When the villa was bought by the Neapolitan engineer Roberto Fernandes, its remarkable historical heritage, the extraordinary site and its natural vocation to warm hospitality and enchantment, seemed to inspire the new landlord to transform the property into a hotel. The demanding fitting of a structure whose mission was that of conjugating the fundamental practically of modern times with the enchantment of ancient tradition, urged Fernandes to entrust the delicate job to one of the most enlightened figures of contemporary architecture, Gio Ponti.
The hotel rose upon the ruins (never completed) of the Dacha, and its extraordinary adapting to the morphology and its original dynamic relation among the overhanging objects and the same structure made its fitting unique.
The Milanese architect–artist, renown for his eccentricity, deserves the merit of having joined local influences (the majolica of Salerno) with artistic settlings of other cultures (the majolica plates of Melotti), always moving in chromatic choices that respect the environment and natural colour scheme. The hotel today, more than ever, is celebrated as a paradigmatic work of contemporary architecture. It was inaugurated on 11 April 1962, and since that day seems to bear witness to the absolute and joyful intuition of the engineer Roberto Fernandes who (as Ponti wrote in the pages of Domus), “had the gift of discovering the qualities of what everyone took for granted, but of which no one was conscious of” a man thanks to whom everyone may continue to dream and enjoy that special uniqueness.
Text by Fabrizio Mautone