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Grand Hotel Duchi d'Aosta - Sestriere - Piemonte

Snow, sun, conditions are best to live your passion of skiing in this resort which hosted the Winter Olympics of 2006. You will not have a moment to lose, this village, mountain atmosphere, is at the feet of the slopes of the vast area of the Milky Way in the heart of Sestriere, a well-known skiing resort.

1932 - Birth of the Hotel Tower

The image of Sestriere is inextricably tied to its towers, which made it unique in the world. The story of Sestriere is born from the tower.

During a trip to Norway in 1928, Senator Giovanni Agnelli witnessed the practice of a new sport, then unknown in Italy, looking at some of the snow slide on the Norwegian Scandinavian mountains. In 1930, because of a crisis in the automotive sector, the Senator decided to invest in mountain sports and bought all the land of the Hill, to 40 cents per square foot to build tourist facilities. He commissioned the engineer Vittorio Bonadè Bottino (designer of the plant in Mirafiori, the Lingotto, dams and infrastructure projects around the world) to study and implement the ski facilities and hotels for tourists. On 2035 meters of the Hill, there were only vast expanses of snow where they emerge, only a few months in summer, green meadows with grazing animals. The only building was the chapel Regina Pacis, the obelisk to mark the centenary of the opening of the crossing and the Napoleonic "Baraccone", a small hotel of 20 rooms, open only in summer, built in 1920 by Commendatore Possetto, the only dwelling on the Hill.

In 1931 construction began of the cable-Sises Alpena, plant which was inaugurated January 18, 1932. Skiing entered immediately in the heart of hundreds of pioneers. The echo was such that the Senator, who tended to a solution " quantitative, for use by the middle class and white collar, unlike his son Edward, which called for an elite accommodation, decided to build a popular hotel, which accommodates 200 skiers at a daily cost of stay of 10 lire. Bonadè was instructed to deal personally with all the work, which began in late March, clearing the area with snow. The senator made a bet with Bonadè, with the final prize of 500 lire, if opened to guests by December 7, 1932.


Incredibly, after only 8 months the hotel "Hotel Tower" was completed and received its first guests for the Feast of the Immaculate. The engineer collected the money of the bet!

1933 - the Hotel Duchi d'Aosta was born

A year later, in 1933, still only 8 months and within easy reach, a tower was built larger and more spacious, called "Hotel Duchi d'Aosta".

The birth of tourism Sestriere as "Hotel Tower Sestrières" already completed and the "Dukes of Aosta" in construction


The senator built on the roof of the Hotel Duchi d'Aosta an airstrip for helicopters (still working), which used to reach Sestriere in minutes from Villar Perosa, when he wanted to practice his favourite sport.

Sestriere, in January 1933: Right, Mr. Bonadè Bottino, Senator Giovanni Agnelli, lawyer Edoardo Agnelli , Laura Nasi

The materials and construction technologies available in the 30's were certainly not those of today and there was no road linking Turin to Sestriere, but only the former crossing point opened by Napoleon in 1814, linking the valleys of Susa Chisone and over the Col Sestriere.

Left: a visit to the construction site of the cable car mont Sises.
Right: the design of the tower "Duchi d'Aosta"

Materials were used to transport through the pass of Napoleon, the new tractors of the Fiat Mirafiori. All this will help to understand the greatness of the works constructed at 2000 meters above sea level, created by the pencil of Eng. Bonadè.


The success of the Towers

The towers were designed as "one endless room" with spiral development.
The long spiral ramp, no steps, takes place around a central shaft with an umbrella coverage.

The special construction of the towers and the spiral ramp are presented in several books on architecture and one of the few buildings in the world, constructed with spiral ramp is the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.

Subsequently, Sestriere was a great winter resort that has attracted for the modernity and the class of its facilities, an international clientele of high quality. In Hill, the emerging middle class from Turin and large groups of enthusiasts, forerunners of the current ski club, arrived by truck or bus.

The rest is history of modern skiing, from the two victories of Alberto Tomba in Slalom and Giant in 1987, the first night slalom world cup in 1994, the World Cup in February 1997, at the Finals of World Cup Alpine Skiing 2005, to the unforgettable Winter Olympic Games in Turin in 2006.