Summer Time / The Best Concierge Stories
Concierge stories are traded at famous hotels like good Jewish jokes. They are always a success.
Adolfo Facchin made his first steps in the trade at the Excelsior in Rome in 1965, when the colourful Adamo Cecchini was running the concierge show. To get a good tip, Cecchini officially spoke five languages. In reality he spoke only one really perfect: Italian. But with his rudimentary knowledge of many others he managed to invent some fantastic expressions.
With the knowledge of a few simple nouns he was largely responsible for the creation of a new language, a sort of concierge’s Esperanto. In English, the words ‘when’ and ‘went’, for example, were merged into ‘wenta’. His masterpiece, still acclaimed by many, was certainly a conversation with an American guest, who arrived late one night and wanted to see some of the fabled Via Veneto before going to bed. On leaving the hotel, he admired the grand clock in the lobby, which showed 23.50 hours. The clocks were changing that night; summer time was about to replace winter time. On the stroke of twelve, midnight became 23.00 hours.
When the guest returned 50 minutes later, he looked at the clock again, which now displayed 23.40 hours. Astonished he turned to Cecchini: ‘I left an hour ago, and now it is ten minutes earlier than when I left. That’s strange.’
Cecchini, after a long day on his feet, tired and not in the mood for a lengthy conversation, gave him a long, thoughtful look, then bent over his desk to explain:
‘Wenta winter, wenta summer, Okai? Anhour go, anhour come back.’
The man looked baffled. Now Cecchini set out for his final stroke:
‘Wenta you go, anhour go. Okai? Wenta you comeback, anhour comeback.’
That was Adamo Cecchini.