The history


The story of Miramonti

One might become a bit nostalgic looking at the photos or illustrated postcards of Santa Maria Maggiore as it was back then: still in the 1920s, a rural village with vast green spaces, pine forests, and few houses mostly clustered around the parish church. Few tourists, two hotels, and a few inns offering accommodation – nothing would have hinted at the development of such a small mountain village, and gradually Santa Maria became a holiday destination not far from Milan.

Our story begins way back in 1922 when my great-grandfather Carlo Giorgis decided to build an inn, to provide employment for one of his daughters, Maria, right next to the railway station that was being constructed from 1911 onwards, connecting Domodossola to Locarno, Italy, and Switzerland, and which would be a quick link between Valais, the Simplon line, and Ticino.

Construction began in 1922, with excavation done by hand, and the sand to build the inn was taken from a meadow owned by my great-grandfather just behind the railway and moved using baskets, something that would be absolutely unthinkable today.

Carlo Giorgis: my great-grandfather was nicknamed “Il Carlata” and the inn was named in his honor. “L’osteria dul Carlata” was one of the first licensed establishments in Santa Maria Maggiore.


The “Osteria dul Carlata” was managed by Giorgis Maria, Carlata’s daughter, a humble woman, somewhat unfortunate because one of her legs was shorter than the other. It was precisely for this reason that Carlata decided to open the inn so that Maria could have a job.

At the “Osteria del Carlata,” one could have a glass of wine and a snack with bread and salami. The inn was small, with a bar and a small kitchen behind it, above which was a bedroom, while the toilets were in the garden.

Aunt Maria wasn’t a great saleswoman; she lived with little, had no great aspirations, and spent her time between the passage of one train and another gathering firewood in the pine forest; she never married.

But Carlata had other children. Uncle Carlo had horses and cows, Aunt Margherita got married and moved to Verona, and Grandfather Giovanni, my grandfather’s father, was a blacksmith.

Grandfather Giovanni married Susanna Baccarini from Craveggia, with whom he had my grandfather Carletto, his only child because unfortunately, his grandmother died of bronchopneumonia when his grandfather was only 2 years old.

So, Grandfather Carletto was raised by Grandfather Giovanni and his maternal grandparents.

Years passed, but they were “years of hardship,” and Grandfather Carletto went to work in Milan for his mother’s brother, Uncle Giovanni, who had a beautiful rotisserie in Corso Porta Vittoria, until November 1945 when he married my grandmother Claudia, and they went to live above Carlata’s inn.

At that time, Grandma Claudia worked for the Ponti family and also helped Aunt Maria a bit at the inn.

On February 1st, 1947, Susanna was born, in what is now our “Larecchio” room; Grandfather was in Milan and only arrived in the evening…

During his trips to Milan, Grandfather also did many errands for other Vigezzini, and often returned with suitcases full of “chickens” to take to the various hotels in Santa Maria.

The years began to take their toll, and Aunt Maria, with her leg, couldn’t handle the inn anymore. So Grandma suggested to Grandfather Carletto that they continue with the inn, and they made a life annuity with Aunt Maria, who handed over the inn to Grandfather in exchange for assistance and care until her death.

Since 1949, Grandfather also settled permanently in Santa Maria, and with Grandma, they also started cooking a bit; but “only if the weather was nice, otherwise nothing.”

Since business was going quite well, Grandfather thought of expanding the inn a bit and built a canopy; the menus offered were: polenta and milk, stew, cheese, potatoes, and specialties from the rotisserie that Grandfather had learned from his uncle in Milan.

But in the kitchen, Grandma Claudia was at the stove; Grandfather was in the dining room, and when there were many people, Uncle Carlo and Uncle “Pepin,” Grandfather’s maternal uncle, also lent a hand.

Friend Ermanno Scopinich, delegate of the Italian Academy of Cuisine, gladly helped the grandparents by bringing new recipes and dishes, while a certain “Angelo Fiora recruited customers” by organizing dinners.

