The biography of the family of the Hotel Margherita in Praiano on the Amalfi Coast, a love story between the Amalfi Coast and New York.
The year 2021 for the Hotel Margherita in Praiano will be a year of great celebrations, toasting our first 50 years of activity and tourist hospitality in the heart of the Amalfi Coast. Celebrating our 50th anniversary has a meaning that goes beyond our professional history and blends the memory of our family story together with the countless memories of the faces and voices of our guests we have met over the years.
Ours is a simple story and yet for us it has the spirit of a great human work which, like many of the Italian stories throughout the last 50 years, tells a great epic adventure, of men and women who have challenged fate. Men and women who left for a great journey, whose final destination they did not know, but they knew they had to face it, to nourish today's dreams and walk with them towards the future.
In these days, while we are planning many surprises to involve our guests, friends and supporters in celebrating this milestone, our thoughts fly joyfully on the memories of these 50 years. How did it all begin? A question that our guests are used to asked when when they come at our front desk and take the opportunity to have a break for a chat between a dip in the pool, a trip to the sea or a walk on the cliffs.
Giuseppe Cimino was my father.
Born in 1930, on November 29 in Praiano - in our beloved land, suspended between sky and sea - made up of small economies linked to fishing, agriculture and manufacturing, and young boys playing football on the church squares, using improvised soccer balls made of rags and fabrics stolen from mothers’ home.
Son of a father who he had not yet met, because he emigrated to the United States immediately after his birth, the only male of 5 children, when he was only at 17 years old he became the protagonist of a journey into the unknown, towards the New World, towards the grocery store his father ran in New York, the Bon Ton Market on Columbus Avenue, which has now become the New Parisian Deli.
Alone, on a ship that crossed the ocean, so much different than the sea of the Amalfi Coast, without knowing a word of a foreign language he had never heard before. A young boy who never left the jagged and luxuriant patch of his homeland made of wild, gentle nature, catapulted into a great city in turmoil.
He was still making the first steps into this new life which was allowing him to finally meet his father at least when events grew beyond all expectations.
The day of the New York Blackout he was travelling alone aboard the train that was tooking him to the store as he found himself imprisoned in his carriage as the train was crossing the river through the underwater tunnel.
That journey into the unknown was really turning out to be an adventure. From that day the young Giuseppe swore that he would never get on a train again in his life. Promise kept. However, despite the misadventures and initial difficulties, the life in New York of Giuseppe - a naturalized US citizen - flowed serenely, between a football match with a real ball together with the small team founded with other Italian immigrants, "Little Italy", and the job in his father's shop; in a world that offered everyone the opportunity to work and live with dignity.
Meanwhile, in Praiano, the beautiful Margherita, daughter of the local doctor, grew up playing with her friends and taking care of the beautiful garden of the family house in Positano.
No mobile phones, no Internet, no Whatsapp, no Skype or Zoom, but long letters that crossed the ocean for weeks - thick words and black and white photographs travelling thought time and bad weather.
So one day, Giuseppe’s sister, Vincenzina, sent a photograph of her taken with Margherita. Can you fall in love looking at a photograph? Of course, yesterday as today. The advent of technology has not changed human nature much. A photograph tells a story that can draw different horizons for everyone.
That photograph told my father about fate, all his life long. Thanks to that photograph, Giuseppe crossed the ocean once again, back to Amalfi Coast, to face a new journey into the unknown, but with the awareness of the destination he would land at: love.
On June 16, 1960 Margherita and Giuseppe got married in a festive Praiano and after a few months they set sail together for New York.
My brother Luca was born in Praiano in 1964 and in 1971 I too arrived, Suela, unaware heir of a past that was already becoming the future, when my parents took the land with the watchtower where the great-grandfather Giuseppe lived, known as "Peppino ra Torre ”. They opened the doors of what is, today as then, the Hotel Margherita in Praiano - our home and the home of all the travelers who have come to visit us in these 50 years of hospitaly.
Now that my father would have turned 90, Margherita is always the soul of our hotel, while Andrea and I, together with our children who are growing up, carry the ever-burning flame of this great little history that is universal. We love to imagine how many stories have passed in this hotel over the years, stories of travel and life.
Life goes on and the journey never ends...
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