Born in 1803
as a meeting place for politicians, writers, artists and notables
, with the passing of the Lugano Lounge,
Few night's news about the nineteenth century. It is well known that the meeting place, which is also a hotel, is known and appreciated by a vast local and foreign clientele. The
Biaggi family of the nearby village of Viganello runs it until 1942, when it is sold by Ettore and Clelia Biaggi-Luvini to
Alberto Bianchi. As soon as he moved from Como where he had managed the famous Albergo-Ristorante Barchetta, Alberto began his activity in Lugano during the war period.
As in the previous century, there are many Italian exiles
who are accommodated in the rooms on the upper floors of the Luganese meeting and among them also important names.
At this time the restaurant preserves and strengthens its image of prestige of the city.
On March 3, 1945, in the "Cenacolo" hall on the first floor, in the surroundings of the then Bianchi Restaurant, now the seat of the Grand Café Al Porto, was held the first secret meeting between German officers and Allied officialsat the height of the greatest tragedy that Europe remembers. During this meeting, there was a repudiation that deterred the German leaders from implementing the "burnt earth" strategy
The Sunrise Operation
by a Swiss officer, Major Max Waibel, then in the information service of the Swiss Army, contacted by the noble Italian Baron Luigi Parrilli, provided a valuable and decisive help in creating the important premises
that led to the Capitulation signed Caserta on April 29, 1945. With this signature and with the unconditional capitulation of the German army, a bloody war finally ended, saving Norditalia as well as innumerable mourning, the serious destruction that the order of "burnt earth" would have caused.
It reads "The yield of eight hundred thousand" in this regard:
"... Waiting for our midday meal, Bianco's owner, despite the rationale imposed by rationing, made wonders, he did not have the slightest suspicion of reckoning to conspiracy, hosting a world-wide conference, with the intuition of the extraordinary owners of hoteliers in Swiss hotels, but he understood that he was dealing with characters of concern. "
The jewel of the Grand Café Al Porto is the Cenacolo Fiorentino, originally a refectory of an ancient convent. The coffered ceiling, an original of the '500, is enhanced by the frescoes attributed to the Florentine painter Bonafedi.
The suggestive atmosphere of the Cenacolo is particularly suitable for banquets, celebrations or important and prestigious presentations.
Historical walls have hosted over two centuries many illustrious figures including Carlo Cattaneo, Giuseppe Mazzini, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, Henri Guisan, Gustave Stresemann, Giuseppe Prezzolini, Clark Gable, Juliet Masina, Aga Khan and Sophia Loren with Carlo Ponti.
The Grand Café Al Porto is the "correspondent partner" of the prestigious "Historical Locals of Italy". A nonprofit cultural association that aims to valorise and protect the ancient locales - hotels, restaurants, confectionery-pastry-literary cafes - who have acquired historical fame and renown through the events they have been home and the characters who have them frequented.
Created in 1975, the Association today brings together almost 200 of the oldest and most ancient public practices in Italy. These include only 6 "Associate Members", historic and prestigious local estates located abroad. We are proud to be part of it! Visit www.localistorici.com
After many events, after so much history, on the trail of meetings, convivials, discourses and flavors, Grand Café Al Porto Restaurant aims to revive that intimate atmosphere so dear to its guests.
The Living Room of Lugano ... from 1803!