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Interview

Franz Wieser, owner of Hotel Armentarola and Romy Schurhammer, author and photo journalist

Romy Schurhammer:
Mr Wieser, in 2008 Armentarola celebrated a double birthday: 70 years ago the Albergo was opened—and 70 years ago you were born.Quite brave of your parents!

Franz Wieser:
That is true!Both were determined, vigorous and ready to accept a high risk because they were convinced that their plan would have success.If they were dead set on doing something, they would not give up in spite of gloomy predictions.

Romy Schurhammer:
Gloomy predictions? Why this?
Franz Wieser:
Well, you have to think of how remote Armentarola was at that time.Back then it was usual to build the Albergos in the centre of a village and not out of it, and especially not up on the alpine pastures. With their daring idea to build an Albergo just there, they got not only warnings, but also mockery.There was not even a proper street, only a small road.


Romy Schurhammer:
And how was the building material transported under such conditions? And later the guests with theirbaggage?
Franz Wieser:
The necessary wood was cut nearby. Everything else was transported by my father himself by horse and carfrom La Villa or San Cassiano—and in the same way later on my father picked up the guests. The athletic ones among them wanted to be picked up on foot from time to time, simply for more training!When they arrived to the Albergo, it was mother‘s turn.She took over the organisation in the house and cooked so well that many of the guests did not wantto leave anymore and came soon again.
 
 
Romy Schurhammer:
But before the construction works started your parents could not know this, they could only hope for it. Why did they choose exactly this special piece of land despite all the problems and undeterred by warnings?

Franz Wieser:
Exactly because it is so unique and special!They had spent many summers and winters exploring the nicest corners of the Dolomites.They had been dreaming of having their own piece of land with idyllic footpaths and quiet woods for thesummer guests.And with secure ski slopes around for winter sports. They were looking out for a magnificent mountain scenery and at the same time for a lot of sun.
Romy Schurhammer:
Really high claims which are not so easily reconciled!

Franz Wieser:
This was not everything yet!They also wanted a fresh and strong mountain brook nearby to produce electricity, to do the washing and to keep groceries cool in summer.In the beginning they did not even have a fridge.When they finally found their ideal place, they immediately put their long cherished plan into action and bought 5,000 square meters of land.
Romy Schurhammer:
My word! And the people of the nearby village San Cassiano still shook their heads?

Franz Wieser:
Of course! There were many initial difficulties for my parents, but nothing could discourage them.In 1937 they began with the shell of the building.They had to be very inventive and to improvise a lot.They were short of money and the hard work was almost too much for them.However, they managed with tireless efforts and at Christmas in 1938 eleven rooms were ready for the first guests.All with fluent water and two of them even with an own bath—a sensation back then!
 
 

 

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