Story of bricks... and family
They were all there on that Sunday in October, two thousand, the Jubilee year, in Rome, posing in the square of St. Peter's Basilica. Thirty-three of them. But this wasn't a parish pilgrimage. It was all the members of the Giacomelli family from Livigno. Milio and Domenica, seven sons and daughters and relative sons and daughters-in-law, the rest a swarm of grandchildren.
In the photo you can still see the satisfaction on the faces of those "architects" of this get-together: the satisfaction of Domenica for the organization, but of both of them, Domenica and Milio for "starting" such a numerous and closeknit family-enterprise-company-business-corporation.
But if they think about it and tell it... what a long, challenging story it is!
The start of the story: Hotel Concordia, 1962
1962 is a certain date. One of those cornerstones to use as the beginning of a story if you don't want to slip into legend. In that year, Milio and Domenica opened the Hotel Concordia.
But they already had a fine family, although not yet complete, they had already lived for a while in his hometown, Isolaccia... To tell the truth, the story has a very long and significant background, at least if we look at the "rapport" between the two. The hotel was built and works still thanks to the land of uncle Diaulin, the tenacity of and the grace of Domenica.
But the family head was struggling with a problem: there were lots of mouths to feed, his construction company could not stand still, otherwise he would be a kept man and then in the future these children would need a job... By sheer coincidence the opportunity for a small shop annexed to the hotel came up. And of course leather goods were all the rage and Livigno offered advantages because of it being a duty free zone. Why not give it a go. This was in 1963 and "Renna Sport" was established, its position stable as from 1970 and it then became a fashion boutique. The realm of Graziana.
The oldest store in Livigno: da Giuseppina
But in the clothing and fashion field, one of Domenica's sisters, Giuseppina Mottini already had a well-established store in the "ostaria" zone.
It was the oldest store in Livigno, belonged to the Mottini family and dated back to 1941, the general store that guaranteed survival to the town during the freezing winters when it was cut-off by the snow. Giuseppina, an artist in human relations, who lovingly dedicated herself to her store, died in 1978. This was a sad moment for the whole Giacomelli family. It left a big gap because this aunt was "one of them".
It so happened that Domenica took over the store. But after getting through the winter and when summer came around the girls, especially Lelia, on school vacation, gave her a hand.
For his part, Milio already had a "restructuring" in style in mind. And in 1989 the final product left everyone dumbfounded. So, "da Giuseppina" turned from a general store into a luxury boutique.
The sports store: Jack&Jack
In 1979 another opportunity. A store quite close to "da Giuseppina" became free. Milio still had the problem of giving everyone a job in his mind... Maurilio, the eldest, after finishing his education in Cantù and with some experience in restaurant work in Switzerland, was rather tempted by the adventure of a sports store: it responded to his characteristics and then... it was the right time. "Jack and Jack" was born.
So as not to lose an opportunity
In the meantime, the buildings needed maintenance to keep them constantly efficient and so they would continue to best respond to the working needs of the businesses. Which made Milio a busy man. And he was also convinced that if you think too much about things, discuss them with everyone else to get their approval or even just to convince them of the utility of this or that operation... you just waste time and... opportunities. It's best to act. The others will understand and adapt.
Two apartments were constructed in the S. Rocco area. The ground floor has space for a shop. It was used in a different way and in 1989 it became "ConnAction", a fashion boutique that later moved to its final position in another building, also in Livigno.
Tea del Vidal
In 1994 another opportunity came up that Milio didn't want to lose. There was the possibility of having a restaurant next to the departure point of the Mottolino cableway, the "Tea dal Vidal". It was a perfect opportunity and could be just the right place for Paolo, one of the other sons. It's a deal. A few renovations and it can start up.
The "Nuova Villa" residence and "il Caffè della Posta" went into business that same year.
Hotel Lac Salin
But Milio heard talk that a hotel was being sold. Whenever he had the opportunity he went past on the opposite side to the site of the hotel in the gentle valley of Livigno, he studied it from a distance... and he dreamed. In 1997 the Hotel "Lac Salin", one of the biggest in the tourist spot and well placed almost in the middle of the lowest ski runs, became his property too. It needed organizing and fixing up, but... there was no rush. And Andrea knows what he's doing when it comes to construction work. A worthy son of his father.
Milio was now starting to feel the weight of his years. Of course, show him a problem...
All the children have something to do. Fabio always managed the Concordia and Matteo handled all the administrative aspects. But if you want something done, do it yourself, and Milio never stopped supervising everything and also wanted Domenica to continue the same work...
And his dream was for all these businesses that he had managed to put together over the years to stay united. But how... How could all these people be made to agree.
No fear Milio. Your children understood the lesson. What you were only able to imagine, they were able to technically realize. And they set up Lungolivigno spa, which they are all involved in, in different ways. You'll see... it's a lot more than a family business.
Of course, if you think about it, this isn't just a story of... bricks. It's easy for us to say, but... We'll just try to list the schools the children attended after their compulsory education... and we'll realize that the creative originality of Milio and Domenica was not just restricted to buildings.
The Sondrio bookkeeping institute; in Cantù the boys and girls Archiepiscopal college; in Stresa the hotel management school; in Milan the Ursuline sisters and the Cattolica University in Merano and Bolzano the professional schools; in Zuoz the international languages high school...
And the story hasn't finished.
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