Filippo and Marisa Hanke were struck by the idea of buying this old house,perched on the hillside of St.Elia and immediately adjacent to the Bridge of Towers,and turning it into a hotel in the early 1960s.
The architect Roberto De Luca managed to the reinterpret the spirit that had animated the locale at the start of the twentieth century when Francesco Santoro,a famous painter of that period,used it as his retreat where he found inspiration for his masterworks.
The prescient idea of making a small,eight-room hotel seemed crazy at the time,but paid off,and found an important supporter in Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti,the creator and founder of the Festival of Two Worlds to such a degree that the hotel became a focal point and meeting place for all of the artists who were drawn to Spoleto during that period. It can safely be said that in the lounge and flower garden of the Hotel Gattapone,all the world’s greatest artists met and lingered for a while:
Quasimodo, Ungaretti, Neruda, Ginsberg, Tate (among the poets). De Kooning Moore, Calder, Pomodoro,Manzù (among the sculptors).Zubin Metha, Menhuim, Pizzettti, Bernstein (among the musicians). Visconti, Zaffirelli, Polansky, Houston (among the film directors). Ingrid Bergman, Ainouk Aime. Audrey Herpburn, Peter Sellers, Jan Moreau (among the actors),are just a few of the names of the many thet stayed here and left the mark of their presence in the large visitor’s book that is assiduously protected in the hotel safe.
In the 1980s,PierGiulio,the son of Filippo and Marisa,had to choose whether to carry on the activity started by his parents or not.
In a quirk of fate,during that exact period,the lawyers Gianni Agnelli and Giovanni Nuvoletti,in cooperation with the great photographer Franco Fontana and the inestimable help of Gianni Luppi, decided to publish two wonderful art books about the most important guest establishments in Italy for the sake of What they truly felt, and not a simple ranking of classifications or standards.
Following the success of this publication and the buzz that it generated,PierGiulio decided not only to follow in the family footsteps,but to improve,and with his father,double the numbers of rooms.
Today,The Gattapone continues to represent the undying spirit which has pervaded the place from the very beginning.
“A miraculous balcony for those who wish to lose themselves in the contemplation of nature and history,or,on a cold wet day, a brilliant confessional for those who wish to delve deeply within their souls on a comfortable bed rather than a kneeler…”
(Gian Carlo Menotti)