The end of the nineteenth century brought with it profound changes to the city’s town planning. The government began action to renovate the most deprived areas of Naples and to construct the sea-front from scratch. This exciting atmosphere of urban renewal also attracted a Belgian financier named Oscar du Mesnil, who was in Naples with his wife. He was so fascinated by the city that he decided to construct a hotel on the new sea-front to do justice to the beauty of the site. “Grand Hotel du Vesuve” was duly constructed in 1882.
The new hotel was the height of luxury and elegance and immediately became an important stop for international tourists arriving in Naples. Two years after its inauguration, the hotel hosted Queen Victoria of Sweden and her personal doctor, Axel Münthe, already a writer of some repute. In 1885 Guy de Maupassant stayed at the hotel. The great French writer described his impressions of the city in bold terms: “the people gesticulate, and the way they drive is always a little wild: these people make the city so colourful and unique! Women and girls with pink and green dresses, wrapped in red, blue and other bright-coloured shawls.
They spin along the quays, calling to passers-by, selling all manner of shell-fish, drinks and fruit. They wave, raise their arms and faces to the sky and sing about the excellent quality of their merchandise in a simple, colloquial manner.” The tradition of important guests at hotel Vesuvio continued with people like Oscar Wilde, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Enrico Caruso who called it his “Neapolitan home”. The dark years of the Second World War put a halt to this and finally it was destroyed during the bombardaments. The hotel was painstakingly rebuilt, taking skilled craftsmen over two years. It took on its present shape, and two extra floors were added. The inauguration took place on the 26th of April 1950, since then, the Vesuvio has retaken its place in the ranks of prestige. The first famous guest from the period was President Einaudi and his wife, followed by Ranieri of Monaco and Grace Kelly, King Gustav of Sweden, Rita Hayworth, Errol Flynn, Gina Lollobrigida, the Nobel prizewinner Rita Levi Montalcini and many others who have lent international fame to the Grand Hotel Vesuvio.
Concluding this short history of Hotel Vesuvio’s guests, one cannot avoid to mention the G7 summit of 1993. The Hotel was honoured to host the delegations from the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton, from the Elysee and Palazzo Chigi. Some guests made the Grand Hotel Vesuvio their home such as: the Aga Kahn , Alberto Tomba, Alfred Hitchcock, Giorgio Armani, Axel Munthe, Queen Beatrice of Holland, Luciano Benetton, Boutros Ghali, Bruce Springsteen, Paolo Bulgari, Carole Bouquet, Clark Gable, Claudia Schiffer, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Pennac, Dario Fo, Eduardo De Filippo, Enrico Caruso,King of Saudi Feisal, François Mitterrand, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Gabriele Salvatores, Geena Davis, Geraldine Chaplin, Gerard Depardieu, Gianni Agnelli, Grace Jones, Grace Kelly, Guy de Maupassant, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hans George Gadamer, Harvey Keitel , Helmut Kohl, Humphrey Bogart, Isabella Rossellini, Jon Bon Jovi, Josè Carreras, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Katia Ricciarelli, Laurence Olivier, Lorin Maazel, Luciano Pavarotti, Mariah Carey, Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Callas, Mariagrazia Cucinotta, Mario Cuomo, Matt Damon, Mireille Mathieu, Ornella Muti, Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso, Placido Domingo, Ralph Fiennes, Riccardo Muti, Richard Dreyfuss, Ricky Martin, Rita Hayworth, Rita Levi Montalcini, Roberto Benigni, Rocco Barocco, Roman Polansky, Rudolf Nureyev, Shimon Peres, Sofia Loren, Queen Sofia of Spain, The Spice Girls , Spike Lee, Sting, Thornthon Wilder, Tim Robbins, Valeria Golino, Vanessa Redgrave, Queen Victoria of Sweden, Vittorio De Sica, Vittorio Gassman, Woody Allen, Zegna…