A strong and sincere bond, as the Guest Book recounts
Since its opening in 1913, the Palace Hotel has always had a strong artistic calling, it was famous for the Kursaal, a nearby venue that hosted a daily afternoon tea concert on its panoramic terrace.
As meeting spots for the bourgeoisie living between the 1800’s and 1900’s, Kursaals, popular in Switzerland, were habitual rendezvous points for cosmopolitans.
Before the beginning of Second World War, Varese’s Kursaal was one of the Palace Grand Hotel’s highlights: guests could enjoy a breathtaking view and quality service on the panoramic terrace.
While the Kursaal hosted nightly theatrical events, the Hotel’s grand foyer was filled with orchestral melodies and the rustling of silk dresses. A dance that carried through the open windows, where the music faded in the treetops and into stillness of the night.
Among the guests of those years, composers such as Pietro Mascagni and Giacomo Puccini were told to stay at the venue. They were good friends and in time of relaxation used to play the lively so-called “Scopa” card game with Tenor Francesco Tamagno.
Those facts are reported as a family secret and by word of mouth from the staff, in fact there is no hard evidence of their presence, but it is a pleasure to share that curiosity.
The connection with music remained very strong even after the Kursaal was destroyed during the bombings of the Second World War.
According to hotel managers and concierges that had been carrying the hotel in their hearts, in the 50s and 60s the Palace also hosted, among others, two jazz legends: Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong.
It appears that Goodman particularly enjoyed the hotel’s large park, in which he loved to play his clarinet and relax.
Even the great Satchmo enjoyed the atmosphere of the Palace Hotel, where he stayed during his participation in the Sanremo Festival of 1968.
The Palace Hotel continues to welcome musicians from Renzo Arbore to Francesco De Gregori, Vinicio Capossela, and Gino Paoli. Every artist has left a sign of their stay in the many volumes of the Guest Book.
It is a real treasure that tells of the many voices of this elegant and timeless venue, which welcomes guests with the magic of a thousand notes floating in the light evening breeze.