“This is not a classic story because it does not yet have an end…”.
Cit. Jacques Charneux
Jean Baptiste Brunod
He was born in 1888 in Champoluc. After a few years he moved to Switzerland to learn a job. He learned the art of ebonists, and later he came back to Aosta Valley where he opened his first workshop, which still exists today in Via Festaz in Aosta.
In 1930 the Wall Street crisis reached Europe and Battista decided to embark on a challenging and ambitious project: the construction of the first Italian hotel on the Great St Bernard Pass.
The Great St Bernard Pass
A STORY “WITH A LITTLE BIG AMOUNT OF LEGEND”
cit. Abbé Aimé Gorret
At over 2450 metres above sea level, it is one of the oldest and most famous passes in the Alps, situated between the Mont Blanc and the Gran Combin.
The future Saint Bernard, archdeacon of Aosta around 1050, founded a mountain hut on the pass, just steps away from Plan Jupiter. The construction was solid and was entrusted to the Order of Augustinian Canons Regular, who brought it to success.
“The Great St Bernard lacked an Italian hotel, now there is one”.
– Guestbook, August 1st, 1933
With the end of the 1930s and World War II looming, Italy needed to strengthen its barriers.
1938 was a crucial year for Battista Brunod. During this year, he and his close-knit team of builders ‘dismantled’ the first hotel to make way for a state structure to defend borders. The hotel would then be reborn within a year and would welcome its first customers again.
In 1939, the new Hotel Italia, moved 100 metres to the south, found its definitive location overlooking Mount Vélan (3471 metres) and the mountain range towards the Aosta Valley on one side and the lake on the other.
Construction of the second Hotel Italia
The second Brunod generation
The third Brunod generation
“The hotel reopened on July 1st, 1949
Closed during the war, it hosted Germans, partisans, Britains and South Africans, who only spared me the fire.
To all travellers the warmest welcome of the Italian heart.”
– Constructor and owner Brunod Battista Aosta, July 10th, 1949
“A NEW GENERATION COMES INTO THE PICTURE. TRADITION AND RESPECT FOR THIS PLACE ARE MAINTAINED. QUALITY AND DISCRETION. SERVICE AND SMILE INCLUDED”
In 1950, after the death of his father Battista, Franco took over the destiny of the Hotel Italia San Bernardo which he ran together with his wife Andreina De Grandis.
The Hotel Italia welcomes guests at affordable prices without neglecting comfort and quality. The hotel is equipped with garages and the car park was enlarged to accommodate coaches.
At the Ristorante Italia quality is a primary concern, too, which is evident by looking at the crockery, the porcelain, the crystal glasses and the table linen.
The renewed reputation brings in the first Sunday vacationers. Motorcyclists and Vespa riders, cyclists and mountaineers spend the weekend at the Hotel Italia.
Some of the famous guests of Hotel Italia
- Montgomery of Alameim Field Marshal
- Palmiro Togliatti
- Quartetto Cetra
- Rodolfo Graziani Maresciallo of Italy
- Juan Manuel Fangio
- Gino Bartali
- Truman Capote
- Alberto Lupo
- Beatriz de Borbòn
- Liz Taylor
…and we wish that this House may continue to be an opportunity to meet new people and to find yourself through the unpredictable and fascinating nature that helps you to be more and more authentic.
– Gioia and Luca Brunod, the third generation