Excelsior – Rome, Italy (English)

Excelsior – Rome, Italy (English)

Andreas Augustin & Thomas Cane




231 historic and contemporary photographs, maps and illustrations; Cover painting by Manfred Markowski

Leather-bound edition





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155 x 210 mm, 700 g

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This is a reprint of the original edition, with various updates (2018). 

On 17 January 1906, the civic authorities, including the Prime Minister, the Mayor, Commendatore Cruciani Alibrandi, all the city council and the press were invited to a formal dinner to inaugurate Rome’s majestic new hotel, the Excelsior, located in the Ludovisi area, on the corner of Via Veneto and Via Boncompagni, opposite Queen Margherita’s palace. The demand for a new luxury hotel had been growing with the arrival of the great ocean liners from America and with the stready growth of international rail travel from all capitals of the continent.


The Excelsior

George Nagelmaker’s luxury sleeping coach company Waggon Lits had made overland travel so attractive and in principal the only solution to reach afar destinations on the continent. The dining cars of the express trains plying their services to Rome became the meeting place of the world. Here sat the famous tenor who travelled to perform at the Royal Opera House, there the businessman from Milan, facing the American couple who had come to Europe to spend the summer on the good old continent.

Americans inspired and triggered off a new series of hotels, inaugurated to meet the need of the modern luxury traveller. A newspaper article, published on 18 January 1906, explained: ‘Rome already had luxury hotels, but there is an international clientele whose requirements stem from boundless wealth, for whom this luxury wasn’t enough.’ Via Veneto developed into a lively mile.

Federico Fellini recorded the passionate desire for more than money can buy, a longing for diversion, a lust beyond description. At the Excelsior the high society of Rome still meets the discerning traveller, the Hollywood star, the legendary writer. To be invited or not is still a matter of life or social death. And all this is guarded by a caring, wonderful staff, to whom I dedicate this book and – to start with – the following four pages ...

At the fabled Via Veneto, in the eternal city of Rome, stands the Excelsior. The secret hideaway of the famous and the rich and all the others who entertain us. This book is based on years of research, on hundreds of private and archival photographs and personal interviews.
We look behind the scenes of this legendary institution, tell its story from its opening in 1906, its heydays and its downs; from managers and members of staff. It was a very challenging task to research, to fine-tune and to prepare this book, as almost no historical archives were available.

Andreas Augustin
The Excelsior Rome
in the series
The Most Famous Hotels in the World™

First research has been conducted during the days of the general managers Paolo Lorenzoni and Michele Frignani and their assistant Manuela dell’Orsi, who provided the all important support and assistance. Stephen Alden and Robert Koren have initiated this history project.

It must be noted with greatest respect that the management of the hotel decided to accept historical facts rather than old legends and traditionally distributed myths.
We are in particular indebted to all former and current members of the staff, who contributed so generously to this book. Personal thanks go to - in loos order: Sofia Peluso, Antonio Cestoni, Pier Lorenzo Petrini, Carlo and Piere-Paolo Carletti, Franco Antimi, Davide and Gastone Pizzoli, Vincenzo Papaleo, Franco Vasconi, Natale Rusconi, Angelo De Valeri, Angelo D’Andrea, Bruno Calli, Bernd Labriola, Enza Cardinale, Thomas Olivier, Massimo Collela, James Foglieni, Adolfo Facchin, Walter Ferrari, Magdalena Robini, Giulia Falangola, Laura Fiore, Pierlorenzo Petrini, Silver Carpanese, Francesca Forni, Paolo Guarneri, Antonello de Medici, Marco Novella, Michele Frignani, Mrs Rudi Bodenheimer and all the others who have contributed to this book over the years.

We also like to thank the members of the Starwood PR office in Rome, in particular Lucilla De Luca, Maddalena Ciociola and Ilenia Santarelli for their help,

Historical photographs: Famous Hotels Main Archives, Tony Deperte and the Carletti Archvies.
Photographs: Jaime Ardiles-Arce, Wolfgang Kalny
Translations: Dr Sofia Reich-Castiglioni
Reserach assistants: Francesca Brizzi, Thomas Cane
Production: Harrison Dolittle
Editors: Thomas Cane and Carola Augustin

All historic data have been carefully selected during research with the objective of ­providing a general historical overview. This work does not therefore claim to be complete. Historic photographs have been restored as necessary, and are therefore ­subject to copyright. The entire work, including such parts as the dust jacket, the enclosed postcards and bookmarks, are also subject to copyright.
Any form of storage using ­electronic media or ­distribution via a network is prohibited. Any reproduction of excerpts from this work without the explicit written consent of The Most Famous Hotels in the World™ will be prosecuted.
Note for publishers and authors
All the photographs used in this book are available as high-quality digital files. Please contact the archives of The Most Famous Hotels in the World ([email protected]) and ask for these ­illustrations for your own publications. We will be happy to provide them for you.
© Copyright Andreas Augustin / The Most Famous Hotels in the World™
Design: Ramazotti Michelangelo

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Publisher's recommendations


Dear wonderful Readers; 

It is noteworthy that, contrary to all predictions, interest in good books is not dwindling. 

The first copies of THE HALF MOON TREASURY are being released – exclusively to our readers (and before its official launching date). 

We have released a reprint of our successful book THE WESTIN EXCLESIOR ROME, the most famous hotel on Via Veneto. 

The new edition of THE STRAND (Yangon,Myanmar), for example, receives wonderful readers' feedback — thank you for your notes and mails. METROPOLE HANOI and ORIENTAL BANGKOK were relaunched in brand new edtions. The Oriental book is the first to present the (very) complete list of all authors who had ever visited.

We dispatch all our books personally autographed (as you know).

Have a save journey!

Andreas Augustin

aa at famoushotels dot org

"The great advantage of a hotel is that it is a refuge from home life."

George Bernard Shaw

1856, Dublin, Republic of Ireland – 1950, Ayot St Lawrence, UK

Irish playwright, critic and polemicist

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