It was in 1850
when Giovanni Bosticco came to Bardonecchia as a wine supplier from the Asti region for the railway workers during the construction of the Frejus train tunnel.
In the beginning, the wine arrived in Bardonecchia on the back of donkeys, but Giovanni decided to establish a permanent repository which at first developed into an inn and at a later stage into a hotel.
His son, Michele, in order to obtain the best wine he used to pay suppliers with gold coins (Marenghi d’oro). He decided to open a tavern on the other side of the tunnel in Modane, France. An hotel opening (l’Albergo du Nord) followed and he designated an emblem to the hotels which symbolises the international transportation of another time: a sail ship.
Michele founded a family and had a son, Natale, who left Italy to study in France. With the arrival of the fascist regime all Italians abroad were recalled home. The Bosticco family settled again in Bardonecchia, where they opened the Hotel Colomion the Aquila Nera. Following a fire that completely destroyed the hotel, Michele constructed a new hotel in Via Medail, called Hotel Splendid.
When Michele died, his wife Teresa, developed the activities of the hotel further by hiring well known chefs.During the fascist time, winter tourism grew and developed itself. A fascism camp was created, where youngsters came to Bardonecchia to learn the new sport: “ski”, at first cross country and then downhill skiing.
We are at the beginning of the 30s when Natale Bosticco returned from America where he practiced what he had learned at the Hotel School of Grenoble. Natale met Margeherita Martini and wedded her. After his wedding he constructed a hotel in a forest of pine trees in Bardonecchia. The place was called Genei and was full of bushes, junipers, and beautiful larches. The land was bought years before by Michele from the historical Bardonecchia family of Agnes des Geneys.
This family bragged of illustrious offsprings, one of which was the first general of the army of the Carabinieri. another one being Griorgio de Geneys who was admiral and founder of the navy of Piedmont and Sardinia.
It was 1936 when the works of construction of the new hotel finished. Natale named it Hotel des Geneys Splendid and like the previous hotels (l’hotel du Nord a Mondane and the black eagle at Bardonecchia) it adopted the symbol of the sail ship. The following year Romano was born, son of Natale and Margherita.
The 2nd world war was at the doors and regular clients were replaced by German troops. History gets mixed up with little Romano’s childhood memories and his games with the German soldiers soon became hard life when 1944 he found at the mountains two American soldiers fallen from a plane. He immediately told his father, who hid them in the attic, just above the rooms of the German soldiers. After having taken care of them he arranges for their escape.
As a thank you, the American soldiers send Natale the newly invented peniciline upon their return to the States. This turned out to later on safe Natale’s life when he suffered from bronchial pulmonite Furthermore, General Eisenhower sent an official letter of commendation to thank Natale Bosticco.
The Germans abandon the hotel 1945, leaving behind a bomb with a timer, that little Romano finds and brings to his father. Natale , terrified threw the bomb off the balcony saving the hotel, that suffered enough damage during the long period of occupation. With the departure of the Germans the French resistance arrives to liberate the Italians. Natale was full of emotions as he considered the French like brothers, since he was born in France. He ran towards the French troops to greet them but was arrested, as they believed him to be a traitor and allay of the Germans.
The French troops robbed him of his excusite wines from his wine cellar, which he had managed to hide from the Germans during the years before. A month after the liberation of occupation, Natale and Romano found broken glass of the stolen bottles on the Scala mountain. The truck of the French had exploded driving on one of the mines left by the Germans, and with them exploded the stolen bottles out of Natale’s wine cellar.
The hotel gets renovated in the 50s and reflourishes, hosting guests from all across Europe. These are the years of the economic miracle of the neorealism and the Hotel des Geneys Splendid welcomes famous Italian artists like Raf Vallone, Martine Carole, Peynet and Soldati with his American wife. It is a great era for Bardonecchia which attracts painters like Casorati, Barberis, Lilloni, Chicco and Cattabriga.
In these years a lot of famous sportsmen like Bartoli, Coppi and Zeno Colo were frequent guests of the Hotel Des Geneys Splendid.
The 60s see the birth of the discotheque La Mandia, created by Romano in the vicinity of the hotel, and that soon became the meeting point of the young Piedmonts generation.
In the 70s des Geneys Splendid passes into the hands of Romano Bosticco who together with the wife renovated it continuously until it was up to standard with the latest technologies, particularly putting in place a meeting and conference centre hosting up to 120 people.
We are already arrived in the year 2007 and Gianleo, the fifth generation of the Bosticcos is about to write a new chapter.