The story of Fiuggi Fonte, spring for Michelangelo

When Fiuggi’s commercial exploitation started, so did the story of Fiuggi Fonte, the development of an area around a spring inside a chestnut forest.

Until then the centre of social life was the ancient village of Anticoli, former name of the current town of Fiuggi, and in the old town near the old castle and walls, the first boarding houses were built, and also the first big hotel.

In fact, that Grand Hotel Gerini is just outside the walls of the old town on an area still used for festivals and markets and where the waters of a small pond were reclaimed. The area is where today Trento and Trieste are located and the structures of the Grand Hotel nowadays have become the Municipal Theater and the famous Hotel School of Fiuggi. The style of the building given by the famous Roman architect Giovan Battista Giovenale is ‘baroque like’.

But we return to lower Fiuggi: the first water exploitation concession was given to a Neapolitan entrepreneur, Giuseppe Forastieri, who started a transformation of the area by creating first a shelter to accommodate visitors. The first bottling plant dates back to 1889 with the brand ‘Acqua di Fiuggi’ on the bottle labels.

The commercial or ‘industrial’ exploitation of the waters and the creation of the baths took place in 1905, two days after the 30 years anniversary of the Acqua di Fiuggi by Società Anonima Fiuggi, a venture that was of great interest to some entrepreneurs in northern Italy.

With these began a promotion and marketing operation of the brand through advertising, a magazine and a new image given by the innovative architectural forms of the reception structures.

Today, nothing remains of the Umbertine style of the first water springs produced by Eng. Garibaldi Burba.

Promoters of the tourist-commercial development of the water, meanwhile, lived in elegant villas with an eclectic style, in the upper part of Fiuggi, such as Villino Breda or the Swiss villa.

The strategic positioning of the Fiuggi brand is to the high end of the population. Think about how luxurious it was to imagine drinking a bottle of water instead of going to a public fountain as most people did. These new customers need new options for reception structures and also could not settle for boarding houses.

Fiuggi had to enter the consumer dreams and so in 1910 the construction of the Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte began, once again designed by Eng. Garibaldi Burba. It was absolutely disproportionate in relation to the small hamlet of Anticoli. The luxury of its facilities even attracted the royalty of Italy who spent their holidays in Fiuggi.

While in Europe the First World War was being fought, Fiuggi continued to grow by designing new electrical connections with the capital and through the project of the development of lower Fiuggi according to the fashion of the ‘garden city’.

The train came from Rome and the railway station area was inaugurated in 1917 with a line that followed Via Prenestina and in 4 hours connected the centre of Rome with the Terme di Fiuggi.

The true boom period was between the two wars, in the period called roaring twenties, and the building of the famous classical gateway to the Fonte Bonifacio VIII, one of Fiuggi’s still existing symbols, dating from 1928.

A second symbol of opulence is certainly the golf course, one of the oldest in Italy, with the spacious clubhouse in reinforced concrete, stone and wood, and designed by Francesco Palpacelli.

During the Second World War Fiuggi was fortunately saved from bombing but its reconnaissance structures were being used by military commands for hospital purposes and the vacationers’ world took a break.

The war ended and reconstruction led to a new period of euphoria in the 1960s and Fiuggi responded with the project of the new Boniface VIII Fonte entrusted to a modern and bold architect: Luigi Moretti.

The park adopted the canons of organic architecture with thin reinforced concrete shelters that integrated with the woods and recreation areas that intersect in a ‘play of forms’ that recalls the forms of nature.

At the threshold of the third millennium the spas lost their fascination in the imagination of vacationers and leisure seekers, and Fiuggi responded with a conversion to promotion of well-being of the body and the psyche. The design of a congress center was entrusted to Valle Valley with Workshop 7 in Fiuggi.

The building appears immediately on the Fiuggi entrance boulevard inside the Fonte’s gardens and integrates into the park thanks to its roof garden.