The site of the HOTEL BELVEDERE is older than Bassano is, for in the Roman Century of the first century before Christ it stood right at the crossing of a “cardo” with a “decumanum” in front of the Pre-Alps amphitheatre.
That “cardo” corresponds to Viale delle Fosse and therefore to a portion of the Valsugana, the “decumanum” to Via Torino, hence to a portion of the Schiavonesca Way. Situated, therefore, at atraffic junction it was a likely stop station that would greatly contribute to determine the original nucleus of Bassano: fort and church of the tenth century.
In the fortieth year of the domination by the Ezzelini, tragically brought to a halt in 1259, the Belvedere was the head of the main line of communication towards the Castles of Romano, Borso and San Zenone. A local wine-shop was already established there.
The picture did not alter under the rule of the Scaligeri and then the one of the Carraresi (1319-1388) and no substantial change came with the Visconti, even though we owe to Gian Galeazzo the widening of the circle of walls of the town together with the erection of a new gate called “Nogarola”, later “delle Grazie”, beyond which the Belvedere Tavern increased its business.
The birth of the Belvedere as a hotel chronologically coincides with the allegiance of Bassano to the Republic of Venice on 10th June 1404.
One year later Francesco Bembo, Rector and Governor, asked the Town Council for permission to open an inn with facilities for the changing of the horses to replace the tavern, considered inadequate in the face of the new importance of the place.
Fragments of foundations and walls dating back to the fifteenth century remain visible within the present building of the Belvedere.
The sixteenth century marked the town’s golden age. The economy consolidated around the woollen cloths and the silks. The Da Ponte family, famous all over the world, flourished in these times.
The geographic position of Bassano made it a natural land gate towards the North for the Republic of Venice.
The intense traffic of the “Padri Conciliatori” progressing in the direction of Trent marked the beginning of tourism for the Town and for the Belvedere, where local products such as asparagus, peas, celery, cherries, wine and the products of the sheep-rearing farms were much appreciated.
At the time of the Council of Trent two Pontiffs travelled through Bassano: Pope Paul III and Pius IV in 1562. Of course, the Pontiffs did not stop at the Belvedere, but their retinue certainly did and also changed their horses there.
In 1600, the “Belvedere Inn” became economically relevant at the same time of the development of the Remondini Publishing House and the ceramic craft.
Some chroniclers state that, for the disinfestations of Bassano during one of the century’s plagues, the external walls of the town had to be whitewashed and so was the Belvedere, thus losing frescos by Gerolamo dal Ponte (early 1500).
The eighteenth century was a fortunate century for Bassano and for the Belvedere, which rose to the dignity of hotel, its position outside the town walls being relevant only in case of plague. It must be stressed that the status of Bassano improved at the end of the eighteenth century: the town became head of the province and economic epicentre of the vast territory enclosed between the rivers Brenta and Piave. At the time, the Counts Ghirardi of Venice were the owners of the building, collecting rent for the tavern, the café and a blacksmith’s shop. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, namely in 1796, the Napoleonic hurricane stormed in and with it came the destruction of Bassano. After the French, who left terrible memories of their deeds, came the Austrians, under whose rule Bassano would decline even further, both because of the demise of the Remondini Printing and Publishing House and the eclipsing of the ceramic art. The Italians arrived in 1866, headed by General Medici who, before entering the town through the “Delle Grazie” Gate, stopped at the Belvedere.
The “Belvedere” building went under a first restoration around the middle of the sixteenth century; two different restorations were further carried out during the eighteenth century. Since 1812, it changed ownership many times until it was purchased by the Ferraro family who, at the end of 1800 transformed the original structure in a 3 floor, 26 rooms hotel (restoration dates 1867/68, 1878, after the demolition of the town walls along Viale dei Martiri and the opening of Viale Venezia in 1850/1860).
In December 1973, Cav. Antonio Bonotto became the owner of the Belvedere and in 1977 he started a radical restoration of the historical part of the hotel, with major improvements such as equipping all rooms with en-suite bathrooms and central heating. During the Veneto edition of the World Cycling Championship, held in Bassano in 1985, the hotel Belvedere functioned as the official headquarters of the event. On that occasion 45 new rooms were built, reaching a total of 90 rooms, all of them constantly renovated and modernized to meet the exacting needs of both corporate clients and tourists alike.
In 1987, the Bonotto family left the direction of the “Castello Superiore” restaurant in Marostica in order to move to Bassano to manage the hotel Belvedere as a true family business, employing all of its members in their various capacities. Nowadays the Hotel Belvedere is undoubtedly the most prestigious hotel in and around Bassano, where history, traditions, culture and state-of-the-art facilities harmoniously entwine.
In 1996, the Bonotto family managed to purchase the Hotel Palladio, a modern building designed to suit the needs of national and international clients, whether on business or travelling for pleasure. The Hotel Palladio is a particularly suited setting for Meetings and Conferences.
Special care has always been given to the Restaurant, renowned for offering new and newly discovered national and regional recipes, where a wholehearted fondness for local products together with a contemporary feeling create memorable dishes. The Belvedere Restaurant has been a member of the “Ristoranti del Buon Ricordo” since 1967, and the king of recipes is the celebrated “Bigoli al ragù d’anatra”: egg noodles in a rich, yet subtle duck sauce.
Belvedere and Palladio, tradition and modernity walking side by side, sharing qualified service and facilities while guaranteeing comfort and safety in a friendly, elegant atmosphere. – “That Personal Distinctive Touch“.
It is extremely difficult to make a list of the world-famed personalities who elected to stay at the Belvedere. We know for sure that George Sand met Count Pagello there after separating from De Musset. On that occasion the writer coined the famous sentence on: “A piece of sky fallen on earth”. In the nineteenth century the guest list included Niccolò Tommaseo and Carducci in 1908, while during the war period of 1915/18, all of the historic heads of the Italian armed forces: Cadorna, Giardino, Diaz and Pecori Giraldi, together with the British and French Commanders of the expedition forces. Also during the first world war the writer Ugo Oietti, Gabriele d’Annunzio, the painter Ettore Tito and Ernest Hemingway graced the Belvedere with their presence.
In 1938, the dictator Juan Domingo Peron put in an appearance. Show business personalities such as the great Venetian actor Francesco Baseggio, a great lover of Bassano, Tito Gobbi and Mafalda Favero, born in Bassano, always chose to stay at the Belvedere. The list goes on to include important political personalities, such as President Pertini and Spadolini, and cinema and theatre actors.
BONOTTO HOTELS is certainly aware of the civic duties the hotel industry entails and is just as proudly aware of the fact that only a handful of hotels in Italy and in Europe possess such a unique tradition like the Belvedere, now coupled by the Hotel Palladio.