One could tell the history of the house through the pictures that the many clients have sent since its foundation at the beginning of the sixties. My father told me that the first clients came when the house was not finished yet. He was a builder himself but was very poor, he just came from Zürich in Switzerland where he had been for 10 years and worked as a builder there where he met my mother ‘Laura’ who was working for the ‘Frauenverhein’ Swiss Hotel chain in the kitchen as well as in the laundry although she was a dressmaker and doing this job also in her spare time. Mario found a piece of land with olives in Limone but was originally from Campione, a town 5 km further south. He decided to build his own house there and a small guest house but he could not afford to pay the constructor so he worked during the day for the constructor and in his spare time and in the evening at his own house.
So it took longer to build than he thought. When the first clients came the house was not finished yet, it was a rainy day and some German clients turned up completely wet from the nearby Camping Garda just underneath the property, where they were lodged.
These clients asked for a bed as they could not bear the weather anymore. So Mario put a mattrass on the floor in one of the rooms without furniture. This client was Kurt Krabler and is still remembered as Unkle Kurt as he kept coming back with his family for so many years and his daughter Marion Krabler is still comes to the Hotel Riviera every year in the same room on the terrace.
Laura, my mother, was not keen on Limone at the beginning, she was originally from the flat land of Lombardy near Brescia and was used to move around by bike, but Limone has only steep roads and she was quite annoyed, so she decided to get hold of a Lambretta – the first version of the Vespa created by Piaggio. She was the first woman seen around driving it with children on the front and back seat. Also the honeymoon was taken with the mythical Lambretta and the first journeys around Italy. After his journey to Sicily he fall in love with palm trees, so for each new born child Mario planted a different palm.
Marco got the tall palm at the entrance of the house, Sira the large palm of the Riviera garden, Milena and Livio came while the pool was under construction so all the palms at the pool came at the end of the sixties when Mario decided to construct the first pool in Limone. Finally Carlo, the last child, came together with the decision to construct a new building : the house Rodos and there in the garden you can still see a palm with different branches growing bigger and bigger, it is Carlo’s palm.
From Sicily Mario got the love for agaves, mosaics and stone walls that are still scattered around the property. The property also has a large quantity of olives, and the passion for plants, as he got older, started to include growing his own vegetables and fruit, the big vineyard with sweet American grapes. We produce grapefruit for breakfast, with plums, figs and orange jam. Mario, in his spare time, writes a lot, and he has already published a book with his biography written in the form of short stories. Laura, whose favourite job was dressmaking, still helps in the hotel to repair and create new table linen, curtains and cushions. Now, four of the children are active in the hotel and attempt to keep a high standard with simple means, providing a clean environment, well kept, good food and attention for the clients.