Since the end of 2012 the Albergo Maccagno has been managed by Renata and Massimo who run it in an unfussy and friendly fashion making it, today as it once was, a meeting-place for the townspeople as well as for passing tourists, who can pause here for a refreshing break in the large hotel bar on the ground floor. The bedrooms on the first and second floors are accessed by means of a lovely stone staircase, a well-preserved reminder of the hundred-year history of the building. All the bedrooms have a private bathroom with a shower, a TV and free wi-fi. The entire building has been tastefully restored keeping in mind the hotel’s recent past. Following the splendours of the early nineteen hundreds, after World War II it became a boarding house for emigrants, seasonal workers and the increasing numbers of tourists coming to visit the area surrounding Lake Maggiore. It now functions as a Bed and Breakfast, with an ample morning meal served on the ground floor: continental for the more traditional guests, and international for the many foreign clients. On the same floor a small reading area has been set up, where guests can look or leaf through an interesting selection of printed material concerning the history and landscape of this fascinating corner of Italy, which will help them in their choice of holiday itinerary. The essence of the Albergo Maccagno is also conveyed through its association with local people engaged in fostering an environmentally friendly form of tourism in the area: farmers, agriculturists and nature guides whose cooperation enables Renata and Massimo to supply their guests with organic products – like honey and local cheeses – and suggestions for guided tours. Those who drive as far as Maccagno will find an easily-accessible car park nearby, but the very central location of the hotel, just a few metres from both the railway and bus station, is an undoubted asset. In the vicinity of the hotel, there is a supermarket, a tobacconist’s and other typical local shops.
Conceived as a guesthouse and restaurant between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the Albergo Maccagno boasts a decades-long history of events, names and faces; a previous time of elegant vacations and gracious manners evoking the old-world atmosphere of the Belle Époque. Outstanding courtesy, competence, deference towards guests, cleanliness and decorum were the unconditional rules of the establishment. At the time, Maccagno was a small but lively provincial town, with numerous shops and stores selling a variety of goods, whose interactions with the hoteliers had the air of a family enterprise: a shoe-maker, two hairdressers, a butcher’s which supplied top-quality meat, a baker’s, a greengrocer’s, a chemist’s and a haberdashery. In summer, when the middle-classes took their holidays, the rooms of the guesthouse filled up with its well-to-do and loyal customers. Businessmen, nobles and illustrious society names came here for the warmest season, often accompanied by their personal staff: chauffeurs, housekeepers, maids and governesses. But the hotel was, above all, a meeting place for the townspeople, thanks to its strategic position on the main square, piazza Vittorio Veneto, right at the intersection of the roads that led, and still lead, to the hamlets above and to nearby Switzerland. The friendly atmosphere, however, did not in any way mar the reverential and refined milieu, everything down to the smallest detail was looked after, as one of the daughters of the first owners recalls: «[…] guests were highly esteemed, papa venerated the business; when they arrived in their cars he went to the door to welcome them, and when they left we all had to stand at the door and say goodbye. […] At the time you had to wear evening dress to go in to supper, so the service had to befit the guests present. There was a wonderful dining-hall, with such wallpaper, all Florentine fleurs-de-lis! The wallpaper was red, and all the decorations were red. All the cutlery and tableware had “Albergo Maccagno” stamped on them. It was an elegant hotel, […]». Family life was marked by the rhythms of the business and involved everyone, including the children, who started to lend a hand from the earliest age, both in the cleaning and in the serving, but always in pursuit of aesthetic precision and attention to detail. From week to week, dishes, rooms and linens were cleaned and disinfected on a well-defined daily basis. Colourful clothes were not allowed at work in favour of the more formal black and white. Nail polish was absolutely forbidden, as was appearing at the bar counter or at tables without stockings: a fashion restricted to the beach. A scheme of things from olden times to which the outbreak of war put a stop, marking the end of an era. The building was requisitioned by the German military who patrolled the area and the rooms were used to house the many refugees arriving from Milan and its thereabouts. At the end of the war, when a long and painful recovery began to offer the first signs of hope, the hotel also returned to its usual business, with a profoundly altered spirit, however.