1953, the land on which the Hotel now stands was farmed for grapes
and peaches by my grandparents Natale and Luisa Piotti, who lived
with their parents and little Gabriella in the house in the background
Today the house still belongs to my mother Gabriella, and at least
externally, is exactly as it was then.
In 1953, Natale and Luisa built
a small detached house in the middle of the vineyard to rent out during
summer months. In 1957, at great personal sacrifice, the house was
enlarged - in order to rent their house and scrape together the money
for the building project, Natale, Luisa and Gabriella slept in a tent
on the beach for two summers - and became the 12-room "Piotti
Guesthouse." In those years, tourism in the Diano Marina area
was not very particularly developed, and ingenious techniques were
required to attract guests. Gabriella tells how, as a 14-year-old,
she would stop cars with German license plates in the middle of the
road, extolling the virtues of the family guesthouse!
The division of labour was simple:
Luisa was assigned to the kitchen, Gabriella handled reception, and
Natale was responsible mainly for maintenance (in addition to hunting
and fishing, his favourite "jobs").
In 1961, Gabriella married
Franco Ghirardi, newly qualified as Merchant Captain from the Naval
Academy at Leghorn. In the same year the guesthouse, which meantime
had been constantly improved and enlarged, was renamed Hotel Gabriella.
Franco decided not to take to
the sea. His efforts, and in particular his keen, inquisitive mind
and constant pursuit of innovation, enabled Hotel Gabriella to establish
itself as an mportant attraction for tourists on the "Riviera
Without question, the changes
to the hotel and the choices made by
Franco had such a determining influence thanks also to the support
and spirit of self-sacrifice of Gabriella and Luisa. Without the synergy
of ideas and hours of long work little or nothing would have been
to an emphasis on customer care and a warm, family atmosphere, between
1961 and 1980 Hotel Gabriella built up an established base of loyal
customers who returned year upon year to share holidays and adventures
Many years on, some of them are still our welcome guests, such as
Sannita, Alberto & Simo, Renzo & Maria Pia, Germana &
Franco, Rosy & Tonino, Lillo & Wolfgang;
all of whom certainly must remember dining in the gazebo, the bowls
tournaments, the mid-summer dances, the bell announcing meals, the
laughs and the dressing up in the dining room.
Unfortunately, others are no longer with us, and in this chapter of
our history we remember, with great affection and nostalgia for those
summers spent together, the great Valentino with Uncle Vinicio, Renato, Virgilio
and Compagnoni, the surly Polastri
also passed away in 1989, much too soon and with much suffering
period that followed was a very difficult time for us. Without my
father, we - my mother, my sister Laura (who
in the meantime had begun working with us) and myself - faced many
Nonetheless, we are happy with
the fruits of our labour, since the hotel continues to offer fresh
proposals and improved facilities for guests with new ideas and services.
And our regular, loyal customers, along with their children and grandchildren,
continue to spend delightful holidays with us, never leaving without
expressing their satisfaction.
For that reason we like to define
our hotel as "family-run for over 40 years, rewarded by a forty-year-long
loyal clientele. Management characterized by courteous, attentive,
helpful and discreet
service. Managed by successive generations of our family for successive
generations of guests."