Fragments of history

Over 120 years of history of pioneer tourism, wars and winter Olympics

Everything about the Parc Hotel Victoria – the architectural structure, the period Tyrolean furniture and the décor –  is redolent of the past.

We would like to offer you a brief account of the events marking the history of Cortina that have helped to make us what we are today.

Once upon a time

Way back in 1892, Amadio Girardi turned “Villa Vittoria” into Hotel Vittoria, which since the outset has remained in the hands of the same family.

At that time Cortina was part of Tyrol, a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  A century previously, Déodat de Dolomieu had discovered the uniqueness of the geological  formation of the Dolomites, although the beauty of the “Ampezzo Thal”, the Ampezzo Valley, was still known to only a few. In fact, the opening of Hotel Vittoria coincided with the years of the legendary mountaineering expeditions undertaken by various intrepid English climbers together with local guides.

Pioneer tourism was at the time an exclusively summer phenomenon; the hotel guests were supplied with donkeys and carriages for excursions and trips.

The advent of winter sports  was not until 1884, when the first skis were seen at Cortina. The prestigious Sci Club Cortina was founded in 1903.

 

Between the two World Wars

In 1914, when the First World War broke out, the men of Cortina were called to the Eastern Front to fight against the troops of the Czar; however, in 1915 Italy declared war on Austria and Cortina was occupied by the Italians. It was from the windows of the Hotel Vittoria that the first Italian “tricolore” flag was hung.

In 1917, after fighting for two years at an altitude of 3000 metres in the mountains surrounding Cortina, the Italians were forced to retreat and abandon the valley, which was retaken by the Austrians. Fearing reprisals, the proprietors of the hotel, well known for their Italian sympathies, left behind all their worldly goods and took refuge in Italy. In 1918 the war ended and  Cortina was granted to the Kingdom of Italy.

The wounds of both mountains and valley gradually healed. Although Hotel Vittoria had been  completely sacked, the family returned to Cortina in 1919.

The Fascists then came to power in Italy. The new political representatives, the House of Savoy and King Albert of Belgium, a keen climber, favoured Cortina as the place to spend their holidays. Some families of the Italian aristocracy, such as the “della Gherardesca”, the “Montezemolo”, the “Orsi-Balbo and the “Ricasoli” families, used to stay at Hotel Vittoria.

In 1936 the then proprietor of the hotel, Amedeo, took part in the Olympic Games at Garmisch as a member of the Italian bob-sledding team.

In 1940 Italy came into the Second World War as an ally of Germany.

On the 8th September 1943 the Kingdom of Italy became an ally of the British and Americans and Cortina was occupied by German troops and turned into a hospital town. Hotel Vittoria was commandeered for housing the German army doctors. In 1945 the British troops replaced the Germans and the occupation lasted until 1947.

 

From the Olympics to the present day

In 1956 Amedeo’s daughter, Manuela, participated in the Cortina Winter Olympics in figure skating. The Japanese team, who were guests of Hotel Vittoria, saw one of its members, the skier Igaia, later a member of the International Olympic Committee, win the silver medal in downhill skiing.

From 1950 onwards, numerous enlarging and restructuring works have been undertaken, all designed to increase the comfort of our clientèle but always with particular emphasis on respect for the environment, energy saving, recycling and on the promotion of eco sustainable practices.

This policy is in line with our ethics as a family and as entrepreneurs.

We have told you about our history. Now we are eagerly waiting to hear yours.

We are looking forward to welcoming you!

Paola and Eric