1955 Gold Medal

Grandfather’s dear friend, Mr. Mattei, and the surveyor Corti from Vigezzina, insisted with Grandfather to expand the inn and build a hotel.

The idea was interesting, but money was lacking; however, Grandfather was very courageous and didn’t lose heart. He pledged the house, and in 1960, he began to build: In June 1961, the hotel was completed, and the first guests arrived.

“Before putting on the roof, with my friend Mattei Giacomo, we had the Baptism and we all went up to the attic, but we didn’t know what to call the hotel. So when we got up there, we looked around and decided to call it MIRAMONTI, in fact, the view from up there was fantastic, the Pioda, the Scheggia, the Pizzo Ragno, the Rosa range… what a spectacle!”

“candlelit, with Carla singing Marina…”

“To attract people, we had set up a pheasant farm and a live fox tied to a chain in the garden.”

In 1968, Susanna married Carluccio and moved to Craveggia. In October 1970, I was born, Alessandra, and in January 1973, my brother Paolo was born. The grandparents continued their business, and fortunately, work was not lacking. However, due to Grandma’s health reasons, in the same year, they were forced to take a break.

Grandfather, who had studied at the Rossetti Valentini School of Fine Arts as a child, decided to start painting again and became one of the most famous painters in the valley, winning medals and awards in various events.

The hotel was leased for a few years, and in 1983, Susanna decided to continue her parents’ business with Carluccio. They completely renovated the hotel, and in June 1984, they reopened. This time, roles were reversed: Carluccio was in the kitchen, and Susanna greeted and pampered the customers. My brother and I also began to adjust to this new life.

In 1989, they decided to expand the offer and rented four floors of the former Excelsior hotel right next to us. The workload increased significantly, with a total of 31 rooms, and the family wasn’t enough to manage it all, so they needed help.

In 1996, a wedding took place at Miramonti: mine. And in May 1998, the first grandson, Matteo, was born.

In 1999, we received the “Quality Hotels” award from the Chamber of Commerce for hotel quality. We were happy because only 8 hotels in the Ossola region were awarded, and the Chamber of Commerce reconfirmed the award every year until 2019.

In March 2000, Susanna and Carluccio decided to move to Craveggia and enjoy some rest, although only Carluccio would truly rest as Susanna ventured into the world of politics.

On January 8, 2002, the atmosphere became lively at Miramonti: Sara was born, and she immediately took over the hotel, entertaining the guests.

In November 2004, the lease contract for the Excelsior hotel ended, and Miramonti became a “small typical mountain hotel.” Renovation works began to modernize the rooms.

In winter 2005, room 203 was completely renovated and became our Deluxe room “Aqua Mirabilis,” dedicated to the Cologne water invented by Paolo Femminis from Crana and made known worldwide by Giovanni Maria Farina.

In the fall of the same year, it was decided to renovate room 202 as well. This time, the name Fontanalba recalls a mountain pasture between the Pioda and Scheggia peaks, where the view extends over the entire valley to the east, all the way to Locarno. The room enjoys a very quiet position overlooking the garden, and a whirlpool tub is installed for total relaxation.

Winter brought more novelties, with the decision to renovate the bar and create a small sitting area with a corner dedicated to children, while the “Rose Room” would be dedicated to breakfast with a delightful buffet corner.

Despite it being almost summer, it was decided to renew room 201 as well, along with a restyling of the external signs.

In August 2006, the family expanded once again with the birth of Marta. It was later discovered that Santa Marta is the patron saint of hosts, restaurateurs, and cooks… we couldn’t have chosen a better name!

In October 2006, as the last guests bid farewell, renovation work began on room 210. This room would perhaps be the dearest to us because it was dedicated to Grandfather Carletto: “The Painter’s Room.” The furnishings, carefully restored walnut wood by our dear friend Engineer Femminis, the curtains depicting the decorations of the ancient Ossola ceramics of Kamares, and the paintings by Grandfather telling stories and landscapes of Vigezzo all made it special.

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Piazzale Diaz, 3
28857 Santa Maria Maggiore (VB)

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