extension of my studies. The world of business, in short, was light years away from me and my aspirations.
Even then, every time I travelled abroad to other cities, I did not fail to visit their most important museums. If I was mesmorized by a work of art, I often researched its history, the artists personal rise, to find out more. I have a talent for drawing, therefore I often competed in the reproduction in pencil of masterpieces. Besides the passion for art, I also had a passion for photography, fueled by the many photographer friends. I liked to spend long evenings in the darkroom to develop and process my photos. In short, everything I did, from studying to travelling, lead me in the search for harmony and contentment. Until one day everything changed.
In August 1975 my father passed away. Until then he took care of the hotel, back then it was called Europe Palace, and it was a 4-star. The island of Anacapri lived in the shadow of the more famous island of Capri. Due to a sense of responsibility, respect for my parents, the staff at Europe Palace and for my territory, I accepted the challenge. At 23 I found myself catapulted into a completely new adventure.
With no managerial experience, much less than what is needed to run a company as complex as is a hotel, I still had two key allies: philosophy and art. The first would help me to "think differently". The second would have led to the "pursuit of beauty". Both were winners. I have always felt proud to belong to the island of Anacapri, that artists have termed "the place of the soul". Up to August of '75 I had always lived with emotions. From then on I would have made those emotions the guiding principle of my new job. With a clear objective: to share my emotions with the hotel guests.
But emotions need adequate space. That's why, year after year, the 110 rooms of the original structure have been progressively reduced in favour of suites with large bathrooms. In the 80’s we launched our rooms with private pools, in the 90’s we inaugurated the spa with medical treatment, a spa that in only a few years, under the direction of Professor Canonaco, has been awarded recognition as the first medical spa in the world.
And then the art.
My passion for art lead me to visit several art galleries. And it is through these galleries that I grew to admire those artists that interest me most. From the beginning I bought works "for" the hotel. I have always liked the idea of not reserving solely for my personal use the creations that I chose, but extend the viewing to all our clients. Besides, I think this is the aspiration of every artist to create works intended to stir emotions, to reach the hearts of as many people as possible. How? For example, exhibiting the works in a museum.
Thanks to the professionalism of the management and the extraordinary ability of the Capri Palace team, each department tends always to excellence. In only a few years, Ermanno Zanini, the general manager, has built a very strong team that works well together. With him, the hotel’s "service" has become the real asset of Capri Palace, and with him the restaurant L'Olivo has established itself as one of the few restaurants of a hotel internationally recognised.
The museum. The idea of art surrounded by rooms, has always fascinated me. It fascinated me even more to create a true art hotel where the art was everywhere: in public areas, rooms, large and bright studio workrooms, available to Italian and foreign artists, and where many of them continue to work, even in the composition of the plates.
The next step was to ask some artists to create permanent works. So now we have some of the installations that make unique the White Musem. Velasco has designed the mosaic of the main pool, Tonelli painted the pools of the rooms, dedicating this work to Magritte and Warhol. Plessi has installed monitors in an old wooden boat a sailor used to take tourists to the Blue Grotto, Costantini has signed the paintings in homage to Calder, Kandinsky, Miro and Dong.
And then the majestic installation of Arnaldo Pomodoro "Rive dei Mari". An impressive three-dimensional 40 metre wall that the Master has created for the entrance wall.
A monumental work destined to last over time and because of its position, as he himself said, "belongs more to the outer area, than the hotel."
That's it. With regard to "Rive dei Mari”, I think this has been a sort of opening of the" castle doors "to the territory. An opportunity to offer emotions also on the outside, proving that art doesn’t have barriers: it must be admired and caressed, increasingly becoming part of everyone's daily life.
But there's a fine line that sometimes transforms art into a game and vice versa. It happens then that an artist paints a picture on the bottom of a pool and not on a canvas that another paints on canvas ... historical sculptures, and that another transforms an abstract painting in a large fresco. Here, then, the homage to Magritte and Warhol, Mondrian in the wall or partition of the suites at Calder.
And then the Craft.
Recently, the largest commercial space adjacent to the hotel became a laboratory of artisans who create unique and personalized items. A place where the ancient tradition revisited in a modern Capri, takes the form of objects and artifacts of great quality. Handmade items, designed and customized for our brand Capri Touch.Textiles made of linen, cashmere stoles, accessories, sandals. Item’s that in the 60’s, appealed to Jacqueline Kennedy and the protagonists of the international jet set. The area also houses the works of young photographers, painters and potters.
And then the food
The continuous search for high quality products for our restaurant, has permitted us to find the best producers that for generations make the best products on the market. Today we have gathered these products into a single brand: Mariantonia, so our guests have the opportunity to take home the intense flavors of our land.
All of these themes, apparently different, belong to the exciting path of my life. They are like the branches of a tree that meet in the large crown of the Capri Palace, the White Museum. A place of dreams, the place where my dreams have come true, where together with the heroes of my team, their passion, their dedication, continuous in the constant search for better detail, harmony, art, at all levels.