Hotel Campo Imperatore is located at the edge of the Campo Imperatore plateau, at an altitude of 2,200 m on the slopes of Mount Aquila, in the Gran Sasso massif, within the municipal territory of L'Aquila. Built in the thirties on a project by the Piedmontese engineer Vittorio Bonadè Bottino, the structure is famous for being, between August 28th and September 12th, 1943, the prison of Benito Mussolini until its liberation by the German armed forces.
Hotel Campo Imperatore History
The construction of the hotel began in 1936, near the mountain station of the cable car and on land donated to the municipal administration by Adolfo Dragonetti De Torres, Marquis of Pizzoli and patrician of L'Aquila, to offer an adequate and modern welcome to the tourists. An example of rationalist architecture, the work is presented in impressive dimensions, with four floors and an underground, with a semicircular projection, hosting in its interior 45 rooms and a panoramic restaurant. Since 1940 the Hotel of Campo Imperatore has undergone only slight aesthetic changes maintaining the original line. The interiors remained almost unchanged, changing only the use of rooms and rooms.
The Hotel Campo Imperatore is an important stop for all history buffs. In fact, after the fall of Fascism and the subsequent arrest of Benito Mussolini, the former head of government was taken as a prisoner, waiting to deliver it to the allied forces. Mussolini was brought here on August 28, 1943 after the detentions on the island of Ponza and La Maddalena.
A few weeks later, however, with a surprise action that took the name of operation "Quercia", a commando of German paratroopers rushed towards the hotel making a break by catching surprise the Italian sentinels who surrendered. The blitz lasted only a few minutes and the German platoon, led by the captain of the SS Otto Skorzeny, had Mussolini delivered. The meeting between the two was cordial and friendly: as reported in the news the captain entering the room said: "Duce, the Führer sent me to free you" to which the answer "I knew that my friend Adolf Hitler would not abandon me" .
Room 220, located on the second floor of the hotel, keeps the original furnishings perfectly preserved and is a destination for many tourists and nostalgics. Adjacent to the Campo Imperatore hotel is the Ostello, a building built in the 1930s that housed the upper station above the Gran Sasso cableway. The whole area where there was the old cableway was used as a museum where photographs, mechanical pieces and cabins of the old "Cerretti & Tanfani" cableway are displayed.