Economic gloom shuts the hotel where Fellini lived la dolce vita

It won't be lost on many Italians that la dolce vita in Italy has turned rather sour when even The Grand Hotel in Rimini is, for the first time in its history, preparing to shut for the winter.

The palatial hotel, so beloved of film maker Federico Fellini, will close from January to Easter, its owners have announced, as Italy's economic crisis bites and the demand for five-star watering holes – even ones as mythical as this – goes into hibernation.

It was officially listed as an Italian national monument in 1994, and featured in many of Fellini's films, most notably as a sumptuous backdrop in his 1973 picture Amarcord, a coming-of-age comedy, in which he took liberal swipes at Mussolini and the Catholic Church.

The current proprietor, Antonio Batani, said plain financial necessity had forced his hand. "It's a painful decision but I really had no choice," he said. At the moment, we've had about 30 guests and around 70 staff who each cost about €2,500 a month in wages and contributions. It doesn't take much to do the sums." The hotel has 117 guest rooms and suites.

Patrizia Rinaldis, the president of the local hoteliers association, told La Stampa newspaper: "It's a awful sign. We wouldn't want any others to follow."

The building, designed by Paolo Somazzi, a South American architect, opened in the summer of 1908 and remains the only five-star hotel in Rimini – and the only one with a private beach. Its imposing appearance is complemented by rooms decorated with 18th-century Venetian and French antiques, together with original, restored parquet floors and chandeliers.

Famous names from Guglielmo Marconi and Mussolini to Princess Diana have visited. But it was film legend Fellini who put the Grand Hotel on the map.

The maker of La Dolce Vita and Satyricon, who was born locally, was said to have gazed through the Grand Hotel's gates as a child, thus initiating his ambiguous, life-long relationship with the highlife. The building formed the backdrop to several scenes in Amarcord. And once the money started to roll in, Fellini was a regular guest with his own favourite suite. It was here in 1993 that he suffered a stroke and collapsed before dying in a Rome hospital a couple of months later.

The regional tourism councillor, Maurizio Melucci, added his voice to those hoping the winter closure of the building was a one-off. "I hope this is just a temporary measure," he said. "The Grand Hotel is not only the symbol of Rimini and Italy for the summer but for the whole 12 months of the year.

In the last couple of weeks, however, there were new signs that the output of Italy's sclerotic and debt-bound economy was falling again. Nearly four million Italians are now below the poverty line, and even the better-off are having to tighten their belts.

The Grand Hotel's time will probably come again, and the dolce vita may return. But for now, people are battening down the hatches for winter.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam